The engine room’s just wrapped up our first, in-person team meeting of 2013, and we wanted to take the opportunity to recap our 2012, and give special nods to advisors and colleagues who made it such a great one.
The advocacy program is up and running thanks to the hard work of Susannah Vila, our advocacy support manager. We are also excited to share the news that as of this month, Christopher Wilson has left his job at the UNDP`s programme on governance data to take on a full-time role at the engine room as the applied research manager. Growing these two program streams to be mutually reinforcing is a key focus as we move ahead, and we expect to see even more projects that balance research and support in 2013.
Though we’ve closed the door on 2012, several of our projects from last year are sprouting lives of their own and will be growing well into the future. The Social Tech Census, which drew on networks and experts across the globe to compile a repository of resources for advocacy is now in live beta. We will be calling for wide community engagement to make it more comprehensive, and will be adding new functionality in the coming year.
The research team is wrapping up the first pilot project of TechScape and we are learning more about the practical using of in-depth organizational assessments to improve capacity development. Data collected in this and future TechScape assessments will contribute to the creation of the first global data set on civil society tech use. As we move on to the next pilots, work to refine methods and build local research networks, we will be sharing results and looking for conversation partners. Get in touch if you want to talk more about how TechScape assessments and data fits into your work.
Though we spent a fair amount of time hunched over laptops, we also had the pleasure of meeting up with many of our favorite peers at events. We made it to Google’s Internet at Liberty, the Information Security Coalition working meeting, the Global Voices Summit in Kenya, Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption conference in Brazil, the Oslo Freedom Forum, and a litany of other fun side-events, get togethers, and nights on the town.
Talking about ideas and networking at events is all fun and good, but building an organization is hard. As we learned lessons about the process, we have done our best to share our experiences through our blog. As we grow and learn, we have been fortunate to have many advisors (several of them quickly becoming friends) who supported us by sharing the things they’ve learned through the years.
Advisors and friends who made this year possible: Allen Gunn of Aspiration Tech, Kristin Antin of New Tactics for Human Rights, Brett Solomon of Access, Carol Waters of Internews, Katrin Verclas of NDI, Miriam Rau of Oxfam Novib, Sam Gregory, Chris Michael, and Bryan Nunez of Witness, Becky Hurwitz of the MIT Civic Media Lab, Mary Joyce of the Global Digital Activism Data Set, Jillian York of EFF, Emily Jacobi of Digital Democracy, and Jonathan Eyler-Werve.
It was a formative year for us here at the engine room. Thank you to all who have been a part of it!