February 28, 2008

Nonprofits & NGOs Using Mobile Phones and SMS for Social Change

NetSquaredThe recent Mobile World Congress (held every year in Barcelona) coincided with an interesting NetSquared ThinkTank question: "How Can Nonprofits and NGOs Use Mobile Phones and SMS for Social Change?" - I fully intended to throw my five pence worth in, especially as I was blogging for the 65K strong internal audience of a major mobile technology firm, but with so many other deadlines that week, this was one I missed. Lots of others did make it though, including at least one other delegates at the congress, and I highly recommend that you head over to Britt Bravo's excellent sum-up here.

Also, here are some links to people well worth knowing if this is an area of interest - first up is SwarmTeams, run by the indefatigable Ken Thompson. I first ran into him at an event held by the RSA in partnership with Policy Unplugged back in 2006 and got to try an early beta which I have to admit I wasn't too taken with. Then I ran into Ken again at the Digital Media Literacy Summit 2007 and he kindly gave me a second chance. Well, the concept has come a very long way ... Here's a tool for engaging people with SMS that really works. A couple of favourite features are notice-board posting from your phone and audience questions for conference Q&As, but there is much more functionality. Have a look at http://home.swarmteams.com/ - the site is commercially oriented, but I know Ken would like to work with the 3rd sector too.

The second one is the Using Mobiles for Advocacy project at the Tactical Technology Collective - Head over to their site to learn more about what they've got going on.

Last but not least - whilst the Mobile World Congress is driven around new developments such as Femtocells, LTE and WiMAX, an award is also handed out for 'Best Use of Mobile for Social & Economic Development' - in conjunction with the GSMA Development Fund. Also, there was a panel on technology to reach the bottom of the pyramid which specifically dealt with some of the unique challenges of deploying mobile networks in emerging economies. An example of one opportunity that could help drive development in some areas is to bring banking to the unbanked - as covered here.

Earlier articles that may be of interest: 

December 21, 2007

Web 2.0 Workshop Video Jukebox

The Melting Pot Building on Rose St. - Picture Courtesy of the Melting PotEarlier this week we squeezed a stack of Scotland's leading agents of social change into a conference room at the new centre for social innovation on Rose St. in Edinburgh and we spent a couple of intensive hours exploring some of the basics of blogging, wikis and whatnot. Special thanks to Claire and Adam at the Melting Pot for their help getting this off the ground.

It is clear there is a strong desire to improve skills for connecting and collaborating using the web amongst Scottish social innovators. I am working with the leadership team at the Melting Pot to nail down some dates for 2008.

Stay tuned via RSS to get the fixtures as they are announced.

Afterwards some of the more advanced participants including the bloggers Osbert Lancaster and Myshele Goldberg convened at the nearby Abbotsford to discuss what they'd really like to work on in 2008 and we agreed that there was a need for a number of sessions under the following headings:

Now for those who can't wait till the new year to learn more about some of these, check out the articles above, or have a play with the video selection below:

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December 03, 2007

e-Intelligence for Scottish Social Entrepreneurs & Activists

MeltingPotLogo.jpg Later this month I'll be running a pilot for a new workshop specificially for Scottish Social Entrepreneurs & Activists - an adaptation of the advanced version of the The São Paulo e-Intelligence Programme.

- It'll be at The Melting Pot, Edinburgh's superb new centre for social innovation which I have talked about briefly before. We have a great line-up of people attending who will help shape future delivery for maximum relevance and impact for a Scottish audience.

We've filled the seats but if you feel that you really could add something whilst rubbing shoulders with some of Scotland's leading lights on the social enterprise scene then we'll try and squeeze you in. Simply drop me a line - michael at ambjorn.com

- We kick off at 3pm on the 18th of December. Dates for workshops next year will be put here in due course so make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed to stay posted - or if you are e-mail driven, use the Feedburner powered sign-up box in the right hand margin.

If you want to learn more about The Melting Pot, check out this PDF which has the full lowdown.

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