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From Fortresses to Sponges

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In this class, we studies the work of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, using their book The Networked Nonprofit, as well as David Weinberger's chapter in the Cluetrain Manifesto on how hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. In addition we looked at Ivan Boothe's writings on the evolution of the Genocide Intervention Network as an example of a networked nonprofit in action.

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From Fortresses to Sponges

  1. 1. DPI-665 Politics of the Internet Feb 22, 2012 “ Organizational Change: From Fortresses to Sponges” Micah L. Sifry Audio: http://bit.ly/x3HWaV CC-BY-NC-SA
  2. 2. Topics for discussion <ul><li>What are the characteristics of the “fortress” model of organization? </li></ul><ul><li>Business, non-profit, campaign: does the “fortress” apply across all three? </li></ul><ul><li>Surfrider Foundation, Twestival, charity:water, Genocide Intervention Network -- What do these have in common? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Fortress mentality <ul><li>Imposing over others </li></ul><ul><li>Inside is everything </li></ul><ul><li>Outside is dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is compartmentalized </li></ul><ul><li>The king rules </li></ul><ul><li>We each have our place </li></ul><ul><li>We’re at war </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sponge mentality <ul><li>Hyperlinked </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralized </li></ul><ul><li>Flowing </li></ul><ul><li>Open access </li></ul><ul><li>Rich data </li></ul><ul><li>Broken at the edges </li></ul><ul><li>Borderless </li></ul>
  5. 5. Genocide Intervention Network <ul><li>Starting as a student network </li></ul><ul><li>Initial mission: raise $ for peacekeepers in Darfur, to help fight genocide </li></ul><ul><li>“ If the genocidaires in my country were able to kill 1 million people in 100 days in 1994,&quot; she said, &quot;why can't we students raise $1 million in 100 days?&quot; </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ When we first started organizing on Facebook in 2005, we found many existing groups on campuses working to end the genocide in Darfur. So our role wasn't to try to convince people to become active, but to give them effective tools, like our congressional scorecard and 1-800-GENOCIDE hotline, to take action on a regular basis.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Ivan Boothe </li></ul>
  7. 11. User empowerment <ul><li>Our mission: to empower our members to prevent and stop genocide, and in so doing, to create an educated anti-genocide constituency. While we do, of course, want to increase our membership rolls and make ever-larger donations to civilian protection, in some respects it's not always necessary for people to perform every anti-genocide action through our organization. If our videos or emails or profiles get people talking more substantially about genocide — and the concrete ways in which they can actually prevent and stop genocide — then in some sense whether they end up on our mailing list is somewhat beside the point. Through their knowledge they will engage others, and ultimately enhance the anti-genocide movement we're helping to build.” --Ivan Boothe </li></ul>
  8. 12. What’s coming next <ul><li>Organizing without organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence </li></ul><ul><li>Hyperpolitics </li></ul>

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