Ashoka at the Clinton Global Initiative

I was laid up with a bad back all of last week and while I was it was very cool to see all the videos produced by the Ashoka Team at the Clinton Global Initiative.  The increasing use of video at Ashoka, and at citizen sector organizations overall, is wonderful to see. A year ago Ashoka's approach to video was very traditional - footage would be shot and, time-permitting, edited into something usable. Now the focus is on fast, one-take, minimally edited videos that can be shared live or very rapidly with our online audience. It's our immersion into social media that inspires this new approach - being involved in a real-time conversation with our supporters and peers creates an emphasis on timeliness and humanness. To this end people from different parts of the Ashoka family where profiled at CGI: Fellows, staff and supporters. It was the first-time we've emphasized video as a reporting tool from a live event like this. We have learnt a lot from this pilot and will be using this learning to better cover future events, including our Tech 4 Society conference in Hyderabad India in February next year, one of the biggest gatherings we have hosted.

These learnings include improved coordination between the production of videos and the conversation at and about the event. For instance, if we see an Ashoka Fellow or staff member saying something interesting or profound over their twitter feed we should try and grab them as soon as possible and get them to expand on those thoughts on video. This would more powerfully embed our videos into the conversation, rather than just using the twitter conversation as just an outreach platform.

The ongoing development of Ashoka's online communities and the clear interest and enthusiasm for stories from the Ashoka network has inspired this greater focus on developing timely content that can be shared with these communities. The understanding of the importance and benefits of this approach is becoming widespread across the organization, such that it barely requires me to suggest let alone implement these efforts. And that, to me, is the most exciting thing of all, evidence of the real culture-change taking place at Ashoka as we become more social, more participatory and more focused on storytelling.

Here are a couple of my favourite of our videos from CGI:

Ashoka Fellow Harmish Hande:


And a super-cute video with my boss, head of Global Marketing Beverly Schwartz:


You can see all the Ashoka CGI videos here.