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Disrupting Philanthropy Speech

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Disrupting Philanthropy speech delivered at Oxford University, April 14 2010
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DisruptingPhilanthropy: Howcrowdsandcloudsare changinghowwedeliveronthecommongood LucyBernholz,Ph.D OxfordInternetInstitute 14April2010 twitterhashtag#oiiphil

Thankyouforhavingmeheretoday.ThankyouDameStephanie,Professor Dutton,allofthewonderfulstaffoftheOxfordInternetInstitute.Thanksto theHANDFoundation,NewAmericaFoundationandStanfordUniversity whichmakemyworkpossible.Thankstoallofyouforcoming.Iparticularly wanttothankmyfatherforjoiningusheretodayitsaspecialhonorforme tohavehimhere. Now,Iwanttoaskyoutodosomethingthatisabitunusualatthestartofa speech.Pleaseturnonyourmobilephones.Thisisbothatestandan experimentatestofatheoryImworkingonandanexperimentbecausethis willbethefirsttimeIvetriedthisoutsideoftheStates.Iwantyoutoturnon yourmobilesbecauseImwillingtobetyoutheywontring.Why?Becauseno

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oneusesmobilesformakingphonecallsanymore.Weusethemfortexting andtwittering,messagingandemails.Butphonecalls?Heck,thereoughtabe anappforthat. WhydoIbringthisup?Tomakeapointabouthowquicklytechnology changes.Heresatechnologythatsgonecompletelymainstreaminthelast decadeallofyouhaveamobile,asdoabout4billionofthe6billionpeople ontheplanet.Andwhilethesedevicesweredesignedforphonecalls,weuse themforsomethingelse. Oncethetechnologyisinourhands,westarttoadaptit.Weadaptour behaviorstowhatitletsusdo.Wedothisonanindividualbasisthinkfor exampleofanotherwayinwhichourrelationshiptophonehaschanged. Aboutadecadeago,whenthephonerang,youwouldntknowwhoitwas untilyouhadansweredit.TherewasnocallerID.Butassoonasyouknew whoitwas,youalsohadaprettygoodchanceofknowingwherethatperson wasbecausetheywerelikelycallingfromalandline.Soifitwasyourmum shewasathome,yoursisterwascallingfromwork,yourbrotherfromhis office.Onceyouknewwhowascalling,youhadagoodchanceofknowing wheretheywere. 2

Nowadays,weknowwhoitistheminutethephoneringscallerIDtellsus who.Butthefirstquestionweaskiswhereareyou?Simplyknowingwhois onthecalldoesnttellyouanythingaboutwheretheyaretheycouldbeat work,athome,inthecarorinanothercountry.Wecannolongerpindown ourfamilyorfriendsbytheirphonenumber.Ihaveahunchthatthisiswhy geolocationservicesandapplicationsarebecomingsopopularespecially amongyoungpeoplewhohaveneverbeentetheredbyalandline,butthatsa differentspeech. Sotechnologyadaptstousandweadapttotechnology.Itiseasytoseethison thepersonallevel.Theorganizationallevelisalittlebitharder.Andthisis wherewecanbegintotalkabouthowtechnologyisdisruptingphilanthropy. But,beforeIdothat,afewquestionsforyou: Whorememberswheretheywereatabout10pmlocaltime,January 12,2010? HowmanyofyoufirstheardabouttheearthquakeinHaitiviayour computerormobilephone?

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Howmanyofyoufirstheardaboutitviathetelevision,newspaperor radio? Howmanyofyousharedinformationabouttheearthquakeviamobile, twitter,emailorIMing? Howmanyofyoumadeadonationonyourmobilephone? [Synthesizeanswers.Noteresultsforthisaudiencelikelyverydifferentfrom Californiaresultsbecauseoftimedifferenceitwas2pmonaTuesdayin California,10pminUK] Mypointhereisthatweareallpartofthenewsecosystemnow.Ourmobiles letustalktoourfriends,sure,buttheyalsonowmakeuspartofsharingnews, trackingstories,andinteractingwithevents.Whatwellseeinthestoriesto comeishowtheyalsochangehowwedefinesocialsolutionstoshared problems. Imgoingtomakeonebasicargumentdataarethenewplatformforchange. Wenowregularlyaccessanduseinformationatanentirelydifferentscaleand pacethaneverbefore,duetothedevelopmentofrobustdatabases,search engines,mobileaccesspoints(e.g.phones),andgeolocationservices.Inthe courseofadaptingtothisrealityseveralthingsarebecomingclear: 4

