Cultivating a network of change makers within change-resistant institutions

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Sharing and collaborating with organizations, how they impact us. Successful or otherwise?

  • One of the ways we were recovering from Sandy was that we wanted a directory of the point people for organizations who were a part of local recovery efforts. We wanted to maintain the database, they didn't know what a database was or why it mattered. You need a website, we'll make one for you if you just give us a spreadsheet with information. Reduced cost, we got data. They learned how to WordPress works. That didn't do a whole lot for us.
  • Beer for data program. If we make it a social experience to show up in order to achieve a technical objective. In the formal sector, you don't even get to leave the building. They're all building similar, parallel plans. 2 schools almost the exact same, 100 meters apart, didn't know about it until they were at a TikiBar together. This was when there was no incentive to get together except the one place for alcohol.
  • Working with World Bank and with Mozilla. There are lots of good people but they don't know how to share. Open to hacking this system.
  • Call Detail Records. Gov is supposed to move slow. Who generated the data, who owns it, who can share it? If you want to get it done, this is who you talk to. We want some oversight, and yet we also need to move quickly sometimes.
  • We don't necessarily want the network to be legible, know who the key supernodes are, etc. Then it's an activist problem, don't want certain groups to be taken out easily.
  • The institutional innovation cycle of conceiving, developing, testing, and the deploying in a crisis takes years.
  • How do you find, connect, and support the people doing good work in institutions and emergent groups. "Multistakeholder workshops" are the way to find the mavericks who will actually get the shit done over time.
  • Institutions want to see collaboration across organizations. "Look there's a pile of money over there if we cooperate." Use funding to push the political agenda. But changes in leadership, etc make it fragile.

Creating a space where people want to go so there's an opportunity to identify with each other. It's like being in a frat or a secret society. How do we help each other advance, use entertainment to connect and support people?

How to add value? Appreciate and respect people with good food, paying attention, etc. With govies, giving them space to play is hugely appreciated. Institutionalized space where people are safe in trying things out. How do we build people's capacity to experiment (pro tip: this wording won't get you funded). laboratories are trendy but not getting funded.

What is it to have a loose, ongoing network which can be opportunistic?

How to build a network / find change makers

  • People are looking for good consultants and vendors. Putting people in touch with each other builds out the network.
  • Being nice, taking care of people.
  • Giving mavericks tangible stories that they can take to their boss. Business cases, not stories in this context. "This money went in, there was a black box, there was this much ROI. You can have this, too." Here's when data standard processes added value.
  • Data standard processes. There's no good tool for this, it's mostly just people and interns. There isn't a tool for synthesis. WhiteHouse put open data and processes on GitHub.
  • Example terms of reference. Could fit into personas in workflows.
  • Build them a website in exchange for things.
  • Tell them its for a disaster app.

What's the process of finding and onboarding people into these circumstances. We need to find more synergists. What's the arc of finding, sorting, embedding the new ones?

How do we help tell this story in a way that brings in funding, allows people to take strategic action?