Amnesty’s Dan McQuillan has made a rallying call for a Netsquared this side of the pond – which could be an “incubator for web-enabled social change in the UK & Europe”.
Dan identifies some possible goals:
- To stimulate web-enabled social innovation
- To create a an online-offline community for learning skills, sharing experiences and developing expertise
- To sustain socially progressive activity through alternative business & organisational models
I like the emphasis Dan gives to “activism”, and “the organisational question” in particular…
Perhaps, like the second Netsquared conference, it could aim to incubate a new generation of web-enabled non-profits that use new forms of organising to deliver more directly on their missions.
There is a very real tension between where social media is taking us and how charities are responding (although there needn’t be). Web 2.0 requires Leadership 2.0. Surely two sides of the same coin.
All this may well dovetail with the initiative soon to be unveiled by Bertie Bosrédon, the Head of New Media at Breast Cancer Care. Bertie gave me an update earlier this week.
Yesterday, I happened to get a call from Richard Saunders, who is head of website development at NCH, the children’s charity. He also hinted he would welcome a forum along these lines. And Rob Bowker at the BTCV has flagged his interest to me via this blog.
I also know from many of the conversations I had in Brussels last week that there would be an appetite for this elsewhere in Europe, too. Paolo Ferrara left a comment on my recent Buzz Director post to let me know that they are starting to unpick this concept in their own Italian context.
I hope many others will be up for it. But it won’t all be plain sailing; David Wilcox recently held up a mirror to reflect that in the UK at least, the sector has not always been good at being generous in this way.
I’m optimistic. At the start of the year, when I was considering some of the trends that might drive charities in 2007, I wrote that I was “thinking of co-organising an open-space event for those championing social media tools (and change management) within their organisations.” But Dan is right, this is much bigger than a single event.
I would only add that I’d like to see people from all ‘disciplines’ involved in this – I’ve had enough of silo-thinking.
Thank you, Dan; count me in.