The conditions under which most civil society organisations (CSOs) operate are changing fast: persistent poverty requires new approaches; rising inequality generates conflicts; climate change progresses unabatedly and biodiversity is under threat. Shrinking political space endangers CSOs’ programmes, the Internet disrupts traditional forms of communication; aging supporters and changing expectations of the younger ones challenge CSOs’ finance basis.
Instinctively CSOs often perceive these disruptions as threats, and indeed, if they don’t change fundamentally, many CSOs may find it difficult to survive. However, disruptions can also offer exciting opportunities for CSOs to improve their effectiveness and strengthen their impact. To take advantage of these opportunities, CSOs will have to embrace disruption and embark on a journey of change. The International Civil Society Centre helps CSOs face the reality that disruption is occurring, raise their knowledge of the changes needed and undertake these changes to secure their future relevance and impact. The website Disrupt&Innovate aims to help CSOs with sharing experiences of managing disruption and thoughts on the future of the civil society sector. In the 20 months of its existence the website has featured many high calibre contributors and attracted thousands of readers, but a wide debate within the civil society sector has not yet taken place.
Analysing the reasons for this the International Civil Society Centre found that many CSO innovators hesitate to share their perspectives and experiences widely. Usually innovators are in the minority within their organisation and have to advance their change projects very carefully in order to avoid triggering major resistance. On the other hand sharing experiences among innovators is a critical success factor: Innovations generally carry significant risks since they explore new ground where prior experiences are often lacking or scarce. Therefore, exchanging information and learning from others are of the utmost importance in order to reduce risks and increase the chances of success. CSO innovators have expressed their interest in sharing their experiences with others who are working in similar ways. However, given the sensitivities of change processes, they don’t want to do this in the public domain.
The Centre will therefore invite innovators from across the sector to come together for a 1.5 day meeting in Berlin to share their experiences and explore the need for a common platform of communication and cooperation. The meeting will take place in Berlin on 06 – 07 March 2017.
The Centre invited people who are either formally employed to drive innovation in their organisations or those who are in the process of running innovative projects.
The outcomes of our meeting will inform discussions at Vision Works the meeting of global Chairs and CEOs in April 2017.
- Save the date: 6 - 7 March 2017
- Agenda to follow soon