Some insights from Web3 Futures programme, and the next steps to help nonprofits not to be left behind by developments in how the internet is evolving.
Where we are
Huddlecraft and Catalyst have just hosted 5 nonprofits through a ‘Web3 Futures’ programme.
This has been a bit of an experiment in how we can assess the value of emerging technologies for the nonprofit sector, and it’s been an interesting one!
What we did
One of our intentions going into this was to combine both the depth of content knowledge that’s needed for something as new and complex as Web3, with the potential of peer learning that we specialise inat Huddlecraft. So we started by setting Matt Weatherall (long-term Huddelcrafter and Incubation Lead at RADAR) off on a Web3 content curationsprint. We then recruited two Web3 mentors - people that have knowledge of Web3 that could support our nonprofit learners to see and assess its potential for them. Enter: Madhuri Rahman, Head of Ecosystem Engineering at Impact Scope, and Warren Bramley, strategic designer and lecturer in Organisational Design and Network Thinking for Social Impact at Loughborough University. They offered different and complementary perspectives on Web3, whilst both bringing learning design and content curation skills to the table too.
We then offered 5 nonprofits an honorarium of £1000 each to join us on the 3-day immersion.
We designed a process that was loosely structured around a simple futures tool: the ThreeHorizons. The first day was all about the case for change: what are the pressures that mean the way we’re doing things currently aren’t fit for the future? The second focused on our visions for the future, both collective and organisational. And the third day was about creatively exploring the areas of potential we sensed in the transition from where we are now and where we want to get to. To give you an idea, here’s an overview of the objectives and outputs of each day:
Day 1: The case for change
- Build relationships & set a co-learning culture
- Build a shared understanding of Web3 principles
- Identify the case for change for the sector and the pain points of each nonprofit
- Shared map of the case for change
- Needs assessment for each nonprofit
Day 2: Future visions
- Gain inspiration from seeds of the future in the present
- Create space to dream
- Get clearer about what our vision for the future looks and feels like
- Bank of innovative Web3 case studies
- Organisational and collective visions
Day 3: Creative transitions
- Define areas of opportunity and potential
- Create ‘design fictions’ that illustrate the potential of Web3 for each organisation
- Reflect on the process
- Web3 opportunity areas for each nonprofit
- 1-2 ‘design fictions’ for each nonprofit
We have emerged from the immersion with a wealth of learning; from the nonprofits and about the process, too.
Each nonprofit developed a ‘design fiction’ - an illustration of what realising the potential of Web3 might look like in their organisation’s future - and an organisational ‘Three Horizons map’ to support them to picture their possible transition pathway. We explored different Web3 principles and technologies, and the design fictions that emerged ranged from full structural transformations to experimental funding mechanisms. If you want to find out more about these, join us at our showcase event on June 20th, where our nonprofit participants will be speaking about their experiences!
When it comes to the learning process, the feedback we’ve received has been really positive. Participants found it useful to learn alongside other nonprofits, connecting and learning through conversation and comparison. It was felt that - as a learning model - it was much more valuable than a report - to explore use cases live with experts and talk through how to apply it to their own contexts. “This was definitely a better way to learn, absorb, create, and challenge thinking”, said one participant.
Of course, we have lots of learning about what we’d do differently if we were to run it again, and participants provided suggestions for improvement, such as including more critical perspectives onthe risks of Web3, integrating more examples of mainstream charities and nonprofits already using Web3 technologies to get a more nitty gritty picture of the process of change, and ongoing coaching support for implementation.
One of our key considerations going into this work was how useful this process can be for the wider nonprofit sector. We want to explore this further with anyone interested. So if you’re curious about Web3 for your nonprofit, or just fancy hearing more about what we’ve learnt from all this, come along to our online Showcase event on June 20th, 2.30 pm- 4 pm UK time.
We look forward to sharing more as and when!
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