Dataasnewplatformforchangeallowwholenewformsofenterpriseto producesocialgoods. Weareonlyjustbeginningtoseethesenewformsthinkabout UshahidiandCrisisCamps,theroleTwitterplayedinthe2009Iranian electionandKyrgyzstansonedayrevolutionandtheemergenceof protestgroupssuchasPricedOuthereintheUK. Todate,wehavethoughtaboutphilanthropyandtechnologymostly fromthefundraisingandcommunicationpointofview.Dataasanew platformforchangeisaboutusingthetechnologytodefinethe problemsanddevelopthesolutionstechnologyaspartandparcelof missionachievement,notjustforfundraising. Thedataasplatformviewshiftseverythingnotjustenterpriseform. o Itshiftswhereexpertiseandinformationliesitiseverywhere, notwithinanorganization. o Byshiftingwhereexpertiselies,andallowingnewformsof enterprise,italsodemandsnewformsofgovernance; o Newformsofenterpriseandnewformsofgovernancedontfit withinourexistingfinancingandregulatorystructures; o Thisisonereasontheriseofsocialenterpriseandnetworksis happeningnow.Thetwomajortrendsofthismoment 5

technologyandsocialenterprisearenotcoincidental,theyare linked. o Newenterprises,newgovernance,newfinancingandnew regulationsthosearethedomainsofinfluencewhere technologyisfundamentallyshiftinghowphilanthropyworks. Onecaveat.Knowledgeexpertsandinformationscientistsgetalotof discussionoutofthedifferencebetweendata,informationandknowledge.Im notgoingtogothere.Iusedataandinformationinterchangeably.Imtalking aboutquantitativedataandqualitativedatanumbersandstories.Imtalking aboutbothrawdataandinterpretedandanalyzedinformation.Oneofthe thingswellseeisthattheincreaseindatanumbers,patterns,trendsand datasourcesRSSfeeds,twitter,emailandblogshasonlyincreasedour needforstorytelling.Weneedtomakesenseofthedata,weneedtouseit,we needtotakeadvantageofittomakechangehappen.Datadontmakechange, peoplemakechange. Dataasthenewplatformforchange(slidetwo) Thecurrentcommonmodelforchangeisbasedonorganizations.Nonprofits, registeredcharities,multilateralfundingagencies,governmentbodies, 6

politicalparties.Theyarethedriversofchange,theissuersofmanifestos. Theydooutreachtobringpeopleinorprovideservicestoclientsorpresent arttoaudiencesordoresearchforothers. Seeingthedataastheplatformchangesthis.[Slidethree]ConsiderUshahidi asthecurrentoptimalexampleofthis.Ushahidigotitsstartintheelectionsin Kenyaafewyearsback.Protestsbrokeoutinthecities,andactivistswanted tobeabletotrackandreportonwhatwashappening.Theyrealizedthatthe verypeopleinvolved,theprotestorsandbystanders,werealsothedata sourceusingtheirmobilephonestheycouldeasilyreportwhatwas happening.Theactivistssimplygatheredtheirtextmessagesintoasingle repositoryawebpagethatcouldbeusedbyanyonetoseewhatwasgoing on.Thosesendingtextscouldalsoseethemessagesfromothersinthearea. Thoseoutsidetheregioncouldscrollthroughthemessagesandseewhatwas goingon.Userswerereadersandtexters.Differentpeoplesawdifferent patternsbuttherewasnocleardividinglinebetweentheoutsideandthe insidethepeoplesendingthemessageswerebothdatasourcesanddata interpreters.

