June 15th, 2007

Another shout for a Netsquared Europe

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”.

An idea. Photo: LeopoldoDan 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 Bosredon, 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.

* * *

Technorati innovation, net2, netsquared, nptech, nptechuk

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4 Responses to “Another shout for a Netsquared Europe”

  1. Dave Briggs Says:


    I agree that this is a worthy cause and an excellent project. Lets hope that there are enough people willing to provide some time and leadership to get things going. I’m certainly in, too.

    Is there something already existing for UK volunteers, do you know? I’m thinking along the lines of a social network, allowing people to find causes and volunteering opportunities as well as other people with similar interests.

    If not, might this tie in with the UK Netsquared idea, or does it belong separately?

  2. Hamza Says:

    Hi Steve,

    I work for a large international NGO and we are working towards full web 2.0 integration in our business and marketing strategy. I would certainly welcome any forum that could assist us in this aim.



  3. Raul Says:

    I work for http://www.nabuur.com and our focus it to connect connect online volunteers with villages in developing countries that are in need for knowledge, ideas and contacts. The interesting part is that this is about people helping people rather than a lot of organisations just trying to collect money and send it or similar things. Although we also do fundraising in some occasions, we really try to focus on empowering the people.

    We are currently looking for drupal volunteer programmers that could helps us through the re-design of our website as well as people with ideas on how to increase the P2P interactions.

    Any idea is welcome,


  4. Libby Davy Says:

    Hi Steve – we are all about building capacity and deep learning on social media for social/eco action.

    Shameless plug perhaps, but our Social Media for Third Sector programme starts early July and there are still 8 places left (plus 2 assisted places for smaller organisations)>

    Keen to stay in touch on how we can come together on this.

    Any feedback people want to give on the educational packages we are offering the third sector are most welcome.

    Our social media clinics will be one place people come together on this stuff, as well as facilitated group learning days.

    We were planning to have an online learning environment for people we are working with… already have something happening at http://authenticblogging.ning.com/ but thinking of moodle and other options too.

    I guess main thing is, we stay in touch. Now I better get on the phone and call you back re: 2gether