This site is constantly evolving. Every post adds to its direction and each person’s opinion tweaks my ideas about where to take it. As blogger Mark Hecker said, the goals of this site are quite ambiguous and its message is almost overly simplistic: “It’s about seeing the world in a different way and creating a more connected society for all.” Feedback helps ground our goals.
I’m currently working with the tension of trying to define UnSectored’s structure, while also having as many people as possible contributing to these basic decisions. (If you want to make your own contribution, come to the next UnSectored Talk.) One thing has been clear, though, almost from the very beginning: Something needs to unify the plethora of organizations, activities, and initiatives working towards the same goal of creating social value. I think UnSectored can do this.
What’s needed is an infrastructure that brings these groups together. Last week, Albert Ruesga wrote about the role of community foundations in bridging the divide between communities of wealth and communities of poverty. He likened the community foundation to a “translator,” something that can straddle two worlds to communicate the needs and desires of one community to the other. What Ruesga calls a translator has been branded an “infrapreneur” on this site by Laura Tomasko: someone who creates change by developing and connecting systems.
As I see it, we do not have the luxury of translating between the dichotomous worlds of the rich and poor, like Ruesga’s proverbial community foundation. Instead, we must take a broader view and translate on behalf of all the organizations working to create social value. The UnSectored logo has three components (for the traditional nonprofit, for-profit, government divide), but divisions exist on multiple levels–between community organizers, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, state workers, federal workers, big corporations, small businesses…the list is endless. There needs to be an organization–or several organizations–at the intersection of these disparate groups to help them talk to each other. Not a small task, but something that I think can be done.
UnSectored Partners like the DC Social Innovation Project and Hub DC, as well as Hubs around the world, are supporting organizations regardless of sector with the goal of encouraging social innovation and social value, and Partner StartingBloc DC supports individuals for careers for change in any sector. UnSectored can add to this infrastructure by connecting organizations and individuals to further strengthen cross-sector value creation. We can serve as a translator at the center of social value creation, communicating on behalf of all those pursuing social change.
These connections can be as simple as the posts on the UnSectored site–introducing new topics and ideas to a wide range of people. Or the connections can be in the form of off-line engagement, as I’ve introduced several of our Partners to each other since the site began. Or it could be through building a database of socially-inclined organizations through out the region, or by forming workshops based around common organizational problems. The paths we could go down are endless, but whatever we do needs to be straddling those lines between the interacting spectra of social value creation.
That leaves us not much closer to less-ambiguous goals. It’s a start, but I still feel a little lost in the creative tension of determining exactly how UnSectored can best support the work that you do. To help us figure that out, please come to the next UnSectored Talks on 2/27. Your ideas are invaluable and they will help me and the rest of the UnSectored community figure out how to best support the infrastructure needed for collaborative change. Help us do our work better, and translate a little more clearly.
(And thanks to Allison Basile of Hub DC for inspiring this post.)
Photo credit: mikecogh
Feedback helps ground our goals.
Whatever we do needs to be straddling those lines between the interacting spectra of social value creation.