Reflections on the 100 Day Challenge

Marc Manashil's picture

We’ve now come to the close of the NetSquared 100 Day Challenge (April 18 -- July 31, 2012) and I’d like to share some reflections about the experience.

The Challenge had its roots in the Global Leadership Council (GLC) meetings held here in San Francisco last Spring, which resulted in a series of six commitments designed to translate what the NetSquared team heard from GLC members into concrete actions.

We started the challenge by looking at the vision of Netsquared and how we could more clearly communicate what we do to both new and existing constituents. Our Vice President, Billy Bicket, authored a draft vision statement, which we presented to the GLC members. Though we received a wide range of feedback, my major takeaway was the need to achieve greater simplicity in our communications, reserving more complex language for internal purposes, and providing our organizers a clear and concise foundation from which they could build. 

Though I don’t believe we’ve done enough to see the visioning process to its proper conclusion, we did integrate the feedback in a way that will hopefully be evident when you read the copy of the new NetSquared.org. We aimed for greater simplicity throughout the writing and editing process, dramatically stripping down unnecessary jargon from the old NetSquared and creating new pages that are much more clear, concise and to the point. I look forward to hearing your feedback on how we did, and how we can continually make our language easier to access.

After trying to tackle the NetSquared vision, we set out to address a series of challenges designed to increase connectivity among organizers and facilitate the flow of inspiration between groups. Our new Community Curator, Elijah van der Giessen, has hit the ground running, working with Anna Kuliberda to undertake some great community-building experiments, both large and small. Eli reviews these in his recent post. Perhaps the most exciting of our programmatic initiatives was the launch of the Regional Gathering Fund, which will support NetSquared camps around the world this fall.

The 100 Day Challenge also led us to more explicitly examine the connection between strengthening our external facing programs and improving the functioning of the Community-Driven Innovation (CDI) team itself. The reality of working across time zones, cultures, languages while forming new relationships-by-monitor can create barriers to the kind of open dialogue that is necessary for a built-to-last team. Though I believe we all feel some sense of shared purpose, our individual efforts and deliverables are not as linked together as they could be. Here we’ve made less progress, but I believe the hiring of our new Integrated Operations Manager, Frank Babbitt, will help bring together the pieces of the CDI puzzle in a more integrated way. Welcome, Frank!

In short, the 100 Day Challenge served as a catalyst. It provided a frame for listening, for testing assumptions, and for taking more informed action. Granted, we may have pursued some of these activities absent a formal “100 Day Challenge” anyway, but the exercise provided us a little push to address fundamental issues and a tight timeline for doing so. It certainly pushed me to think about how we could meet the challenges by a date certain, and that helped us produce some positive results.

So with that, we bring the 100 day challenge to a close and look ahead to the next 265 day challenge, which is to do everything possible, every single day of the year, to make the NetSquared experience a meaningful one for all who participate.

How have we been doing? As always, please leave a comment here or @MarcManashil.