Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is Globalization Making Us More Tolerant?

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
Growing up in the U.S. with foreign parents was like getting a glimpse into other universes. Each summer, when we would visit Israel, I would marvel at the artists on MTV Europe -- who was Robbie Williams? And why wasn't TLC on? Every four years, my Chilean father would hole up in the basement watching the Mundial on Univision. These cultural phenomenon, which were huge in other parts of the world, were completely disconnected from Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Nowadays, music, sport and culture spread easily across the globe. Everyone knows Shakira. The biggest hit of 2012 was Gangam Style, which was sung by a Korean artist in Korean. Memes such as the Harlem shake were recreated by YouTube enthusiasts everywhere. And the American team in the World Cup is followed closely by fans from home.
Do these universal elements of culture make us more tolerant? Can we really look at cat videos and feel like we have more in common than ever before? What about increasing protectionism, nationalism, and rising Islamophobia?
I'd like to suggest that these are two sides of the same coin. As our world becomes more closely intertwined, we want to hold on to the elements of our identity that define who we are. That is what makes today's globalised success stories so wonderful- they are uniquely and identifiably local.
As I head to Washington DC now for the Plus Social Good Gathering at the UN Foundation, I am excited to meet change makers from around the world, all working to make their communities a bit better. I want to learn more about them -- who they are, how they work -- and to adapt these best practices in a way that works for my own environment. Because in this globalised world, the local element matters more than ever.

Social Good at London Technology Week

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
Yesterday, I moderated a panel on the role technology plays in creating social impact. The Tech+SocialGood panel was held at Google Campus and organised as part of London Technology Week and Plus Social Good, a joint initiative of the UN Foundation, Mashable, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other notable partners.
The four panelists represented academia, social enterprise, non-for-profit organizations, and corporations. The panel featured Christian Busch, Associate Director of the Innovation Lab at the London School of Economics; Diana Verde Nieto, Founder of Positive Luxury; John Perkins, Better Future Programme Manager at British Telecoms; and Matt Kepple, the CEO of Makerble.
A key theme that emerged from the panel was that social impact initiatives that use technology were most successful when they enabled existing human behaviour. Busch discussed the need for an "anthropological" approach to tech for good initiatives -- understanding a group's needs before implementing a solution. Perkins mentioned the importance of the local context and how, even though we are more global than ever before, the role of the community is still paramount. He also discussed the stark realisation that 4.4 billion people do not have access to the Internet, and that we will not become truly global until that statistic changes.
The panellists also highlighted the opportunities and challenges associated with technology. Kepple spoke of his experiences using tech trends from the private sector, such as personalization and gamification, to inspire individuals and encourage them to donate. Nieto discussed the importance of trust and the ways that technology can enable or hinder it. On the one hand, technology provides greater transparency yet, on the other, issues like the plethora of fake profiles reduce trust.
Below is a Twitter Summary from the event. Please continue the conversation through the hashtags #techgood #socialgood
Tech+Social Good, cant wait to find out more! ‪#techgood ‪@ChrisSandbox ‪@DianaVerdeNieto ‪@JohnP_Connected ‪@mattkepple ‪@queenbee101
Consumer choice is power - we have the power to change the world with our purchases. ‪@dianaverdenieto
‪@DianaVerdeNieto "It's key to capitalize on millennial peer to peer communication for scaling a business"
It for the first time allows us to really hold people accountable - social media gives us greater transparency in businesses
"Technology is a platform which lets people become what they can become. We can empower locally and scale quickly" ‪@ChrisSandbox ‪
"Democratizing processes and increasing ‪#transparency + peer-to-peer accountability is happening more and more" ‪@ChrisSandbox ‪
If you don't like something change it, holstee manifesto still valid? ‪#techgood ‪@ChrisSandbox ‪ ...
"Old linear approach of do well ($$$) then do good (‪#philanthropy) is increasingly becoming a parallel approach" ‪@ChrisSandbox
'Make the impact visible and understand what drives human behavior.' ‪@mattkepple ‪#techgood ‪@plus_socialgood
‪@DianaVerdeNieto "growing a bottom line and being sustainable should not be decoupled." ‪@plus_socialgood ‪#techgood ‪#socialgood
Everyone has the ability to change the lives of the developing world. Make better choices." ‪@DianaVerdenieto on sustainability @ ‪#techgood
‪@mattkepple on gamification approach to charity donations inspires desire to give in a whole new way ‪@plus_socialgood ‪#techgood ‪#socialgood
Sustainability is not incompatible with profit. It is all about growth in the long term.' ‪@dianaverdenieto ‪#techgood ‪@plus_socialgood
Key is solving behavioural problems through technology
It's the first time in history that the social structures in place that promotes accountability in leadership @ChrisSandbox
4.4 billion people still lack access to the internet, @BTBetterFuture is trying to change that. @JohnP_Connected
‪#Technology should be a fit for purpose platform for social solutions rather than be fancy for fancy's sake

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tech+SocialGood Event in June

I'm excited to be organising this event for London Technology Week on behalf of Plus Social Good!

