Sunday, March 28, 2010

Career-change cocktail banter

Yay! My perpetual state of career transition over the past couple of years has ended. I am now firmly in the saddle at Evolutionize.It, a new social enterprise I have started in Belgium. I suddenly find that I need to talk about myself differently in social situations. Each time I do, I end up reinventing it just a bit. I guess it depends on my confidence level that day. That's normal, right?

If you and I were face to face over a drink this week and you asked me what I'm up to these days, I might say something like this:
Well... I am basically back at the beginning. I left Uganda after 10 years of community development work and now I'm starting something brand new.

All I really have are some unproven wacky ideas for making an impact how our global development system works, and I am trying to develop a business around them that can actually pay people salaries.
Hmmm... doesn't sound very positive does it? True as those statements may be, on most days I'm actually really excited about what I'm working on. So if I was feeling more confident that day, I might reword myself:
I have just started a new social enterprise that is designing collaboration systems for social changemakers. I'm having lots of fun with it.
If we chatted a bit longer you'd probably ask why I am in Belgium (everyone asks that), and I'd give you the abridged version of our family context. You may or may not get the version that includes the unofficial separation from the husband who has the job that brings us back here. (Summary: we plan our lives collaboratively, we just don't sleep under the same roof.)

When you ask if we are in Belgium to stay, I'd mention (because I am determined to talk this into reality) that our hope is to move on to Asia in about 2 years. The kids and I would love to go to Thailand, if I can work that out somehow. A colleague of mine is thinking about going back to Uganda at around the same time, and we have some ideas for a project we'd like to start in multiple countries, to create a system for changemakers in under-connected parts of the world to collaborate with each other. If their dad can find a job within a 2 hour flight radius, our family can function well. It's worked well like that before.

If you seemed interested in my line of work, I might tell you that while in Belgium for these two years I am learning alot about social enterprise in Europe, experimenting with the design of online and offline collaboration events, and getting to build on what I learned from some of the mistakes I made starting my first social enterprise back in Uganda.

You might be curious about what happened to that when I left Uganda. If so, I would probably share something about new management structures taking over, and that it's been very hard for me to walk the fine line between supporting them and letting go of control.

After a long process, Life in Africa USA's 501(c)3 charity status in the USA has finally been granted (Yay!) The Ugandan management team have recently realized (on their own) that the new structure in place upon my departure from Uganda just isn't working for them. They have defined the structure they would like to have and are already embarked upon administrative changes that they feel will better enable the work they would like to do. Just last week, they constructed a darkroom for a community mushroom growing project to help finance the LiA center's expenses and raise start-up funding for additional community based projects. That's exciting for me to see.

Now mind you, it's rare that we would manage to cover all of these things over drinks - I tend to prefer asking questions to talking about myself in social situations. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I enjoy learning about all sorts of people and their view of the world.

In fact.... now that you already know the career and life-change skinny on me, let's just skip that part of the banter when you and I get a chance to see each other and get to the good part. You!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Writing & righting my wwworld

Over the past few months I've been working on development of a couple of blogs, each targeted at a different audience. I wanted to let folks know more about what and where those writings are, so you can choose which - if any of them - you'd like to follow.

My party @ christinaswwworld blog feeds directly into my facebook notes. It is the most personal of my blogs, about my life as a global gypsy and some of the things I've learned.
  • If you are following me on Facebook, what I post at the christinaswwworld blog will appear in your stream automatically. You don't need to leave facebook to read those new entries.

  • I also share this blog with some friends in the blogger community, that I've made while learning about personal blogging from them over the past couple of years.

  • New posts are additionally tweeted out to @ChristinasWorld followers at Twitter, and appear in the twitterfeed that's published at http://Evolutionize.It .

Evolutionize It: change through collaboration, is a new blog that I have started to chronicle progress in building the new social enterprise that I have recently co-founded in Brussels, Belgium.
  • New posts at the Evolutionize It blog will NOT post automatically to my facebook account.

  • I have, however, just started an Evolutionize It fan page at facebook, and will crosspost new blog entries there. So if you'd like to follow the chronicles of building Evolutionize It via facebook, please Become a Fan of Evolutionize It and enjoy reading about some of our current and upcoming collaborative adventures in the global social change sector.

  • New posts at Evolutionize.It will also be tweeted by Evolutionize It board members @ChristinasWorld and @liadavide

  • If you'd like to subscribe to follow the Evolutionize It blog by email or in a blog reader service, please visit http://Evolutionize.It and subscribe in the top right column.

Internet4Change is another blog for an Evolutionize It project I've been working on sporadically since September. I have slowed down on it recently, but it is by no means a dead project.
  • Watch for new posts about online collaboration 4 social change strategies on Twitter @ChristinasWorld and/or @liadavide, or

  • subscribe with a reader to the Internet4Change feed, and visit the main site now and again to see what's changed.

  • A further developed Internet4Change site launch is planned for later this year, in conjunction with the launch of a guide to the collaboration in the online social change space that I'm working on with @NurtureGirl from

Finally, you're all invited to participate with me in the World Bank's Urgent Evoke game between now and 12 May.
  • It's an online game that's designed to teach world-changing collaboration skills in less than 6 weeks,

  • it's open for everyone on the world wide web to play.

  • I'm still figuring it out, and would love to see you there!
So there you go... it's up to you to decide how much or how little of what I'm writing you'd like to follow. Now you know where it is if you want it :-)

Happy Spring!