*originally published on FemTechLeaders.com
Crowd sourcing community: it sounds rather redundant. It actually is redundant, since a community is comprised of myriad people, ideas, philosophies, and actions — and it comes from the crowd that has gathered for a particular purpose.
These days crowd sourcing has taken on a new meaning, a monetary one, where the ubiquitous crowd finances endeavours of all sorts: from projects, to art installations, to record and book publications, to movies, to tech. You name it, somewhere there’s a crowd kick starting a new venture.
So it has a delicious irony that we here at FemTechLeaders are kicking off a crowd sourcing session ourselves, the delicious bit is that although we all play in the money movement field, there’s no money involved in this venture. Instead, we’re going old school, completely retro, and asking community members to bring their creativity to bear for the evening.
Community building has gone digital, and thanks to social media, we’re instantly and constantly connected, The conversation never sleeps (nor does Fintech, apparently). But it has a way of bypassing the human touch — where emotion, body language, hesitation or dominance, unconscious exclusion and conscious inclusion get acted out between people. Digital demands we opt in. But a community that can look one another in the eye demands differently: we have to opt out.
It’s a double edge sword, the opt out bit, but one advantage is that everyone is expected to contribute unless they explicitly say so. That’s how building works best: all contribute, all participate, all have skin in the game. It’s this collective blood, sweat, and tears trust that makes things happen.
Now we’re not looking at bleeding or sweating or making any one cry (unless it’s with laughter, then may the tears flood the room). But we are asking that this community come together to help shape what it wants to be, chart a path for growth so that we include those who are lurking around the frays but haven’t yet felt welcome (if that’s the case, I’m ashamed), or ready to join, or like this is a place where they belong because something was missing — something that a member recognizes and gets the group to adapt.
It takes a village to raise a child. I’m a firm believer that the ecosystem within which one exists has extraordinary effect on one’s growth, that nurture shapes how nature is expressed. And FemTech is a growing body, one that is nurtured by its members and the people around it. It’s our nature to be inclusive, so naturally this crowd sourcing exercise is part of village life. And as we seed ideas from the group, we graft new members into this FemTech Family Tree.