Strategic Pillar 5: Create Strategic Efforts that Support and Unite the Social Tech Community

By Robert Phillips

Imagine a place that feels like home: safe, uncomplicated, easy to find. The spaces and environment put all who enter at ease. Others are there to listen, and assist. All essential needs, resources, and information are harnessed, leading to the best outcome to help that person achieve their highest potential. The experience is both restorative and invigorating.

At the heart of this pillar is the idea that building a community of organizations and individuals working together to solve a common set of problems, develop a common body of ideas and knowledge, or advance and apply common practices requires developing assets and spaces that allow people to connect, transform, and create new concepts that can help each other.

Strategic Pillar 5: Create Strategic Efforts that Support and Unite the Social Tech Community

As a mission-driven, nonprofit organization, we will further our mutual cause of helping people and our communities by lending ourselves, our ideas, our resources, and our spaces to supporting and promoting the field of social technology. By using our resources differently — not just to create and sell — we will partner with other like-minded organizations and individuals to more effectively and more broadly deliver on our vision: to create connections between people and the lives they dream of.

By joining with the legion of researchers, technologist, advocates, educators, and others, we will help civic-minded, socially engaged groups and individuals advance their pursuits and work together to solve the common problems facing people when they need help, develop a common body of theory and knowledge around what it means to truly connect people to opportunity and security, and advance and apply practices that allow our communities, organizations, families, and individuals to make better decisions.

SIS will strategically and actively join in building the social tech community in a number of ways.

Use physical, multi-purpose spaces to support others in their work. By creating spaces for people to come together, even to just host informal hang outs, we can foster interactions that spontaneously produce energy and fuel ideas. We will support other organizations at all levels with options that meet them where they are, regardless of budgetary constraints. Inviting folks into our offices is our way of opening our doors to building community. Our offices will be a workspace for us, but in the context of the community writ large, they will transform into a collaborative hub.

Lead collaboration and thought leadership in the social tech community. People come together to share ideas and information and get validation in their experience. We will openly and transparently share our knowledge and support partners as we help promote the visibility of our common causes. This further builds the strength of the sector as more folks identify with the cause, see a place for themselves, and find a way to contribute to it. Along the way we will leverage new innovations and tech solutions to push the type of policy and technology innovations that create social change.

Great things happen when people at all levels can be at home in multiple environments, safely sharing ideas. In this way, SIS will be porous. We talked about being porous earlier as a way to deepen our connection to our clients and the folks they support. Being porous means we can adapt quickly and be penetrable inside and out. Being porous will also mean we will build trust faster by working in the open and making continuous improvements to our body of work in real time. It means encouraging our staff, thought partners, and co-collaborators to make changes in a safe and supportive environment. New employees, mentors, and those just passing through for a day will all leave their mark in bettering the work we do, and we will work to create an environment that allows for it.

Recognize that talent can be found anywhere, and bring the outside in on their terms. Harnessing the momentum of constant movement is what we will work to do better. Everyone has gifts and the world is in a race to build upon new ideas. We welcome the creative vagabond who captures the zeitgeist of innovation at the moment. Changemakers make moves, it’s what they do. We know that many are passing through looking for their next gig, adventure, or milestone. Our doors are open, even if you don’t plan on staying long.

Consultants, fellows, interns, and advisory members will broaden our perspective. Our staff will build relationships and network with others as a way to share expertise and stay engaged. We will become multifaceted problem solvers. Case in point: Being porous at SIS means having application assistors working in our offices so our solution design team can consult with them spontaneously to better understand a particular snag in the process. Being porous means we welcome those who know they have many gifts, and are looking for a way to make their impact in as many places as possible.

SIS Will Be a Home Base for Changemakers

We are in it together, and all of us can lend a voice to assist another person. By becoming an integral piece of the social tech network, SIS will help to incubate ideas and birth new initiatives. These ideas and initiatives will grow organically among community members. And SIS, being uniquely positioned among its public sector, technology, and policy partners, will help evolve promising new efforts into prototypes and then find homes to grow them into solutions.

SIS will create communal spaces that will be used to foster shared vision, innovation, tolerance, and creative dissent to push ourselves and others further for the purpose of creating connections between people and the lives they dream of.

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