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Thissystemwasquicklyadaptedtootheruseselectionmonitoringin dozensofcountries,forexample.ItgotitsbiggesttestfollowingtheHaiti earthquakethevolunteersworkingtostrengthentheUshahidisystem realizedthattextmessagesfrompeopleinHaitiwouldbethemostvaluable sourceofrealtimeinformationtoguidereliefefforts. Theyquicklyestablishedacommandcentertomanagethefloodoftexts,a singletextcodeforpeopletouse,andletthenetworksofvolunteers, newswatchers,mobilephoneusers,andreliefagenciesspreadtheword. Withinhoursthesystemwasinplaceandrealtime,ontheground informationwasfloodingin.Watchingthepatternsofinformationdisplayed, volunteersaroundtheworldorganizedtoproduceCreoleEnglish translationapplications,realtimemappingupdatesshowingthedamage,and coordinationsystemswithgovernmentagenciesandnongovernmentalrelief organizations. Expertiseandinformationoutsideandinside WhoisUshahidi?ThevolunteersinKenyaandMassachusettswhostaffedthe dataandwebsystems?ThepeopleonthegroundinHaiti,bothquakevictims andaidworkers?Thegovernmentagenciesandrelieforganizationsthat 8

startedusingthedatafromthesystemtocoordinatetheirwork?Theanswer isalloftheabove.UshahidiisalsoanadaptabletoolsincetheHaiti earthquakethesystemhasbeenusedtopowertheSnowmaggedonCleanUp websitefortheJanuarysnowstormthatshutdownWashingtonDCandthe SudanVoteMonitorforthenationalelectionsthattookplacethispast Monday. Otherorganizations,suchasWATCH,whichtrainscitizenstomonitorcourt proceedingsortheDisasterAccountabilityProjecthelppeopleusetext messagesandmobileemailstotracktheongoingworkofaidagencies. Ushahidicrowdsourcescrisisinformation.Allovertheworldactivistsare alsocrowdsourcingaccountabilityefforts,marketconditions,election outcomes,andneighborhoodwatches. Asaplatformforchange,thecrowdsourcedcrisisinformationmodelthatis Ushahidishowsthatusersandusesforthesystemareasdiverseasthe imagination.Ratherthananorganizationfocusedondeliveringasetof services,Ushahidiisasetoftoolsthatcanbeadaptedtosituationsand possibilitiesbyalmostanyone.Expertiseisinternalandexternal.Everyoneis potentiallybothaproviderandaclient.Datapowerthechange.Themany 9

differenteyesonthedatawillseedifferenttruths,actasselfcorrecting mechanisms,andalsoofferupthenextahamomentforanotherapplication ofthetoolsandthedatadisplays. Ushahidirepresentsmorethanjustthesocialapplicationsoftechnologyand dataforusesotherthantheiroriginalintendedpurposes.Italsoshowsa fundamentallynewwayofthinkingaboutsocialchallengesandproblem solving.Themodelreliesontheendbeneficiariesthequakevictimsorthe voterstomakethesystemwork.Itoperatesonasenseofscalepreviously unimaginablewhilebothHaitisearthquakeandtheDCsnowstormwere fundamentallylocalevents,theprovideroftheservicewasremoteinboth cases,andtheusersofthedatadisplayswerebothlocalresidentsand interestedpartiesfromallovertheglobe. [SlideFour]Recognizingthesesubtlebutimportantwaysthattechnologyhas alteredourbehaviorandourexpectationsaboutinformationiskeyto imaginingthekindsofnewsolutionsthatUshahidirepresents.Itmaybeas sharpasshiftingfromapushtoapullmindset.Ratherthanorganizationsas sourcesofexpertise,funding,andprogramsthatgetdelivered,orpushed outintocommunities,beneficiariesandactivistsdrawtogetherarepulled 10

inbytheirsharedinterestsandneeds,theyfundtogether,developsolutions together,anddeploytoolsthatcanberepurposedandredeployed. Thechangethatreallymattersthedisruptivechangeisabouthow te

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