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Analysis of the WeAreMedia project

Amy Ward has written an analysis of how the work is progressing in the “WeAreMedia” project, which is an attempt at building a toolkit and instructional guides about social media strategies and tools for nonprofits.

I can definitely identify with how challenging it is to try and get people to use online tools for collaboration. As it says in the article, people tend to gravitate towards tools that they are familiar with, such as mail or phone calls. It think this is perfectly fine, after all it shouldn’t be the tool that is most important, but the task at hand, and as she says, people just don’t have the time! I totally agree with her view that people should be allowed to use any channel they find suitable. If the tool does not fit them, don’t punish them by shutting them out. It is much better to get their contribution via mail or phone than not at all.

Please go and check it out!

Paper has been turned in! (finally)

Finally I have turned the paper!

Because of a mistake on my part, I didn’t get to turn it in at the last deadline. Instead I was lucky enough to get an extension of the deadline to turn it in today.

If anyone should be interested, here it is.

Creative Capitalism

The Times just recently published an article by Bill Gates, based on a talk he gave in January about what he termed “Creative Capitalism”.

I find it very interesting and a worthwhile listen.

You can also take a look at this article in the Wall Street Journal from January in which some of the sources that Bill Gates was influenced by are mentioned.

First of all he starts out by saying that he thinks the world needs system innovation, not just technological innovation.

Next he says that he thinks that the world has become a better place and that it is continually improving.

According to him there are a billion people who live for less that a dollar a day, who don’t have clean drinking water, electricity and other things that we take for granted.

He then points to something peculiar, namely that people benefit i inverse proportion to their need. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, because the way the system works, in a capitalist society, the incentive is to serve those those who are richest is higher than to serve those who are the poorest.

Now the first statement that really made me think, was when he said that he thinks that capitalism actually has a potential to also serve the poor, as long as we change the system.

If this is to work, businesses need to realize that serving the poor isn’t always going to yield profits. Instead, he says, it can yield recognition.

He goes on with a number of examples of initiatives which might fall under his categorization of “Creative Capitalism”.

Then he starts talking about how he hopes that corporations will set aside a percentage of time from their top innovators to try and figure out new solutions that might help those in need in the world. This, he says, is more effective than simply donating money or allowing people in the company to do volunteer work, because it allows the company’s specialists to do what they are best at.

Examples given by Bill Gates of Creative Capitalism falls into four categories:

1. Adjusted pricing
This means that corporations adjust their prices so that consumers in poor countries can afford them. The example which is mentioned is a meningitis vaccination that is offered at a much lower price than other vaccines.

2. Governmental support
Governments can help by legislating in favor of initiatives that help the poorest and those in need.

3. Allow access to markets in developed countries
To support the livelihood of people in third world countries, initiatives can be taken which ease the access of products from these countries to western markets.

4. Consumption-based philanthropy
Giving aid can be tied together with consumption of goods. The Product (RED) campaign is mentioned as an example of such an initiative.

There is a great blog post here which is much more elaborate: http://creativecapitalism.typepad.com/creative_capitalism/2008/08/the-gates-found.html

I agree in many ways with the views presented, but I don’t have any illusions about creative capitalism or social entrepreneurship being easy.

BeerCampCopenhagen2008

Hello!

I am pleased to announce that we will be hosting a BarCamp-style event on August 29th in Copenhagen. It is sort of an offspring of BarCampCopenhagen which I also definitely think you should attend (I know I will).

As with WineCamp focus will be on technology, pr and nonprofits, but instead of wine we will be drinking beer (since I’m from Denmark and we drink more beer than wine).

If you’re totally new to the concept you can look at it as a evening/afternoon where people from nonprofits and technologists meet to talk about how technology might help nonprofits perform better or learn new ways of organizing their work while technologists can get to work for organisations who work for a greater humanitarian good.

CRM / Mail-management

I’m working on a small project for a client, in which I need a simple CRM/mail-management program.

The requirements are:
1. Must to be able to handle customized form-submission
2. Needs to be extremely simple!
3. Assignment of mail to groups of people
4. Ticket/case management
5. Anti-spam!

We’re using fogbugz internally at beaconware, which works great for software projects. But I’m not so sure that it’ll be as good in a more sales-oriented scenario.

Right now I’m looking at:
- Sproutit Mailroom (I like that they have made some steps towards integration with basecamp)
- Cerberus Helpdesk (Looks a bit cluttered)
- Highrise (of course!)
- Zoho CRM (might be too complicated for this scenario)

I’m basically working my way through this list:

http://www.43folders.com/2007/08/27/vox-pop-email-crm

But since it’s a year old, a lot might have changed since. Anyone out there got any other suggestions?

Taking it to Word

I’m going old school on the report now. Writing it in a wiki wasn’t all that I had hoped for, or rather while i did free me from thinking about things in a particular order that’s excactly what I need now and I need to be able to see the whole thing together now.

Maybe I should have picked MediaWiki instead because it makes certain things easier (such as citing sources) and there might have been some cool third party tools that could have helped me visualize the stuff I had gathered, but I didn’t have time to find hosting and such.

If I’m allowed, I will of course post it here. Not that I think that it will necessarily be the next best thing to sliced bread, but in the spirit of what I’ve been doing it only seems logical.

This will also be my last post for now, if anyone should by accident stumble upon this blog and wonder what’s goin’ on…

My teacher has now been invited :-o

I have now invited Leif Bloch Rasmussen, who is the lektor that’s going to read the paper, to have a look at the wiki.

Things are progressing although not as fast as I might have hoped…

Tomorrow I’m going to interview a company which I’ll be using as a case study in the report. That should be quite interesting.

My strategy is still the same, and I’m scrambling to include enough material in order to be able to make some useful abductions. Well, actually it’s quite difficult to NOT make lots of conclusions and reasonings all the time while I’m reading and writing. So what’s challenging is, probably to no surprise, the (un)selection process. The process of selecting and deselecting things to include and exclude. And because it’s not just supposed to be my own personal ramblings, but of some academic value I have to make sure that sources are correct and that the sources hold at least a minimum of credibility. On the other hand there is a built in conflict of choosing sources that are too established when trying to write something that is supposed to be just a little bit innovative and different, so that’s turning out to be a challenge as well. But this mixture is the whole point of the thing! Actually the thing itself (the report) is the point of the thing (the report).

Storytelling is at the heart of it all. I’m consciously trying to limit my personal views and comments on the things I’ve written and just stick with the facts of what others have said. So I’m not trying to say whether I agree with a certain view or not or what I think that something might mean (yet). Those points will be added in later (saturday or sunday perhaps?). Although of course I already have a good idea of where I’m going.

Right now I can’t decide whether to include some more stuff about the traditional economy. Traditional concepts such as scarcity, supply and demand, etc. are important for the understanding of alternate concepts, but might be so well know to most that it’s not necessary. Heureka! Writing this made me realize that I could include them in the definitions section.

Well not to worry (too much). I will make it, and my hope is to be done by Sunday with the bulk of the thing. What remains after that will hopefully be a very short long tail…

Speaking of long tails, after this is over I’m definitely going to read “The Long Tail” and “The tipping point”.

Well, back to writing the other thing, writing this just flow too easily!

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