In a quest to find a solution that works for everyone, we too often invest in ideas that don’t work particularly well for anyone. In 2018, my aspirational prediction is that journalism shifts its focus on innovation toward investing in processes, rather than platforms and products. Too many good ideas are discarded because they don’t fit the dominant model of “scalable” and “replicable,” which is too narrow in scope.
This story speaks to the value of getting various members of the data community together. Connecticut’s data community remains a bit fragmented. Bringing the GIS community into the broader data community is something that needs to happen more. My hope is that Connecticut’s data community will help us make this data better as they work with it and use it.
Across the nation, communities are building smarter energy infrastructure that leverages the power of data to solve problems. These projects will spur economic development, improve sustainability, enhance public safety and drive efficiencies — ultimately creating a better quality of life for citizens. For more of these projects to become reality, key stakeholders in the community, private industry and government must understand how best to work together.
We’re living in an era where digitization and automation are transforming how we work together, including in the social sector. Nonprofits of all sizes are now seeking out partners across geographies to execute a shared vision in real time. Big data can foster partnerships. However, combining data from different platforms in different formats may pose a challenge to most nonprofits, which lack the resources of for-profit businesses for data analysis.
Diversifying can move your team toward a more service-oriented approach to engagement. At TechSoup, I led a team of experts to position the forum as a global resource for nonprofits, as well as a content partner for Microsoft, Adobe and Box. My latest uses Daniel Pink’s “Motivation 3.0” (autonomy, mastery and purpose) to make the case for workplace collaboration.
Dr. David Anderson, the director of COMPASS, developed its predecessor, Healthy Expectations, to help first-year students as they transition to college. First implemented in 2000, the program was based on seven life health principles designed to create healthy communities by fostering a positive and supportive culture for students on campus.
In 2005, as Senior Editor for George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health, I led the editorial process for the multimedia version that earned a model program award from the US Department of Education. A product of hard work, this successful project unlocked a decade of achievements. It was my first taste of life as a digital nomad, and I’ve been working remotely ever since.
The project that grew around COMPASS (creating, optimizing, mapping, planning, achieving, steering and succeeding) was an intensive exercise in autonomy, mastery and purpose long before Daniel Pink brought “Motivation 3.0” to the mainstream. Developing the name, brand, UX and curriculum, and managing contributions from 30+ experts, each brought unique challenges that still inspire me today.
US Dept. of Ed assessment (PDF) http://bit.ly/us-dept-of-education-compass-excerpt
COMPASS website https://compass.gmu.edu/
Published by Markets For Good (now Digital Impact) Jul 8, 2015
In May, I presented at the International Conference on Social Media for Good in Istanbul, joining academics from all of the world to discuss how we might build on Internet technologies to enhance philanthropy and the resolution of social problems.
Organized by Kimse Yok Mu (KYM), an international NGO carrying out humanitarian aid and development projects in 110 countries, the conference brought together unique local experiences and views that might otherwise deny comparison.
The connective tissue—what had us speaking the same language throughout—was a shared faith in technology and social enterprise and innovation to reach new heights. For me, this is what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are about. Andrei Abramov, former chief of the NGO branch of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said it best in his event recap:
The role of information and communications technology (ICT) has been, and continues to be, crucial to the development of an effective and beneficial global civil society, since they enable the necessary interconnectedness across borders, the free flow of ideas, the exchange of thoughts and the process of consensus building that form the backbone of a civil society of global scope.
Since reading Heather Grady’s blog for SSIR, “Philanthropy, the Post-2015 Agenda, and Diffuse Collaboration,” I’ve thought about how big and small actors might work together to achieve great things in the urban SusDev space. The underlying principles of diffuse collaboration aren’t exactly new, at least for one whose background in science affords a basic understanding of ecology.
But putting the Post-2015 Agenda under a lens of diffuse reciprocity—a concept brought forward by Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer and reiterated by Grady in her post—really opens up a world of possibility with regard to making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, as laid out by SDG 11.
The essence of diffuse reciprocity is the ability to see the value in any size contribution, as it applies to a shared goal or circumstance. Grady’s blog (you should read it) is a primer, a preview and a call to action for the Post-2015 Partnership Platform for Philanthropy, which encourages the sector to “engage more meaningfully” in the SDGs. Finding synergy between individuals and organizations is a big part of this process.
At the conference I presented a conceptual framework for distributed social networking for civil society organizations (CSOs), where engaged citizens can address issues specific to their local communities, all the while contributing to a more comprehensive and timely global reporting structure.
The goal is to show that a distributed model of communication (vs. centralized mainstream social networking) can help increase the impact of local organizations, while inspiring new ways to distribute resources, manage infrastructure and nurture local economies. Such an apparatus would help facilitate urban development through local civic participation and cross-sector collaborations.
At a United Nations side meeting in April, Don Chen (Ford Foundation) said the open nature of the SDGs invites more opportunity for new stakeholders to get involved. Building capacity and accountability, both to which Ford is committed, will be increasingly essential for local organizations looking to collaborate across borders and oceans.
Gatherings like the AGAG conference in New York and the Council on Foundations’ conference in San Francisco have since sparked meaningful conversation on how foundations, associations and grantmakers might engage with the SDGs to help empower youth and underserved communities around the world.
A workshop earlier this year in Colombia opened a dialogue between the broad philanthropic community, national and local governments, the private sector, academia and civil society, to identify opportunities where philanthropy and private social investment can work together within the Post-2015 context. Upcoming events like the AGN Assembly in Arusha and Takaful in Abu Dhabi will connect civil society, social enterprise, governance and other themes with philanthropy in order to understand the role that donors, implementing organizations, and society at large might play in achieving success in the coming years.
CSOs collectively provide the basis for a framework for civic participation, and a distributed social media ecology that builds on cross-sector partnerships would help bring about a more connected and effective means of advocating for human rights, community development and the preservation of local cultures. Furthermore, metanetworks with diverse and far-reaching memberships could be ideal intermediaries for implementation, where member organizations come together across the “development divide” with innovations in knowledge sharing and capacity building.
If diffuse reciprocity represents the exchange of items of nonequivalent value, then distributed social technology is the best substrate for realizing a system in which every contribution, large and small, is recognized within a greater ecosystem of social reality and practice, and met with gratitude.
To achieve this, the social sector should consider a distributed model of communication that affords everyone a seat at the table.