|I once said that in the near future, IT leaders will be known by who they partner with . In a world where cost pressure are high, to be effective efficiency will only get you part way there.|
Soon after the dot com bubble burst and technology companies were scrambling, as a new nonprofit CIO, I was faced with a stark reality: to shift IT from the back office to more strategic, mission moving" technology, we needed to work together across our sector. It was obvious that we were all trying to solve the same problem, how to bring technology out the last mile to the challenging areas in the world where our humanitarian and conservation programs were.
I wrote a paper, "Wiring the Global Village," that I shared with some colleagues at Cisco in the early spring of 2001 . The paper had two hypotheses:
- We had to be able to solve the “last mile” problems faster, cheaper, better if we did it together.
- We would be a much stronger partner to the technology companies, on whom we depend, if we came as a group rather than the one-off, hat-in-hand organizations we had been.
This became the basis for NetHope, an organization of 50 nonprofit IT leaders whose primary aim is to labor together, which is the root meaning of collaboration.