Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

This is the first in what I intend to be a series of posts on the due diligence one should do before beginning a new enterprise.

The reality is that there are many hundreds and thousands of organizations [non-profit and for-profit] around the world today that are already engaged on the issues of poverty, development, sustainability, etc...

While new ideas, people, energy, resources are obviously needed, we should be careful to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts by -- whenever possible -- replicating, learning from and partnering with successful efforts that already exist.

Here are some questions I believe one should investigate prior to committing to the creation of a brand new project or organization.

(1) Does anything like this currently exist? If so, is your endeavor needed? What added value are you bringing? What can you learn from/replicate from what already exists?

(2) Who can you partner with that is already in action on this?

(3) Any infrastructure -- any undertaking, network, NPO -- requires resources. This game is about social
entrepreneurship. How will your venture fund itself? How will it be self-sustaining? This facet can not be an afterthought. Sustainability has to be designed into your project from the beginning.

These comments are NOT intended to keep anyone from being in action. It is an interesting idea which likely has some merit. The comments are
intended to help you refine it and make it as powerful and successful as

I intend to follow this post with some concrete places one can begin to find the answers to these questions.

I am also interested in people adding to this list of questions.

Also - any suggestions for "tags" that would make this post easy to find?

Views: 48

Comment by Ithamar Samuel Eshpar on March 9, 2010 at 9:16pm
Ayala, this is always such a dilema - should one create a new organization or join an existing one?
Creating a new organization seems so hard, almost heroic! You get to be a leader and funder, and the organization is tailored to your specific goals - but you are one small organization with little funds and probobly not much influence, at least in the beginning.

On the other hand, joining an established organization gives you more power to change, and the feeling that you're a part of something big - but you have less control over the acts that you're part of, and if you want to move ahead inside the organization you'll have to get into politics in no time

I guess there must be a third way, maybe a global network of small local enterprizes. That way we'll have each entrepreneur free to act as they thinks is right, but they'll all be connected to eachother through the network, so that when they need ideas or collaboration, they'll have some people to turn to.

Hey, I think I just realized what EVOKE is hehehe
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 9, 2010 at 9:27pm
Yes, pros and cons to both and it's important to be as honest with oneself as possible when analyzing. Certain people [myself include] love the heady rush that comes with creation; other's thrive when they can fit into a larger structure. There is no one right way. But it's important to have an honest a****sment of the possibilities: and to remember that resources are limited and we want to leverage them for maximum results.
Comment by Nick Heyming on March 9, 2010 at 9:38pm
What if you try working with the establishment, but keep running into ego trippers and bureaucracy? Sometimes a true leader needs some space to be able to create massively influential new systems...
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 9, 2010 at 9:43pm
@Nick: oh, absolutely. I am reminded of the story of how Dr. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank. He never intended to; he began as an economist going to bankers and trying to convince them to cast a wider net in the clients they were willing to lend to. The banking system refused. So he did it himself. I just think it's essential to try to tap existing resources, structures first. At least one must know what's out there and learn from it.
Comment by Ithamar Samuel Eshpar on March 9, 2010 at 9:50pm
The paradox is that if you create your own organization, you'll soon find yourself CREATING the bureaucracy, and sometimes, being "the leader", you start ego tripping yourself...
Comment by Nick Heyming on March 9, 2010 at 9:51pm
Thats why we constantly need new organizations...
Comment by Murray Britton on March 11, 2010 at 12:47pm
Ayala Its like you read my mind. I began thinking along these lines awhile ago when i was trying to think of what would really be the most beneficial project for me to put my energy into, and i came up with the concept of an umbrella organization that would work with existing NGO's to pool resources and focus efforts, no matter what the problem their tackling is.

Check out my post at http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/imagine1-72

Ithamar you are exactly right about Evoke, thats why i got so excited to hear about this game. It provides a much needed platform for social innovators. What i'd like to see is a collaboration platform for established NGO's. Anyone know of one? An NGO for NGO's so to speak?

There are so many people working on so many great things, i think a very important task for us social innovators is working out solutions to the obstacles that are standing in the way of the already established organizations.
Comment by Murray Britton on March 12, 2010 at 11:46pm
Ayala meet Chelsea
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 13, 2010 at 2:37am
@murray the link to chelsea is broken, can you try again?


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