Knowledge and Technologies for Learning and Action Network: Towards NGOs Great Transformation

Knowledge and Technologies for Learning and Action Network: Towards NGOs Great Transformation

Juan de Dios García (Nomadic Network for Social Innovation, Spain)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5974-2.ch001


The experience gained over the last 20 years of working with the Third Sector (in different organizational, sectoral, and territorial areas), as well as the study of literature, invites us to reflect and analyze, in a world which is complex, uncertain, and with plenty of information and knowledge, on the need to produce a new innovation and transformation strategy. This “Great Transformation” will allow NGOs to have a greater global impact thanks to the development of new approaches, new relational models and the creation of value with their environment and stakeholders. To this end, this chapter analyzes and makes a concrete proposal about the role that technology (especially the Internet) and social networks can play in the co-production and distribution of knowledge and the role of participation in communities to learn and innovate, but in order to move forward in this challenge, requires addressing the difficulties and reluctance in the NGOs, which are not only technological, but conceptual, structural, relational, and cultural. As stated in the conclusion of the chapter, the key to success lies in the purpose and vision of what is to be achieved rather than on the technology used.
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Interesting Era For Ngos: Knowledge And Complexity

We are witnessing in all continents a social construction of a complex and dynamic reality, the configuration process of the Third Sector, another socioeconomic sector which is not the mere sum of realities but a mixture that creates and multiplies agents and people with different identities, experiences, projects, thoughts, models and methodologies that do not always converge, which collaborate as well as contradict each other. In the words of philosopher Morin (2010), experiences that are a ” creative effervescence, a multitude of local initiatives in the direction of economic, social, political, cognitive, educational, ethnic regeneration or reform of life ” .

This building responds to a world that is changing at a speed unknown to date and with possible expanded options. A world (Marsahall McLuhan 's Global Village) which is capable of producing as much or more knowledge than the entire knowledge generated over the past 5,000 years, doubling the information available every three days.

This reality creates in our society and organizations a certain sense of complacency and self-sufficiency. We see some encouraging progress, such as Bio and Nanotechnology (easier, comfortable and longer life); widespread digitization, social networks and global media (more information available, new business models); widespread recognition of the social and civil rights (bigger ability to monitor and denounce inequalities and injustices); recognition of talent, creativity, social innovation and the role of people (new approaches and solutions to problems and alternative to others); new approaches and socio-economic models (hydrogen revolution); promotion of alternative energy (wind, solar), Social and Solidarity Economy, promotion of public policies for gender equity, etc.

This optimistic vision is complemented and contrasted with a less exciting reality, that is, with a model of existence “comprising more castaways than passengers”(Galeano, 1971). We live with certain problems that threaten the survival of the planet and sustainable development as societies - where the Third Sector acts in specific ways, where knowledge and technology seem unable to bring value of transformation. It seems that we are drowning in information but we “are hungry for knowledge” (Morin, 1999) with the risk of becoming giants of information but dwarves of knowledge that provide solutions of value and innovations of social impact.

We live, as the Chinese proverb says, an “interesting era” (“May you live in interesting times”), space and time full of obstacles and complexities that are fixed in the imagination and in the analysis and that in recent years has been lived as a multiple crisis; as a “Global Policrisis” or even as a crisis of a civilization model, according to some prestigious minds. Crises of different nature; ecological, of survival or demographic, political and institutional, social or co-existence, of ethics or values, of the urban or rural models, that ultimately adds up to a crisis of the civilization -”A mental and moral unpleasant feeling settles in the heart of material welfare”- (Morin, 2011).

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