My long-suffering mentor Calida asked me what I thought about our recent efforts to grow the EVOKE network’s capabilities. I know she and Alchemy have been concerned about our ability to scale up EVOKE operations, given the rising frequency and severity of ‘black swan’ negative events around the world. Rather than just giving Calida an immediate response, I said I would spend several days studying the situation. I have done so, and what I discovered is so profound that I feel you all need to hear it.
Our recruiting campaign has been successful. One week in, there are more than 8,671 new agents in the network! We have agents embedded in dozens of countries on 6 continents, representing a wide spectrum of knowledge, experience and cultures. This is a tremendous expansion of our reach and human capital. We are very fortunate in this regard, but I would like to ask for your help on two issues:
1) If you know of any potential agents on the continent of Antarctica, I urge you to recruit them to EVOKE. We require better coverage and analysis of the critical south polar region.
2) If an enterprising agent or team can compile a list of all the countries represented by one or more agents in EVOKE in a comment on this blog entry, I would be very grateful for their analysis.
The network is finding its voice. In support of the initial LEARN, ACT and IMAGINE missions, together we have posted over 3,235 blog entries, 1,099 photos and 278 videos. Our agents have impressively committed to shadowing over 300 unique social innovators in fields ranging from clean water to microfinance, working around the world from the South Bronx to South Africa. The range and scope of your ideas is large and growing, quite literally by the minute. This is wonderful progress! However, amid the great outpouring of your evidence, I observe that there are many agents whose voices we have not yet heard.
We are weaving a fabric of connections. Through thousands of comments, forum posts and messages that are flowing in the community like a deep, strong river. Through friendships, collaborations and challenges, and through generous sharing of your power votes to recognize each others’ contributions. Many of you are skilled communicators and social collaborators, highly visible and engaged; but also there are many agents who have yet to activate their powers. Again I will ask for your help:
3) EVOKE thrives on diversity of knowledge, experience and perspective; help us strengthen the network by opening yourself to new connections and new voices. Set a positive example by listening carefully for the hidden signals in between the lines. Step out of your comfortable shoes. Not all of us are seasoned ARG veterans and social media pioneers. Not all have broadband access. Not all are familiar with the customs and conventions of the so-called Ning platform. So see with new eyes. Listen with different ears. Value the subtle alongside the spectacular.
We are superstructing, building capabilities, infrastructure and tools. Did you know that we have guilds? A library, a reading group and a map? And Twitter lists, wikis, even games-within-games. Powerful developments! (But given the ongoing presence of CX I caution you to be vigilant as always).
We are bringing the world to the game, and the game to the world. Agents are doing more than just talking about social innovation. We are moving out into the world to understand, learn and document our firsthand experiences, like Agent Falconer in the Lynedoch Ecovillage. We are making contact with social innovators, and they are responding. Did you know that Agent Araguz received a message from visionary educator Roger Schank, that Agent Beare connected with Eve Annecke of the Sustainability Institute, and Agent Trott exchanged email with Derek Lomas of Playpower? And you, have you gone out, reached out, made contact?
So here is my conclusion, to Agent DeBello and to each of you. EVOKE is becoming…something more. Something greater than the sum of its parts. Here is what I believe: the network is coming alive. In the coming weeks, something amazing is going to happen. To us. Through us. Watch for it. And prepare.