PCI’s Annual Round-Up | 2022
Hi everyone, this is a year-end update from the board of the People Centered Internet
This will be a time that will be remembered for generations after us. We have reached the second of the Covid New Years that have upturned our lives. The ways we live, work and play have become digitized beyond anyone’s 2020 expectations. In many ways, this time was what we have been preparing for at People-Centered Internet. 2021 was our biggest year for grants built on the foundations laid since our beginning in 2015.
- We have been building crucial social scaffolding for networks of digital communities. COVID has been a catalyst: We deepened our connections with our community; The PCI Fellowship program began, Global Help Desk Community workshopped the Coolabilities Report: How Light is Spent with board member Cyndi Coon, Arizona State University Applied Future Lab; We also received from the Tides Foundation two grants for foundational work on the DNS or Domain Name System. “Project Jake” is led by Internet pioneer Steve Crocker, the Man who invented Instructions for the Internet, working with Heather Flanagan who joined us through the Global Help Desk Community enriching us with her deep experience in and knowledge of IETF – the Internet Engineering Taskforce.
- We welcomed many new YOUNG faces to our PCI community. Board member’s Justin Bryant oversaw our first summer interns, Lin Wells mentored the Hasso Plattner Institute students in the Global Design Thinking workshop on the network community model of Echar Pa’lante in Puerto Rico and we began a fruitful alliance with IGF Youth, the youth arm of the Internet Governance Forum.
- Our Academic collaborations have deepened. Thanks to Lin Wells, we strengthened ties with the global knowledge-sharing network of STAR-TIDES and George Mason University’s Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities (C-RASC) in Washington DC. We are growing our relationship with the Frugal Innovation Hub at Santa Clara University’s Engineering School in Silicon Valley, also a leader in the field increasingly pertinent to technology, Applied Ethics. In 2022, we will be expanding our academic network to Germany and Singapore.
- Our Professional Association collaborations have strengthened and broadened. Mei Lin is building PCI’s relationship with IEEE as a whole. PCI leads Industry Connections Social Impact Measurement, ICSIM an IEEE pre-Standards working group working towards ESG measures in 2022. Engagement with the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee created a report on recommendations for assessment for IEEE’s Humanitarian activities. We are converging on ethical and sustainable engineering as IEEE’s Sustainability initiative gathers steam. In 2022 PCI volunteers will convene a Technical Committee for SSIT – IEEE’s Technology and Society membership organization.
- Government Engagement. We are honored that PCI was selected as an Advisory Board member of Govstack, a UN initiative to establish digital building blocks for digital government services. We will be engaging in the 2022 G7/G20 process through the vehicle of a paper on Clean-IT written with the CEO of the Hasso Plattner Institute, Christoph Meinel in Germany. Former Minister of ICT for Colombia Diego Molano Vega joined our board and will be working on the City2City Network of UNDP. We have featured presentations from Estonia, Germany, India, Malta, and Singapore at our Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy monthly series, chaired by Vint Cerf in 2020 and 2021, co-founded with Doreen Bogdan, ITU-Development Director, and Hinrich Thoelken, Germany’s Digital and Climate Envoy after a meeting with the UN Office of the Technology Envoy at the Berlin 2019 IGF.
- Initiated PCI Fellowships. Board member Mara Strandlund helped structure and pave the way for future programs for our Global Fellows driving beneficial impact for communities across the world. We are proud of each of our Fellows:
Bastian Zaini – Digital Finance & Indonesia
Brandon Hall and Karen Gilmore Hall – the father and daughter team – Gender Equity
John Taschek – Business, Technology, Policy
John Wharton – Global Supply Chain & Digital Expert Network
Tiffany Brar – Online Access for the Blind
Todd Hoskins – Tribal Resource Center
PCI’s Two Pillars: Building Resilient Communities and Digital Finance
- Resilient Community Hubs are inspired by Douglas Engelbart’s Networked Improvement communities framework and build on PCI’s years-long engagement with the 10,000 person strong Echar Pa’lante network in Puerto Rico, This takes forward our work for FEMA: Digital Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico, a PCI team contributed to the RAND supervised program after the devastation of hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017. We received the Tribal Resource Center Grant from the Internet Society for “Creating Digital Opportunities”. Guiding us in our work is the new TRC Project Director Brooke Munroe from the Standing Rock tribe. We owe tremendous gratitude to Matt Rantanen for his leadership with Native American communities and are excited that we will have new Tribal initiatives to announce in 2022.
- Financing for micro and Small Medium Enterprises (mSME’s)
Led by our board Treasurer, Tamara Singh, PCI’s Digital Finance initiative is proposing digital utilities and data cooperatives to reduce the barriers to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, supporting MSMEs in the digital economy. In our work we considered the following objectives:
- 1. Supporting the inclusion of MSMEs, particularly the unbanked and under-served, in the digital economy
- 2. Developing MSME literacy in business, digital and sustainability
- 3. Capacity building via the reduction of cost to serve rather than injection of capital
- 4. Supporting the transition of MSMEs towards sustainable practices
Engaging with stakeholders ranging from MSME associations, finance providers, fintech firms and associated experts across the globe and in our potential pilot countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, Bangladesh, Columbia) revealed broad interest and conviction in the value of the proposal to develop a digital public good to reduce the barriers to entry for providers to MSMEs (objective 3). This public good, a “data utility”, would form the gateway to the delivery of benefits to MSMEs, supporting delivery of objectives 1, 2 and 4, and would adhere to open data principles. The utility would also leverage on the concept of data co-operatives to better engage with and represent MSMEs. Importantly, the utility would be managed in a not-for-profit manner – through self-sustaining, for example, in the manner of the co-operative society as proven to be viable by SWIFT.
Cyndi Coon contributed beyond her board duties with the donation of $50,000 in-kind to PCI with the Applied Futures Lab working with 30 members of the Global Help Desk Community on an extraordinarily meaningful Threatcasting/Futurecasting workshop in late 2020. In Jan/Feb 2021 she delivered the report on the Future of Technology, Human Ability, and Economic Value called How Light is Spent. This report focused on how “Cool Abilities” (the unique value of traditionally disabling conditions) could become advantages in the future, envisioning a great impact on perceptions. Technology can enable a future workforce that will be part of a global transformation where many, not just a privileged few, can participate, invent and contribute. Do read this enlightening breakthrough report at https://threatcasting.asu.edu/publication/how-light-spent.
Our board is making plans for 2022, to professionalize the organization and maximize our impact through forming a strategic plan and benchmarking at the start of 2022. We will advance our efforts to engage youth and create initiatives that allow them to have a greater voice in internet governance. Cyndi will be bringing Futurecasting as a lens to move our mission forward faster.
People Centered Internet is gearing up to be the “go-to” network of networks of key people working with corporations, countries, and communities around the world striving to deliver people-centered, planet-stewarding digital transformation.
Thank you to the incredible People-Centered Community for all your contributions and support. We look forward to engaging more deeply with each of you in 2022. We wish you and your families and friends the very best for the coming year.
Thank you for who you are and all you do!
You can contact our board:
Youth Lead: Justin Bryant [email protected]
Tribal Resource Center and Secretary: Lin Wells [email protected]
Cities Lead: Diego Vega [email protected]
FutureCasting: Cyndi Coon [email protected]
Social Media and Chair: Mei Lin Fung [email protected]
Fellowship Programs: Mara Strandlund [email protected]