Our social (ad)venture is getting closer to begin :)

Google translate app.

It’s been an exciting week for us. We’ve got an itinerary, a ticket and a date.


For the first country that we will be visiting in our travels. Russia Россия !!

We will go to:

  • Moscow
    for its architecture and… because we love capital cities!
  • Kazan
    for its history and because we are fascinated by its all-faith centre.
  • Yekaterinburg
    for its proximity to the Urals, because simply we love mountains.
  • Krasnoyarsk
    for the Stolby Nature Reserve and… because we’ll need a break after 33 hours in the train ;)
  • Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude
    for the Lake Baikal because it’s the largest (by volume) and the oldest lake in the world. So impressive!


Our very first ticket for the trip. Berlin to Moscow. 25 hours, 4 countries, 2 train berths. Purchased from the Russian Railway website. Much cheaper than any other websites and travel agencies on the web. Highly recommended. Only hiccup: it’s in Russian. But that’s not a problem and can actually be quite fun… Google Translate is there to help (see picture).


7th October 2017 (yes, it’s only an ironic coincidence to happens to be Russian President’s birthday). Note it down to wish us safe travels!

Any recommendations on the places we’ll be stopping at? And on any social enterprise there? Share in the comment box below or write on email/Facebook.

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Learning from our partners - More than Metrics

Smaply interface. Source: smaply.com

Have you ever heard of design thinking? You probably have, and if not, follow our upcoming trip to and across Asia and you’ll know more about it. 
In the meantime, watch this video and get inspired from This is Design Thinking website.

ABCity.org is grounded in our love for social impact and for design processes. Our vision is of a world where social ventures have the capacity to design impactful initiatives, communicate about these and have fun. 

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
—Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

Design processes require creativity, as inthe ability to think outside the box, as well as methods and tools.

Over the coming months, we will be partnering with morethanmetrics and use 2 of their useful and beautiful tools:

  • Smaply, which helps create professional personas, journey maps, stakeholder maps in minutes, and 
  • ExperienceFellow, which helps collect, analyse and process data from customer experience research.

We will use these tools to plan, monitor and improve our services.

And we will use them in our design thinking workshops, training sessions and 1-to-1 work with the social ventures that we will meet.

“It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them'”
— Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

And you, how do you manage to put people at the centre of the products and services you provide?

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It all started with a (WH)Y

Y for Ebola map

ABCity.org started with a Y. Why? Because we wanted to take part in a fundraising campaign that would support Ebola recovery work in Liberia. And we wanted to make it fun.

We put together a great cause, our passion for outdoor activities and our graphic talent and we came up with an idea. We would ‘draw’ a 20-mile long Y on our inline skates across London, create a buzz around it and source funds.
Our inline-skating challenge took place on 2nd August 2015. And ABCIty.org was born.

Back in 2015, I was working in a Youth-focussed charity and trying to help our partners in Liberia to cope with the effects of the deadly Ebola virus that had hitten the country the year before. When we got the amazing news that the UK Government would match every single pound donated to our cause until end of August, I decided that it was time to challenge myself, get my work to the street and do something more for the young people around the world!
And how did Francesco get involved? Francesco, like many, heard so much about the damages and deaths that Ebola provoked in West Africa through the media. Then the media forgot about the outbreak... but Francesco continued to hear stories from Liberia through my words when I was working to support the emergency response in Liberia from the London-based office and then travelled out there. Francesco heard the stories of the Young people who helped prevent the further spread of the virus, stories of the project staff's courage and determination working in country, and stories of businesses obliged to close down, children kept out of schools, hospitals too crowded to assist non-Ebola-affected patients, communities suffering from not accessing food as they needed. Yes, because Ebola didn't only mean death and illness but also economy disrupted, schools closed, health care systems exhausted and food insecurity.

We had to do something. And we wanted to do something beautiful and fun. So the best idea we came up with was to do what we really like (spending time outdoor and moving through spaces), graphically-driven (in the shape of a letter from the alphabet), to support that important cause. The result was a great day under unexpected London’s sunshine, our fundraising target exceeded and a short video (1’38) that gave us and my organisation visibility and pride! 

We didn’t know this was the beginning of ABCity.org but indeed it was. One year later, we found ourselves inline-skating again. It was in Milan, in the shape of a C and again for an important cause

Now, we are ready to continue writing a story with social impact, one letter after the other, one cause after the other.

And you, how did you get involved in what makes you busy and proud today? 

Some of this post is quoted from our Justgiving page for the Y challenge.

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