It's a simple concept: your organization has done a lot. You have created brochures, updated your website, produced radio advertisements, and developed a range of other communications content.
We want to help you take that next step. We want to help you continue improving how your organization communicates.
Did we mention it's simple?
1) You post your communications-based content to the site.
2) You get points based on each post / "claim".
3) We then monitor your activity and will help with more tailored assistance. Need help developing a strategy? Want to become better at photography?
We can help,and it begins by using the site.
Have questions? Skype message us intuitiveCS or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We think grass-roots civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations have a tremendous opportunity to improve -- outside the traditional development environment -- how they design and execute organizational communications strategies.
We want to be part of that process.
The core concept was a pilot launched in partnership with an NGO network in Cameroon, with about 20 local NGOs participating. It was highly experimental. It was fun, and at times, crude. But it worked, and the seed had been planted…what if this same concept could be scaled up to a fully automated system, launched globally?
We finally got tired of asking what if.
The intuitive site is an automated, online tool which allows an NGO / CSO to claim points for a wide variety of organizational communications activities. Members are awarded points for products they post to their profile (i.e., a brochure, video vignette, or radio PSA). Points are aggregated over time and advertised publicly. Top-scoring Members are rewarded with benefits such as exposure, networking opportunities, personal consultation and possibly in time, communications-related equipment and / or grant opportunities.
We've built the Challenge to offer several benefits:
Communications is a notoriously nebulous area of organizational operations. Quantifying certain elements of the process helps makes communications-related planning, decision-making, and reporting a much more concrete and institutionalized process.
Staff turnover and constant change is a significant problem in many small organizations. The Challenge helps build an automated organizational memory that tracks all communications-related history.
Sharp, active, constant organizational marketing is a central tenet of being relevant in today's development sector. The Challenge helps Members promote their work by building a credible online presence which will attract a well-defined audience.
We live in a world more and more defined by networks. Members will become progressively more linked with others interested in improving organizational communications.
Above all, our aim is to build an underlying entertainment value associated with the communications process. It's satisfying to set goals and meet those goals; to score more points in a month than the next Member. This was evident when we launched the pilot in Cameroon and we believe will be as ever-true with the full launch.
There are always limitations in quantifying things. But we've developed a widely encompassing – and ever-evolving – list of possible communications activities. We've assigned scores for each, which are made up of multiple sub-scores. The sub-scores attempt to capture the relative value of an individual activity, in relation to other activities. The sub-scores attempt to weigh different elements of inputs and potential reach of a particular product.
And yes, we recognize the limitations of quantifying an endlessly complex process and the fact that strategy alignment also determines the relative value of an activity. But don't get too hung up on the points. These are a means to an end. We have a longer-term outlook that focuses on also assigning value to activities in relation to individual strategies in a more realistic and nuanced manner. But more on that later.
Again, this is a recognized challenge. But consider the requirements of measuring the effectiveness of communications products for an individual organization, much less an entire network of Members. This approach would require an embedded, on-the-ground presence over an extended period of time. That's a different business model (and one not lacking its own limitations).
What we can do – what we've been committed since the platform’s inception – is provide concrete direction to our Members in how to develop a practical strategy, and as importantly, how to link activities with larger strategic communications objectives. Our Resources and Blog components will place a heavy emphasis on strategy. As well, there will be plenty of opportunities to score points based on strategy efforts. Remember, in any organizational development approach, Members are ultimately responsible for determining and evaluating what makes the most sense given their needs and objectives. The Challenge is a tool, not a panacea.
No, it's the opposite. All claimed activities are those which a Member has completed or has planned to complete. Central to the learning process is that Members make the best decisions about which communications strategies are most effective and which activities support those objectives. We can help guide this process, but ultimately, success rests with a Member's commitment and willingness to learn and adjust.
Yes, there are plenty of them. Sort of. We happen to think 1) these platforms continue to reinforce old approaches and narratives within the development sector. We'd like to tackle things from a different angle; and 2) beyond loaded mission statements, slick web designs and photo-friendly events, many of these platforms don't offer anything very tangible. That is, they rely heavily on information-sharing and networking, but rarely provide a more concrete structure or sustained approach to organizational learning.
No, and there never will be – we'd be stupid to even consider it.
We'll do our part to compile a wide range of technical communications resources, manuals, presentations, and other materials that can help our members. Have something you want us to post? Let us know.
We think it's important to sit back from time to time and think about the bigger picture. We'll keep the writing open, experimental. Let us know what you think.