global


Moldova, the Country of the recent “Twitter Revolution” is often referred to as the poorest country in Europe.  I am spending the week back in Chisinau, the capital city, where I have been several times over the past few years.  There Keystone Human Services International  has a small office and a staff of about ten people who are supporting several projects.

I am here with two colleagues from the US to implement Social Solution’s  newly acquired software TOTAL: Record, and despite the language differences (Romanian is spoken in Moldova) and despite the differences in human service systems models, I am delighted to report that the implementation is going very well.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, leadership is very important, and in accordance with that reality, I have travelled here with the CEO of Keystone Human Services International.  As in all implementations, that makes all the difference.

Strictly as an aside. Social Solutions refers to TOTAL:Record as “financial performance management” software for human services organizations.  In another post I’ll write about how they are seriously under-estimating the software product they acquired, but I’ll save that for tomorrow, I promise.  Suffice it to say that we are implementing it in Moldova, where medicaid reimbursement rules are not a driving factor. to say the least!

We are deep in the detailed struggles of all implementations—-how to define fields, activities, costs, etc.  It is the task of turning diffuse programmatic activities of helping people achieve full active lives in the community (rather than in institutions) into the bits and bytes of reportable data—-ie.  information.  I love this stuff!

This is a particularly fun project to be on—I am not usually so deep in the details of our software implementations anymore.  This one, though, will serve as a model and an inreplaceable information source for what we hope will be many more projects, so I am bringing in the most experienced staff and the most talented software application experst we have—under my watchful eye.  It’s good to be reminded how important valid and reliable information regarding human services can be; and good to be reminded of how rare it is.  I feel privileged to be doing this work.

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I had the good fortune to attend the Clinton Global Initiative Exchange in New York last week.  In contrast to the rest of the CGI gathering, which is by invitation and membership only, the Exchange portion is more open.  It is intended as an opportunity for the NGOs, Foundations, and social entrepreneurs to meet, exchange ideas, and connect resources to needs.  It was exciting and daunting to be in a room surrounded by people who are doing such amazing things.

There were people working on clean water and climate change issues.  The Global Fund for Children, Little Star, Going to School, Global Water Challenge, and The Alliance to End Hunger, among many others, were there.  Curriki, You Tube, Flip, and TechSoup  were there.  It was energizing to be around so many good ideas at one time.  Especially encouraging was seeing the technology companies showing up asking what they could do to help.

Going to work every day should be more like that.  At Keystone Human Services, every day there are literally thousands of people going to work to make a difference in someone individual’s life, and by extension, all our lives.  One difference is that we don’t celebrate it enough, we don’t encourage its celebration enough.  

You may have discerned by now that I am going back to my innovation theme.  At CGI the air was crackling with innovative ideas.  While it would admittedly be tiring to face that every day, I know that the people I work with are no less smart and no less committed, both on the technology side and the service delivery/operations side.  Today we can begin to re-create that spirit within our own agencies.  I’m going to start by proposing our own version of CGI—pulling together in one room people with good ideas, people with resources, and people who know how to connect.  Sure, it will be on a much smaller scale, but it will still be energizing and humbling.

Other ideas, anyone?