Open letter to Australia’s social innovators

Hi everyone,

I wanted to touch base with you because I know how much everyone is keen to see and promote socially innovative activities which directly lead to great outcomes. I wanted to make sure you were aware of the kickstarter campaign that Melina Chan is running to set up a social enterprise cafe in Battambang, Cambodia. It’s amazing stuff.

From the site:

“The cafe building already hosts a successful grassroots peer-learning program and co-working space that serves as a base for fledgling film, dance and community development groups…With funds from a Kickstarter campaign we’ll be able to smarten up our space, procure a fine looking refurbished espresso machine, and train and salary four local staff to run a thriving ideas cafe.”

It’s Christmas time and our bank balances are all a little lower than we would like, but it’s important that we help make projects like this a reality. Melina is in Cambodia, actually making this stuff happen and as you can see when you watch the video, is already making a huge impact on peoples lives in Battambang. Whilst your help in sharing and informing your friends is worthy, what is really need to make this project a reality is cash…cold hard cash.

Let’s bond together, donate what we can and really help make this Cafe in Cambodia something the social innovation community here in
Australia can be proud of.

Kindest regards,

Steve Hopkins

My thoughts on Jumo

Jumo launched recently, and there has been a lot of apparent negative commentary and comment on the new site that is designed to connect individuals and organisations working to change the world. I wanted to put a quick post up to outline a few of the services strong points, and why we should perhaps delay our judgement and see what happens to the service.

Let’s not forget that Chris Hughes is behind Jumo. He is on the UNAIDs commission (which is a joint committee of 17 people from around the planet who discuss how to make HIV prevention programs more effective. He also ran the Obama Campaign social networking/grassroots initiatives.

Those who say Jumo doesn’t understand how NGO’s work, are perhaps coming from an egoic standpoint where it doesn’t work for NGO’s the way they perceive them to work. There are millions of NGO’s out there and within that sample there will be large variation between the different groups of people running them. Many people questioned Kiva too, once upon a time.

One of the other points of question, which I myself have raised, is about the integration with Facebook. It seems like the site is a facebook clone, in many ways. It’s easy to ask the question (as I have earlier today) why this is so different from Facebook causes…or just Facebook in general. Until, you consider that Hughs was also involved in founding Facebook with Mark Zuckerber…so he knows how easy it is to connect to that and probably has a good idea about where the Facebook ecosystem is heading.

Finally, of the few things I’ve read today about Jumo, it seems like there are people signing up and organisations that are filling out their profile (even though, from all reports, that incredibly painful to do at the moment). The best proof is in the metrics.

The internet is a big place and continues to be fragmenting; there are more and more social networks popping up everyday. Even though Facebook is the strongest, we can’t forget that services like Ning, Tumblr and Twitter that are still flourishing. Tumblr, still, is one of the most visited services on the internet.

I agree, and still think, that Jumo hasn’t totally identified it’s value proposition for it’s users, except that it’s in a space lot’s of people care about. I think the close integration with Facebook has meant they have a few features which are duplicates (like messages, wall posts etc etc) but on the whole, there is something there that is going to help more people connect with others working towards making a difference in their chosen fields. And that is something that’s worth experimenting with. Let’s see how the sit evolves.