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Digital Impact Berlin – From possibilities to responsibilities

Digital data offer a world of possibilities for civil society to achieve greater impact. Digital resources also present a new set of responsibilities and challenges for civil society.

Conference: How to build a universal framework for civil society to use digital resources safely, ethically and effectively? Presented by the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford

Presented by the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford PACS and hosted by Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications.

Digital data offer a world of possibilities for civil society to achieve greater impact. Digital resources also present a new set of responsibilities and challenges for civil society.

Hosted by Vodafone Institute, at the FAZ Atrium in Berlin, the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society was exploring the implications of the digital age for global civil society. The aim is to discuss a universal framework for civil society to use digital resources safely, ethically and effectively.

The conference is part of the PACS World Tour and Berlin was besides cities like London and Brussels one essential stop in Europe. The PACS World Tour is a series of one-day conferences in cities around the globe with the United States as the anchor country. These one-day conferences draw on the expertise and content from Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Do Good Data/Data on Purpose Conference at Stanford in February. The goal of the World Tour is to build better horizontal connections between local actors and connect these local networks globally.

After a welcome by Mark Speich, Managing Director at Vodafone Institute, and Lucy Bernholz, Digital Civil Society Lab, the conference jumped right into the topic with a short introduction what “From Possibilities to Responsibilities” for the social sector symbolizes. The participants of the conference discussed together if and to what extend digital data and infrastructure create new possibilities for working across sectors and what new demands these relationships require.

Right before lunch the conference took a deep dive into the topic by discussing “Digital Dependencies” in a globalized and connected world. Various stakeholders were present ranging from Hertie School of Governance to Mozilla Foundation and Microsoft. The discussion was thus characterized by many different perspectives and an exchange of ideas and views.

Lunch was a great opportunity to get to know everyone and many took the opportunity to exchange ideas, concepts and thoughts about the latest development in the digital civil society.

In the afternoon emerging organizational forms, collaborations, and governance models were highlighted and presented, in which the affordances of digital data have inspired new approaches to working across organizations or sectors.

The conference concluded with a fireside chat about the role of bias in data and algorithms, the opportunities and limits of addressing these biases, and how civil society organizations should adapt to a world in which these tools are omnipresent. The closing reflections were presented by Lucy Bernholz and Andrew Means (Stanford PACS), accompanied by Klaus Vitt, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior and CIO of the Federal Government