Monday, June 23, 2008

SRDS Worthwhile Lessons For Wanna Be Change Agents

The primary paradigm shift being faced personally is changing from a career in city level economic development to a post-career life in the next 5 to 10 years. While this weblog could keep me pretty busy during my additional free time it is also designed to explore alternative pathways. One potential pathway is to become involved in a philanthropic or non-profit organization working in social-entrepreneurship.

This weblog has provided a great deal of information and insight into the variety and expanse of what I have started calling change-agent organizations that are available. It has also let me study how they use the Internet and web 2.0 tools in carrying out their various missions.

So I was especially pleased to find a site which provided an excellent example of what could be done on the web, the Seafield Research and Development Services or SRDS. I have introduced its creator George Clark before in Social Tagging For The Not So Social.

The mission of SRDS is according to the site:


to support the proliferation and enhance the quality of the training required to develop global Civil Society


to provide consultancy, research, training and material productions services for Human Resource Development - with a focus on the training of trainers

What impresses me about the site is that it leverages a well done solitary effort with numerous other collaborative efforts that span the globe. It is not, however, based only on Internet bells and whistles. George Clark brings years of academic and in the field experience to the endeavor. He also brings an insight as to the importance of writing and organization that I find admirable. I get the idea that George does most of the off-line and online documentation, as well as the website creation. What I find so admirable is the number and range of activities SRDS interacts with. The Internet often contains worthwhile efforts by local organizations that could be replicated and scaled in different parts of the globe.

The work I find most engaging is that done with the The Caledonia Centre for Social Development. Perhaps some of it looks a bit dated (or that's me telling my Grandmother how to suck eggs), but the format allows me to study the organizational structure. What is apparent is that there is structural depth to the programs based on a deeper understanding of economic development, human resource training and organizational structure issues. Most other websites are too slick to provide this level of insight because they are in truth marketing to an audience.

One strong impression that I come away with is that there are numerous change-agent organizations working in the UK and Europe and that they are far better networked together than their counterparts on this side of the globe. Following the Caledonia links and the links of EUFORIC links provides me an expansive education on economic development from a variety of different perspectives.

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