Ory and I are in Camden, Maine as part of the Pop!Tech Fellows program for 2009. It’s a time with exceptional individuals building companies that are trying to do the right thing, and taught by a faculty of world-class experts in everything from marketing to finance and social media. (more of my thoughts on the program here)
It’s in the DNA
One of the exercises that Cheryl Heller put us through was to answer the question, “What can nobody buy you say?” When you start dissecting that question, it turns out to be rather complicated. You quickly realize that you’re not some fragile, unique flower and that it’s quite easy to replicate what you do.
So, what can you say? What’s part of your DNA that no one else can claim?
We boiled it down to two things, our story and our community. No one else can claim your stories or your achievements, nor can they claim the unique community that has embraced you and grown up around what you do. In essence, the DNA ends up being the stories of the early members and the community around it – impossible to replicate.
In the early stages of a new organization, which Ushahidi represents, it’s easy to get caught up in these stories and the people who embody them. What happens years down the road? How can the next evolution of the organization say something that no one else can say for their current time?
Our answer is that we need to create ways for ownership of the community and the organization available to others. To create a framework wherein new entries to the team can own their part and create their own stories. We’ve always been a very open and embracing organization, so I think we can do this.