Founded in July 2017, we have been working on a series of catalytic, collaborative projects with hands-on work, delivering impact by iterating for scale.
Economic Uplift -- 50 city Tech Jobs Tour + Place-based Engagement + Connectivity
Accelerate Global Solution Making -- UN Solutions Summit + Youth Empowerment
Equity: Media • Workplace • Algorithmic Bias -- consciousness raising work on Images Matter + algorithmic discrimination + acceleration of inclusion in all workplaces
Thriving Ecologies collaboration with communities, focused on community driven capacity-building + accelerating entrepreneurs
Thought Leadership in the mix with speaking + writing + workshops + media
25-city Tech Jobs Tour
Tech Jobs Tour, created by Leanne Pittsford, brings together diverse and non-traditional talent with companies who need their skills the most. Right now America has over 600,000 open tech jobs -- by 2020 this number will grove to over 1 million. At the same time over 60% of all new coders, engineers, and data scientist are emerging from bootcamps and industry-current vocational schools. The Tech Jobs Tour collaboration included Birmingham, Charleston WV, Denver, Milwaukee, Oakland, Memphis, and more ---> in 8 months we engaged in 25 cities, connected over 15,000 Americans locally in direct economic uplift, and proved this model. We have uncovered incredible findings to build on in 2018 as the tour reaches +25 more cities.
Economically distressed regions and neighborhoods of the country have entrepreneurial capacity and ingenuity in community champions who already have great work-in-progress or insightful plans. We scout for that talent and introduce them to the networks and tools they need (local and beyond). Connecting talent to resources catalyzes the scaling of their innovative work for maximum impact to solve our nation’s most pressing problems, and promotes economic prosperity in any region. Place-focused collaborations include:
short engagements (such as 1-day visits) where we move around a city or community and connect with many different local players, including local businesses, schools,incubator spaces, startups, community anchor institutions, civic leadership, and more. These visits are often in tandem with the TechJobsTour stops. Here are three sample videos that capture a day in 2-3 minutes each: Oakland, Denver, Atlanta
connecting various communities-of-practice who are solving similar challenges, such as talent working to advance agriculture, health-care, entrepreneurship,, and more. Here’s a knowledge product piece the teams wrote when in government, which shares many types of great innovative communities-of-practice: Try This At Home: Local Scouting Solutions and Rapidly Scaling What’s Already Working
Accelerating Broadband Connectivity
One of the challenges slowing deployment speed is that the principal/executive-level of policy, NGO, and government teams do not include enough (or sometimes any) core team members with technical (TQ) talent and direct, modern, scaled deployment broadband experience. The Connectivity Corps proposal seeks to accelerate global efforts to expand Internet connectivity by embedding top engineering talent in leadership at high levels and connecting to relevant (technical) stakeholders on the ground. This Connectivity Corps would act as a lean technical/architectural group participating in and supporting country and industry efforts to improve local and global broadband infrastructure and Internet policies, and to realize the full latent potential of prior investments and accelerate ongoing efforts.
Accelerate Global Solution-Making
UN Solutions Summit
We co-organized the 3rd Annual United Nations Solutions Summit during the UN General Assembly high-level week in September 2017. UN Solutions Summit was initially co-created in 2015 by shift7 co-founders Megan Smith, Puneet Ahira and Susan Alzner, with the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and the United Nations Foundation. The first UN Solutions Summit immediately followed the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by all UN Member States, demonstrating that people already have extraordinary solutions in progress to our most complex challenges - we just need to find them and help them to get the job done. This initiative identifies solution-makers from around the world through an open, participatory application and selection process, and accelerates their work by sharing it broadly, and directly connecting them with a diverse network of investors, philanthropists, industry leaders, policy-makers, and peers that are ready to help them scale their impact.
As part of our work, shift7 continually reaches out to youth organizations -- working to interconnect programs and evangelize their exceptional work. For example, we help the Chief Science Officers (CSOs) team to grow in more regions, and share great models that are really working like XQsuperschools. We evangelize active-STEM, such as Science Fair experiences, and support incredible story telling like Inventing Tomorrow, which is about how effective Science Fair experiences can be. In 2016, some of our leadership co-catalyzed the Computer Science for All (CS for All) movement when in government -- today we stay closely engaged to support the core CS for All teams. Here’s our Conversation with Cartoon Network at the CS for All Summit about use of media to engage more youth in tech and inspire creative confidence.
Equity: Media • Algorithmic Bias • Workplace Inclusion
Our Images Matter project builds on over fifteen years of work on Visibility Insights during leadership work with UN Women, Google (CS in Hollywood, WomenTechMakers, SolveforX balance, MadeWithCode), Makers (Katherine Johnson), Women’s (missing) history, Image of STEM, #SeeHer, USC CS-Annenberg catalyzing. In 2017-2018, shift7 has seen catalytic success around “Images Matter” starting with meetings in LA at USC, CAA and more. We are now in full swing with broad integration into the Time’s Up movement including Megan Smith’s role as a co-captain of the Time’s Up Storytelling team. Full Briefing: Images Matter
Raising consciousness of algorithmic discrimination
shift7 activation around algorithmic discrimination challenges resulted in many media engagements, speeches, and publications - including SXSW, Fortune MPW NextGen Conference, Grace Hopper, MIT IQ,and the first annual AI Index in the Expert Forum (p59). It is urgent that we rapidly and radically improve diversity and inclusion in all dimensions and at all levels in the technology sector, amongst decision-makers, in dialogues about technologies, and in applications of technology to all sectors.
Accelerating inclusion in all workplaces
shift7 team members have worked on equity, diversity and inclusion for over fifteen years and continue to provide thought leadership and programs to support diversity progress in industry, academia and all organizations. Currently our work here includes the early stages of helping venture + entrepreneurship outreach with colleagues, including working with teams in Rise of the Rest, Village Global, NEO, Fab Foundation and more.
Knowledge Products -- Open & Shareable:
- Raising the Floor: Sharing What Works in Workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Industry transformation practices.
- Demystifying Access to Capital for All Early Stage Science and Tech Entrepreneurs: More than 30 investors pledged to increase access to capital for science and tech entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, including by sharing tips for raising funds. Diversify Access to Capital Pledge
Capacity-building organizations and Accelerating entrepreneurs
shift7 has conducted a series of action-focused explorations, scouted potential partners and made network connections to advance entrepreneurship and the arts, renewable energy development, and environmental health. Youth engagement is central in much of this work.
shift7 has begun collaborating with both Navajo and Lakota Sioux partners. Many Native American communities have unemployment rates that are among the highest in the country, and are working to build local economies that are self-sustaining, and not heavily dependent on extractive industries. Culturally cognizant, creative, patient business development support is needed to accelerate this transformation.
In the mix with speaking, writing, workshops and media
[MORE TEXT COMING TOMORROW on Thought Leadership]