Aspiration was honored and delighted to co-organize Innovation on the Lake, in partnership with Common Ground. The event brought together a group of 15 Ashoka Fellows along with experienced practitioners in social media and technological innovation for an interactive weekend on Lake Como. The three-day gathering was generously supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and took place at their Bellagio Center in Northern Italy.
The goal of the event was to help Ashoka grantees explore how they might apply social media strategies and tactics to support their respective projects in Africa, Asia, India, South America and the US, working on issues including human trafficking, climate change, rural development, government corruption, micro-lending and homelessness. The focus was on generating ideas and solutions to the specific problems that each of the attending Fellows work on and how their social change work can be accelerated with the use of innovative communications technologies. Each participant was invited to consider innovative ways in which to design and introduce network production models (aka "crowdsourcing") into their programmatic work.
A team of experienced social media practitioners facilitated sessions on a range of topics. The team gave generously of their time and passions in service to the Fellows, and included:
- Amy Sample Ward, Global Community Builder for NetSquared
- Anna Maybank, Coordinator of The Social Innovation Camp
- David Taylor, Online Director for Rainforest Action Network
- Dwayne Spradlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of InnoCentive, Inc.
- Lena Zuniga, Crocodyl Project Lead at Corpwatch and co-founder of Sula Batsu
- Nicholas Reville, Executive Director and co-founder of Participatory Culture Foundation
- Skylar Woodward, Lead API Developer for Kiva
The agenda was collaboratively designed by the participants and facilitators using Aspiration’s participatory event methodology.
Bellagio was a beautiful event venue, and meetings there have generated important social policy ideas for 60 years. Rockefeller generously provided the resources necessary to convene a productive and transformative event.
Ashoka is an international network of social innovators. Fellows are vetted through an exhaustive process designed to validate the scalability of their innovations. Each of the Fellows in attendance had been nominated by Ashoka as either already using interactive media tools as the platform for their social innovation, or eager to explore the potential of these tools for their work.
Aspiration thanks Rosanne Haggerty at Common Ground for inviting us into such a fruitful and collaborative project, and we hope to create similar events in the future.