single Category Archives aligned strategy

During late 2016, I had the opportunity to talk with Greenpeace leaders and activists from six continents about the Mobilisation Lab, a remarkable and remarkably successful effort to spark change from within a long-standing activist institution.

An internal department created to build organizational strength in "people-powered" campaigning and digital skills, the MobLab has inspired me since its founding. Through a combination of storytelling, trust-building, design thinking and rigorous humility, the MobLab team and the Greenpeace leaders supporting them seemed to me to have created a better model for organizational change—especially for digital advocacy—than most of the other initiatives I've seen in my 20 years watching non-profits and big brands try to keep up with evolving tools and behaviors.

The Personal Democracy Forum conference has always been a celebration of technology’s role transforming politics and redefining democracy. But this year’s celebration included particularly strong notes of caution, like danah boyd’s talk on the unintended consequences of code, Mark Surman’s warning that internet freedom is shrinking and Mariana Ruiz Firmat’s reminder that equity within our organizations is a design imperative, not just a good hiring practice.

The chorus of realistic voices was my second favorite thing about PDF16. My favorite was our own cautionary panel, “Is the Civic Tech Story Broken?”, which I presented with panelists Sam Dorman, Elizabeth Eagen and Shaifali Puri.

As citizens in many democracies seek greater participation in public debate, international civil society organisations (ICSOs) are seeking a new model for advocacy: one where supporters become fuller participants in priority-setting and tactics, and where leadership demonstrates accountability to those participants on an ongoing basis.

“People power”, unleashed and expedited by newer technologies, can help ICSOs scale their impact – through crowdsourcing projects, for instance, that harness the input of thousands of unconnected individuals, or through networked campaigns that disseminate not only information but also campaign leadership across hundreds of small groups and thousands of miles.

12
Close