Movement Building, Working in NetworksLast week I was up on Maine at a conference called PopTech as part of the teaching faculty for the fellows program. The focus of the conference is technology for social innovation. I met Paula Kahumbu who is the executive director of an organization WildLifeDirect founded by Louis Leeky – a wildlife conservationist. It’s a wonderful example of a nonprofit using new media for social change.Through its use of social media, WildlifeDirect brings supporters and conservationists together online and enables individual donors around the world to communicate directly with the people that they are funding. The goal: a movement powerful enough to respond to any conservation emergency anywhere swiftly and efficiently, reverse the catastrophic loss of habitats and species and secure the future of wildlife in Africa, Asia and around the world.What’s innovative -- we have wildlife conservationists in blogging or twittering about their work and building and connecting with individuals who are interested in their work. They are providing a platform for people to make connections, to self-organize and staying in the connection level – until there is a window of opportunity -- a crisis – that catalyzes the network in a higher state of working.What’s important?Understanding the phases of movements/networks: ignition, connection, alignment, and productionTheory of change on the groundNetwork weaving – connecting people together to accomplish small bits of workMaking sure that there is a self organizing platform
And did it at their staff retreat for 300 peopleHeld a contest with staff divisions each competing for $10,000 budget line item to implement their strategyThey had to do a presentation of their strategy in multi-media – and the winning team included this six month year old baby, a child of one of the staff members. They used the baby as part of their presentation won everyone over.
The important thing is how you using different technologies to support small groups of people within your network to self organize around tasks related to your goal?I was really inspired about this – and feel that those who work in nonprofits on social media/social networks are network weavers – and that we need a professional affinity group – so I’m starting one at the NTC.