+SocialGood unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: The power of technology and new media to make the world a better place. We would like to bring this spirit to London Technology Week. +SocialGood is a joint initiative of the UN Foundation, Mashable, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other notable partners.

For London Technology Week, we will be hosting a panel and networking event to showcase the role that technology plays in improving the state of the world. We invite entrepreneurs, technologists, and social innovators to join us.

+SocialGood unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: The power of technology and new media to make the world a better place. We would like to bring this spirit to London Technology Week. +SocialGood is a joint initiative of the UN Foundation, Mashable, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other notable partners.

For London Technology Week, we will be hosting a panel and networking event on June 17th
at Google Campus to showcase the role that technology plays in improving the state of the world.

Please use the hashtag #techgood when referring to the event.

Confirmed panelists include:

- Anna Easton, Head of BT Connected Society

- Matt Kepple, Founder of Makerble

- Diana Verde Nieto, CEO of Positive Luxury

- Christian Busch, Associate Director of Innovation and Co-Creation Lab at the London School of Economics

Moderated by Noa Gafni, Plus Social Good Connector

To register, please go to

Friday, March 7, 2014

5 Social Good Stories You Might Have Missed

Here is a round up of this week's top social good stories.

Mobile Money for the Unbanked
The GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme today releases its 2013 State of the Industry Report. The report contains key findings and insights on the growth of the mobile financial services sector, including mini case studies and mobile money best practices. This year, for the first time, the MMU State of the Industry Report has been extended to include mobile insurance, mobile credit and mobile savings services in addition to mobile money services. Read more

Twitter Can Detect HIV Outbreaks in Real Time
A team of UCLA researchers found that Twitter and other real-time social media can be used to track HIV outbreaks and drug behavior, potentially helping detection and prevention efforts. The team's study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine and conducted through the Center for Digital Behavior at UCLA, suggests a link between geographic outbreaks in the U.S. and tweets with phrases that indicate drug-related and sexually risky behavior. Read more

Leadership that Challenges Corruption
During Chinese New Year celebrations just a few weeks ago, I walked through the streets of New York as colorful confetti mingled with white snowflakes: beautiful fragments, a fluttering, harmonious welcome to the Year of the Galloping Horse. Indeed, Acumen is moving apace. January brought a trip to India; February, Pakistan. Both experiences have reinforced a sense of optimism amidst global challenges. Read more

Is Your Non-Profit Really Ready to Use the Lean Start Up?
So, you’ve read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. You’ve been following Beth Kanter’s outstanding blog. And you recently attended a Lean for Impact gathering in your community. You may have even read my SSIR piece on what it really takes to achieve scale in the social sector. You’re fired up, and ready to radically transform your nonprofit into a living embodiment of lean principles and to conquer breakthrough change. YOLO! Read more

What if Our Magazines Showed Modern Slavery?
Even in 2014, the rights of women and girls are severely threatened by sex trafficking, slavery, child marriage and other violations around the world. International Women's Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8, continues to spread awareness and garner support — and change — for women across the globe. Read more

Investing in Women

With International Women's Day only a few days away, it's important to assess where we stand in terms of gender equality. How are women and girls faring globally? The statistics are striking; whilst the issues themselves vary from the least developed to most developed countries, it is clear that we are under-investing in women across the board.
To read the rest of the article, please go to:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Teaching at General Assembly London

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching two workshops at General Assembly London. Please join me for a Content Marketing Workshop on March 10th and a session on Creating Marketing Campaigns with Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine on March 13th. For more information, go to

Social Media for Social Good: Going Beyond Facebook and Twitter

International organizations, non-profits and social enterprises are using social media to raise awareness, mobilize volunteers and source donations. But many organizations rely heavily on Facebook and Twitter whilst shying away from newer social media platforms. How can non-profits leverage social media for social good with Instagram, Pinterest and Vine?

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post. To read the full post, click here.