The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.
It Started with a Conversation
The story of the Elders started in a conversation between the entrepreneur Richard Branson and the musician Peter Gabriel. The idea they discussed was a simple one. In an increasingly interdependent world – a global village – could a small, dedicated group of independent elders help to resolve global problems and ease human suffering?
Leading the Digital Conversation
We were brought into this work with lead strategist, Jason Mogus from Communicopia who had been asked by the Elders to bring insights and direction to the group for how they could use online and digital tools to amplify their work. As the work evolved, it became clear that while the Elders had formidable personal and financial partners to develop the initial vision, they lacked the capacity and organization resources to implement and sustain a digital program that would complement their work.
Five Year Plan for a 500 Year Organization
The Elders were conceived as an organization that might last 500 years. Five hundreds years of leadership from a group of continuously evolving world leaders that would provide wisdom and council to the global community. We were working in year zero of this ambitious plan, and as digital strategists and thinkers, we were encouraging the Elders and the leadership of The Elders Foundation to consider putting the Internet at the centre of the organization for facilitating conversation and listening with the citizens who might be interested in engaging with their work.
Planning for Capacity and Sustainment
Beginning the process required of us to map out a five year plan that the leadership team could use to begin planning how the organization would structure itself to build capacity to begin, and sustain this work. This was our challenge. Build the five year plan. Working with an almost clean slate we began the process of mapping out the all needs a smart digital organization would need to make most effective use of online.
Whole View Planning and Collaboration
We turned these results into a mutli-phase, multi-year plan that mapped out costs, resources, and technology to support the strategic goals of listening, giving the Elders voice, action convening and amplify the impact of Eldership in the world. The plan included all aspects of digital, from organizational resources, talent, systems, platforms, partners, vendors, social networking, engagement and how to bring all these elements together to collaborate most effectively.
The Elders are now well on their way towards building the capacity of their organization and evolving the focus of their work. You can follow their progress online at The Elders Foundation.