We had a productive and exciting meeting on April 1, 2015. Our meeting was hosted by Celina Milner, Community Relations Specialist & Special Projects Manager for the Salt Lake County Mayor’s office. Thanks to Tanya Harmon, as well, who helped prepare meeting materials. (To see the full presentation that was used as a guide for the meeting, see this link.)
This meeting marks an important transition for the EPIK Alliance, as we are transitioning from Phase I to Phase II in the collective impact process. The purpose of this meeting was to review what the Alliance did in Phase I, and to talk about next steps as we move into Phase II.
The meeting began with a spontaneous discussion about why we are doing what we are doing. A lot of focus in that discussion was about how parents, grandparents, community leaders, and others are concerned about children/youth and technology. It was noted that the topic comes up often in formal meetings and informal gatherings of parents. Personal experiences with youth and technology were shared, and hopes and desires for what could happen with this collective impact effort were also expressed.
Thankfully, we had a young adult in attendance (a 19-year-old university student passionate about the potential of using technology in creative ways in the civic process). As is often the case when we have a youth or young adult perspective, she urged the group to not focus just on concerns and potential negatives, and to think outside of wanting to control the behavior of youth.
This is a pattern we have seen throughout our work as we have been holding dialogue about the complex issue of raising children in (or living in) a digital world. The generation of adults who are now raising children and youth very often express concerns about preventing negatives, while youth and young adults often have more optimistic perspectives.
Once again, we see the value of having various perspectives in this work. We are reminded specifically how important it is to have digital natives involved in this process — youth and young adults who are comfortable with technology and anxious to see it used in productive ways. (See also “Not About Them Without Them,” the report from the meeting in December, and this TEDx talk from Devorah Heitner that was recently posted on our site).
Review of Phase I
After this lively discussion, we launched into a review of Phase I work. You can see below how the meetings (see meeting reports) fit into the Collective Impact framework pictured above.
Meeting reports from the above meetings can also be found below:
An EPIK Launch (convening cross-sector community stakeholders)
“Not About Them without Them” (issue mapping meetings with youth)
Meeting reports from these meetings can be found at the following links:
Participants in the meeting were asked to share their insights from Phase I.
Outputs of the various meetings can be found in our Google Drive folder. There wasn’t time in our meeting to go over all of those outputs, but we did choose to highlight one output that will be of particular importance moving forward. The draft result of the issue mapping and issue clustering meetings was what we are calling Issue Buckets, which help reflect some of the many facets of the complex situation we are addressing. These buckets were created by a small work group who spent hours pouring over the issue maps and the initial issue clustering outputs.
Note: These issue buckets and descriptions are starting points and will need some refining. For example, in the first bucket, “Technology Environment and Accessibility,” the description doesn’t currently capture the fact that while accessibility to technology is more widespread than ever, there are still divides (often based on socioeconomic factors) that leave some children and families without access to valuable technology resources.
Moving Into Phase II
The past couple of months have been spent in one-on-one meetings to determine whether there was enough interest to continue the collective impact work, and to start to form a committee who can help move the work forward. Because there has been a clear felt need to determine a scope for the collective impact work, we have called this group (who attended April’s meeting) the Scoping Committee.
As has been noted, throughout Phase I, there has been a consistent felt need for more clarity around scope and focus. The Insights and Impressions from January’s meeting are a reflection of that felt need. Collectively, there has also always been the recognition of the need to look at both positives and negatives related to children and technology.
In order to scope the initiative, we need to first have a clear understanding of who is doing what and why in our geographical area. Coincidentally, the Scoping Committee happens to include people from various counties, so this helped us create a starting point for our geographical boundaries.
In Part 2 of this report, we’ll share the Network Mapping work that was done by the group in this meeting.