Taking Action

January 20, 2005

in Knowledge Innovation

I simply had to post this link to Howard’s comments on Smartmobbing Disaster Relief. I heard similar stories first hand from Dina who I’m sure just wants to be part of what is a very successful effort. What is too easy to miss in this activity is “none” of the founders / originators / instigators were super techies. At least as far as I can tell. They simply grabbed what was available and learned an incredible amount in a very short time. Their activities had an impact on WikiNews and Blogger. The tools weren’t necessarily the best, they did get a lot done and self organized in ways that got real results.

It’s exciting. It’s also a concern. I may have missed it, I don’t think I’ve seen anything from major relief agencies talking about revised strategies for future disaster relief. The efforts around TsunamiHelp and others should force all these organizations to revisit how they are organized, and funded. Strategically, the “communications” portion of their operations are no longer tuned or effective in an instantaneous response world. Even mobilizing resources are reinvented by what has happened in the last few weeks. The real risk now is these major organizations try and organize for it, employ consultants to evaluate it and fail to focus on what enabled such beautfiul contributions to swarm.

Dina told me, “A few hours after the tsunamis struck, I started by posting at the blog … then as more folk started contributing with posts, I looked into setting up and coordinating efforts around the wiki, as I felt resources were getting lost in blog posts — so I got the domain and bandwidth and we built the wiki pages and got volunteers to build the collections. The other activity was coordinating efforts of this group of over 150 volunteers and contributors — which was done by a few people, including me. We have now gathered a tremendous resource on aid, relief, donations and volunteers for the disaster. That works to bridge those who are suffering with those that can help.” Smartmobbing Disaster Relief

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