Thursday, March 25, 2010

Draft Notes: first General Meeting of the Evolutionize It Board

16 March 2010, 10am - 12pm @ the "siege social" of Evolutionize It


Present were Christina Jordan, Olivier Gaillard, Walter De Schepper, David Ewaku (on speaker phone).

Olivier is an Ashoka Fellow, also active in collaboration int he social change sector. He met Christina for the first time 1 year ago shortly after her arrival in Belgium. Is leaving Belgium end March for 1 year in the USA, working with Ashoka's Youth Venture project in Washington DC.

Walter is a private development consultant, who worked with Christina professionally at 2 consulting companies 1994 - 1998. Walter looks forward to understanding more about what social enterprise is.

David and Christina have worked together periodically since 2002. David is Ugandan, and once served on the Board of Life in Africa Foundation while Christina was chairman.

Christina's intention in founding Evolutionize It is to create a structure through which a number of project ideas to facilitate social sector collaboration might be realized.

Operational Logistics
  1. Evolutionize It Blog - Christina introduced the Evolutionize It Blog and proposed that it should be used as a main tool for Board communication. Others will see it, but content written with the board as a primary audience in mind. The blog will also be seen by others - the suggestion is to stay as completely transparent and interactive with others as possible in building the business model. Everyone present agreed with the idea.
  2. Titles/Bios/Contributions: We looked at the bios posted on the blog and discussed titles. Christina's title changed to Chairman. Walter & Olivier changed to Board Executive Member; David & Sarah changed to General Member. All members of the board have author access to post at the Evolutionize. It blog on issues relevant to the topics of Social Enterprise, collaboration for change, and/or Evolutionize It's development (posts might also include questions from our board members who are not yet well versed in this field). Christina suggested that all Board members should have a LinkedIn profile.
  3. Christina's Volunteer Status - Christina will not receive a salary this year. Any income earned by Evolutionize it will be used to help pay operational and travel expenses. Income earned beyond expenses will be budgeted in 2011, and may or may not include any salaries. In order to be registered as a non-paid worker in Belgium, Christina and Evolutionize It will sign an official volunteer agreement to be registered with the proper authorities. Olivier to forward the relevant documents.
  4. Bank Account: the suggestion had been made earlier by email to consider opening a bank account for Evolutionize It at Triodos bank, who is known for their sustainable investment practices. Christina presented the forms for an online professional account, requiring signatures by Christina and Walter as designated operators of the account. The forms called for us to determine the maximum amount any individual could authorize. Euro 5,000 was agreed upon.
  5. Meetings: While the Evolutionize It statutes call for annula meetings, the Board agreed to periodically meet via pre-scheduled conference calls using skype, as needed.
Income Opportunities:
  1. Life in Africa products: while at Life in Africa, Christina purchased a stock of paper bead jewelry. Investment in one social enterprise feeds another - Evolutionize It is now selling the jewelry via a display at the HubShop in Rotterdam. In addition to what they have already received 10% of Evolutionize It's sales will go back to Life in Africa; 90% to the Evolutionize It account. We need to talk to an accountant about how to reflect the jewelry stock donation to Evolutionize It. Walter will make introduce the idea to his accountant to see if he can work with us.
  2. Internet4Change training: Christina is developing a social media curriculum for social enterprises, which she will schedule into the summer school series at HubBrussels. Each class in the course will have a fee, with a discount offered for following the complete curriculum.
  3. Collaboration Event Planning: Following success of the Feb Unconference experiment in Portland, Christina is discussing the development of a replicable event series with several potential partners. The model for this and other events should be self-sustaining, with event proceeds priced at levels that finance online media coordination and local partner facilitation.
  1. General: we agreed that partnerships/collaboration frameworks should be formally documented when possible. Those agreements are assets to the organization. David suggested that we separate out financial agreements from work agreements, giving room for money flows to grow/change in the future.
  2. looking at possible co-branding agreement re: unconference series collaboration that includes more than user agreement.
  3. Thrivable: is also a start-up, not yet formally incorporated. Memorandum of understanding can be enough for collaboration between Evolutionize It and Jean (Thrivable project founder), but if there are money flows then Evolutionize It takes the management lead.
(David left the meeting)

Long Term Projects
  1. Micro-Success: income generating model for social enterprise collaboration. Objective for 2010 is to create, participate in and document collaboration experience; objective for 2011 is to develop/launch incentive systems that draw on lessons learned this year. Currently in progress: 6 month local social enterprise start-up support group (Brussels), planned for July-Dec: online social enterprise support group, possibly to work together toward commonly established objectives.
  2. Internet4change: collaboration Agent/Agency concept for underconnected regions, to be developed by David/Christina for simultaneous implementation in Asia and Africa late 2012.
(Walter left the meeting)

Learning/Leadership Opportunities

Christina briefed Olivier on current learning/leadership opportunities, including
  1. co-hosting the #4change chat
  2. Participating with Radical Inclusion in planning of a Virtual Unconference
  3. exploring potential collaboration with OpenKollab
  4. presentation opportunity at OxfordJam
Other Business

Olivier had some excellent advice & observations to share.

  1. Board Books: Need to start a file with all official documents and board meeting notes signed by 2 Exec members. Don't forget to include a signed page stating that the Board resolved to incorporate the organization.
  2. Project selection process: if we want Evolutionize It to be a platform for launching collaboration-related projects, we will need to have a process through which projects are chosen, and a clear framework for project management work undertaken by a project's initiator. We will need to think about financial agreements and performance risk issues, in particular.
  3. Performance Indicators: It would be useful to identify indicators for the various activities so that it will be easier for the Board (and others) to assess organizational performance. Indicators can be simple, like how many participants, trainees, events, partnerships, countries, etc. Set goals for the year and keep count; at a glance we'll be able to see what we are achieving or not achieving.
(meeting adjourned at 12:15pm)

What next? Board members please add your corrections in the comments section below. Comments from non-board members are also welcome, but will not be included in the printed notes included in the Evolutionize It Board books.


  1. How are you ? I heard Christina was at the Skoll forum, I'm sure that she met many interesting people and learned a lot, it can be interesting to write something about it.

    I didn't take time this last week to read the news but I hope that your dreams become reality. I still try to find here my way of life, everything is still new and I learn more everyday ;-)

    I have some suggestions for the unConference.
    1. I received an interesting link do you know it ?
    2. This last days, in DC, they were an Entrepreneurship Summit, the link is , it can be interesting for us to be in contact with them and invite them to the unconference
    3. Many organization (Ashoka, Avise, Atlas Corps, business schools...) are giving training or coaching sessions to social entrepreneurs, it can be interesting to contact them and to present their tools

    Did we plan another meeting ? It can be a opportunity to make a brainstorm and support Christina in the next months.

    All the best from DC

  2. Hi Olivier,

    I will be going to Shine in a few weeks, and indeed hope it can be full of interesting lessons.

    Do you have contacts from the Entrepreneurship Summit? Indeed it would be useful to reach out to their network.

    The event I am putting together for this year is designed to maximise participatory learning among social entrepreneurs i the face to face events. What I'm hoping is that people from Ashoka, Atlas Corps, etc will be represented at the online venue specially. The event description is over here:

    Another Board meeting would be great sometime in early June to discuss how it's going, I think.