In a series of posts, I’d like to share about Dreamfish in 2010, our activities and lessons learned, and what is unfolding in 2011. In 2010, with a lean team of volunteer contributors, we built key infrastructures with 250 members and over 60 projects. First, I’d like to tell you about the 2010 Dreamfish Fellows program and thank all the people who brought it to life. In 2010, the Dreamfish Fellows program was founded to support mid-career professionals to make an impact in Dreamfish. Our pilot group of Dreamfish Fellows has just completed a 6 month cycle of service, finishing their tenure on Friday, December 31.
Why Dreamfish Fellows Program?
Sietske, Helen and Nancy learning together. Maasai land, Kenya
The efforts to support one entrepreneur at the margin can be quite extensive, although hard to see from the outside. In twenty years of micro-entrepreneurship development, the biggest challenges the industry faces is that the human side of development is expensive and programs are hard to scale. In Dreamfish, we are changing the game with a peer-to-peer network organization.
To illustrate, here is one example of success. Recently a homeless Dreamfish member gained a paid contract job. This enabled the person to pay for rent and food and then get other contract work. Now, what most people saw was only the transaction of employment. They didn’t know the person was homeless or how tough this person’s life situation was, because those working with the person didn’t want to share a narrative that could potentially be self-defeating. But, here I want to make visible the work that Dreamfish Fellows do to help individual to create the support system they need to realize their dream. In this case, Dreamfish contributors gave:
- 16 hours of project management training
- 4 hours of financial coaching
- 10 hours of coaching in self-confidence, agency and interpersonal skills
- research and introductions to social services resources
- lodging and access to internet at another Dreamfish member’s house during contract job
One of our areas for improvement for 2011 will be to make visible and measure the impact of Dreamfish Fellows activities. Relational practices, “soft” technology of human and organization development, are often not perceived as creating value in small organizations, and especially “disappeared” in engineering organizations. But, research indicates that for both affluent and low-income entrepreneurs, supporting human development in individuals is correlated to economic success and venture resilience. (Scott McNeally of Sun and Nick Nesbitt of Kencall will also tell you that the course from their Stanford MBA program that most impacted their career was Interpersonal Dynamics, aka Touchy Feely, a course that founding Dreamfishers facilitate). Growth is built in connection.
Whereas most Fellowships are designed for college kids, this program is for self-directed life-long learners of any age.
Thanks to all our first Dreamfish Fellows who courageously went where no Fellow had gone before! They applied their decades of experience in human and organization development in a new virtual territory of network organization.
During their tenure, this first group carried out community development projects as they trained in online community management, network facilitation, social media, multicultural communication and distributed organization development.
Thank you to 2010 Dreamfish Fellows
Charlyn Fareed Green, entrepeneur coach
Dan Bashaw, web gardener
Kate McAlpine, coach and strategic planner
Jamie Talbott, leadership educator
Jim MacQueen, OD consultant
Monica Evans, theology student
As many of the 2010 Fellows are now seeking contract jobs, please reach out to them if you might want to work together.
How did the program start up?
There are many people who helped the program come to life, all social innovators! The seed of the idea started with Julie Anding, a Fielding alum, philanthropist and Director of Organization Development at a major corporation. Julie creatively thought about how to make as a big an impact as possible.
Marie-Anne Haour, now of Kiva en Francais, Elizabeth Montgomery, entrepreneur in Shenzhen, China and Lisa Abbott, marketer, then joined our effort to develop the first design of the program.
Fielding Graduate University‘s Katrina Rogers and Charles McClintock then collaborated on creating a partnership that both serves the learning community of Fielding and our mutual goals to create social impact. Julie Anding, Fielding alum, and her partner, Lisa Kornetsky, founded the Fielding Dreamfish Fellows Fund with generous donation of $10,000. Charlyn Fareed Green additionally donated $1500.
Dreamfish mentors, Nancy White, co-author of Digital Habitats, and Mary Ann Huckabay, Director of Women in Management program at Stanford, then contributed their teaching and coaching to Dreamfish Fellows.
Nnenna Nwakanma, Chair of Free Open Source Software Foundation for Africa, then stepped up to lead the community team in 2010 and support the first Fellows.
And, with the efforts of much love, the program was born!
What did the Fellows accomplish?
Each Fellow had a different focus, depending on their skills and learning interests. Micro-entrepreneurship development in Dreamfish involves development of three system levels – individuals, their projects, and the network of Dreamfish itself.
To give you insight into what this looks like, here are a few of their many contributions over the past months:
- coaching Dreamfish members in leadership and entrepreneurship skills
- facilitating in Dreamfish Pool
- welcoming new members
- making introductions between members
- managing our mailing lists
- facilitating strategic planning
- writing news
- building relationships across networks
- hosting conference call meetings
- hosting learning events
- designing processes
- contributing to strategic conversations
Special thanks to Fellows who are continuing on. Charlyn Fareed Green in Atlanta is coaching a social entrepreneur who serves rural women in Kenya. Kate McAlpine is facilitating strategic planning and using Dreamfish to support Caucus for Children’s Rights projects in Tanzania.
In order to design, staff and fund 2011 program, we are now in the process of gathering Fellows feedback and reviewing accomplishments and challenges. We, Dreamfish contributors, will then collaborate with Fielding and funders to implement next year’s program. In the future, the program could be expanded to financially support developer projects and operations projects as there are more funding partners to fuel the program.
How did we use the first funds? Fielding gave two awards to the first two Fellows chosen. We then used the funds to support Fellows with training and community management. In 2011, we are expanding funding to create a stronger foundation and hire full-time core staff. To kick off fundraising for 2011, Scott Turner is giving a matching pledge of $5,000 if we match the pledge by January 30th. Don Bushnell is hosting an event January 14th in which to rally support and has pledged $1,000.
How to get involved in 2011
If you are interested in helping to grow Dreamfish, I welcome you to get involved. Dreamfish operations are carried out by individuals in Dreamfish network.
To offer ideas, here are a few possible projects you might want to do…
- identify projects among membership in Dreamfish that would benefit from Fellows skills
- build tools to help Fellows do their work
- propose opportunities for Fellows program in 2011
- make a pledge
- help create an online fundraiser
- give airline miles to Fellows
- build the program for developers, creatives and business people
- Apply to become a 2011 Fellow. Watch for the application
Thanks again to all of you who helped to realize the 2010 Dreamfish Fellows program. I’ll keep you posted on new deveopments for the 2011 program. May we together further our dreams of work in 2011.