We must change the way we think about migrants. With their diversity and mobility they can help us to make a much-needed cultural shift: to move from the traditional idea of living in solid and homogenous societies, toward the recognition that we already are experiencing open and dynamic — and therefore fluid and changeable — social forms and structures. A condition in which, in many ways, we are all mutually strangers.
The question then becomes: how can people who consider each other strangers live well together? How do we achieve connection within diversity? The answer is collaboration: the exchange of time, experiences, and expertise in order to achieve a mutually recognized result.
Even in contemporary society, with all its contradictions and complexity, collaboration is possible. Already we see collaborative social innovation in action between migrants and citizens — whether it’s organizing soccer games, playing music together, or starting up enterprises. Diverse people are able to meet and collaborate. And, doing so, to produce values for themselves and for the whole community. The task of design must be to create ecosystems where these forms of collaboration can grow and thrive, generating models that go well beyond the issue of migrants to improve social cohesion as a whole.