NetHope Summit 2018

Connecting | Learning | Sharing — NetHope Global Summit 2018

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation
Like last year’s summit, the NetHope Global Summit 2018 was a meaningful experience. Nearly 550 humanitarians from around the world, each having an interest in leveraging technology to address organizational and human challenges, gathered in Dublin, Ireland, to connect, learn and share. (I suspect NetHope will emerge from the summit having evolved and strengthened as well.) The attendees were focused on improving the human condition through digital technology. I represented The Patterson Foundation (TPF) to affirm the depth of its partnership with NetHope and to host a dinner meeting of NetHope stakeholders to encourage learning and sharing.

As written in other blogs, TPF partners with NetHope for its work responding to international disasters. NetHope responds to disasters in which there is a need to re-establish or establish communications capabilities so that responders, humanitarian organizations, governments, and impacted citizens can begin communicating. NetHope does more than only disaster work, and the Summit was an opportunity to learn about the overall impact of the organization and its members.
connectingNetHope hosts the annual summit to bring its stakeholders together to create relationships, connections, and an environment of collaboration. 

NetHope’s Approach
“We enable cross-sector collaboration between nonprofits and innovative companies to develop better programs, mitigate risks, and scale benefits for greater impact in the communities in which we work.

Our collaborative model uses public & private partnerships to deliver information technology solutions to the developing world.”

NetHope understands that collaborative impact can improve the world. No one organization can do it alone. So, as the managing entity of a membership organization, NetHope goes to great lengths to create an environment where its members can develop meaningful relationships.

learningNetHope operates in the rapidly changing “digital space” so the Summit’s agenda included multiple plenary and breakout sessions giving all attendees the opportunity to grow in their knowledge of the industry. The opportunity to learn was in abundance. 

The underlying theme throughout the week was the belief that “Technology can transform the way we solve the world’s toughest humanitarian problems.
sharingBecause every attendee is committed to improving the human condition, each person ignored the competitive pressures to keep information to their self. The discussions I observed, and there were many, were open, candid, and seemed to operate from the premise that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” One organization cannot do it all, and only through collaboration can positive, real change be achieved.

On Monday night of the Summit, TPF cohosted a dinner with NetHope. This dinner was designed to bring NetHope stakeholders together, in a relaxed environment, so that “connecting, learning, and sharing” could occur. Given by the noise level in the room, I would say the objective(s) were achieved. With representatives from, Oracle NetSuite,, Microsoft Philanthropies, Okta, CISCO, CDW, Facebook, Qlik, Blackbaud, Amazon AWS, Pure Storage, Tableau, and Avanade, the dinner proved to be heavy in conversation and full of laughter. We suspect that the ultimate outcome of this dinner will be a greater collective impact in the humanitarian sector around the world.

As a funder, TPF has the flexibility, opportunity, and responsibility to use its operating model and financial resources to facilitate the creation of relationships—connective tissue—which is a requirement when seeking to align the shared interests of multiple organizations. We understand that trust takes time to materialize and that collaboration is generally an unnatural act between organizations. Dinners like the one TPF hosted at the NetHope Summit are intentionally designed to foster relationship building to develop trust so that collaborative work can emerge.



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