Humantific at Gates Foundation
Due to the strategic nature of the work that Humantific does with many organizations we cannot always talk about what we are doing in the exact moment it is being done.
When possible, we do try to provide a window into this kind of strategic cocreation work and there is certainly alot going on in many sectors including the philantropic community.
In different communities this arena is becoming known by different terms including Philantropic Innovation, Social Innovation, Social Design, Social Change Making, Social Infrastruture Design, Change Making For Good, Markets For Good, etc.
Since its inception 5 years ago Humantific has been working closely with the Markets for Good leadership team.
For Humantific this work often involves providing visual sensemaking combined with a hybrid form of strategic planning that includes more upstream challenge framing and wider participation than is typical. Today mainstream business media is full of “big data” talk but we already know that generative innovation involves not just using data for decision-making but rather integrating numeous forms of information based insights into the cocreation process that all participants learn as a common language.
One such session was held in June at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle when Humantific collaborated with Markets for Good and the Gates Foundation to design and undertake a two day workshop. Framed as “a gathering of select leaders engaged in improving the social sector’s data and information capacity” it became an engaging work session that included 65 participants from 50+ different leading social good oriented organizations including: Network for Good, Case Foundation, Global Giving Foundation, New Philanthropy Capital, Heron Foundation, Aspen Institute, Microsoft, NetHope, GuideStar India, LiquideNet For Good, Social Impact Lab, The White House, Intentional Futures, Urbn Institute, Standford Digital Civial Society Lab, Keystone Accountability and numerous others.
This was the Primary Challenge that was collectively worked on during the two day session: How might we collectively build the information infrastructure—the data hubs, information exchange standards, knowledge and collaboration tools, and favorable performance culture and policy environment—to provide all actors in the social sector with the insights they need to inform their decisions?
Much of the work that Humantific does today involves the framing of, not one challenge, but rather an interconnected constellation. Most often we are surfacing that constellation for the first time. This is part upstream challenge framing and part systems thinking. It rapidly becomes clear that many challenges are interconnected. There are very few free-standing unconnected challenges in this world. Coming to terms with this in real-time is often part of the experience for participants. Here are some of the additional challenges that were worked on during this particular two day session:
How might we develop a minimum viable product for measurement to plug into while strengthening accountability?
How might we get stakeholders to align on standards?
How might we develop sustainable business models for pieces of the information infrastructure?
How might we establish collective shared values and norms for the markets for good movement?
How might we make great giving easier for funders and more common?
How might we frame data analysis as a growth engine for non-profits?
How might we develop the data ecosystem from data collection to insights?
This constellation of challenges is a good example of the kinds of issues being framed and tackled in community settings being transformed via the data/information/sensemaking/cocreation revolution.
This community is making great progress accross a complex landscape of issues and this work is ongoing on multiple fronts.
What is your challenge constellation looking like these days? When was the last time your organization surfaced it via cocreation?