Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lessons from Riga | Networks are about personal relations and trust

There are so many interesting things that happened during these two days of the Telecenters Forum... many lessons and ways for the network to move forward. The most relevant learning I am taking with me back to Seattle is that networks are about people who care for each other personally, first and foremost.

It is difficult to convey in few words how relevant this lesson is. Networks, as a form of organization
, do not provide much value if personal relations, trust, and care for each other at a more deeper level is not present in a group. During these two days became very evident that we see value on a European network because the people who are part of it at this stage care for each other as individuals first, and community leaders and e-inclusion advocates second.

For networks to be valuable there needs to be a commitment to put that bit of extra effort, extra hours of work to share, learn, and take advantage of each other's experiences. All of that exist simply because we consider each other friends and care about each other's work. Competition is not a word that you will find in this group, and I am very happy to see that.

From Barcelona, to Riga, to wherever else this initiative takes us we must have this lesson very present: we are friends, we trust each other, and we want each other's project to succeed just as our own.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Telecenter Leaders Forum in Riga | building a network for collaboration in Europe

My work has brought me once again to this wonderful city for a gathering of Telecenter leaders representing almost every country in the European Union + some others. The effort to bring together organizations from around the EU working on e-inclusion programs started last year in Barcelona. In this second meeting of this nascent EU telecenters network these organizations will discuss ways to strengthen collaboration, establish venues to learn from each other, and find a common voice to promote this programs among governments and the private sector.

60 people, 43 organizations representing 23 countries from the European Union + 3 North American + 2 Mexicans. Old friends, new friends, all together discussing for two days the opportunities for collaboration and networking. With Riga as the setting... what else could we ask for!!