[Five lessons from the ACM] Lesson 4: Harnessing the interconnections of the network

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The Annual Curators Meeting 2016 (“ACM”) provided many useful lessons for effective contribution to the Global Shapers Community. I was privileged to represent the Hong Kong Hub as its Deputy Curator. Here is the fourth of the five lessons I learnt.

Connecting hubs with common goals to work on projects and yielding high synergy are pillar objectives, giving the meaning of “global” to the Global Shapers Community. The Global Shapers Community provides an international platform for over 6,300 Shapers worldwide, all of whom are exceptional young people and already making tremendous impact in their own communities.

There are over 450 hubs around the world. At any one time, multiple hubs are probably working on the same problems, and they might have come up with their own special ways of addressing those problems which could offer valuable insights. For example, the Abuja Hub in Nigeria has developed a series of award-winning projects to build police-youth community relations through sporting competitions and mentorship schemes in neighboring cities affected by the Boko Haram and widespread government corruption. Upon hearing about this project at the ACM, several US curators were interested to learn from the Abuja Hub to work on police-youth community relations in their own communities, as police violence against black youths was perceived as a pressing local issue.

During the regional hubs working lunch, hub representatives gathered into their respective geographical regions to discuss topical issues. I attended the Asia-Pacific regional lunch, and we discussed about adopting and using a common online platform to keep hubs aware of each others’ projects and enhance communications. There were 29 representatives of ASEAN hubs; 16 representatives of Greater China hubs, and 33 representatives of South Asia hubs. Fortuitously, the Forum has been planning to roll out a TopLink platform for the entire Global Shapers Community, and the Global Shapers team of the World Economic Forum (“Forum”) happily demo’d the platform for us. (The Greater China hubs also urged the Forum to establish a Chinese language WeChat-based platform as WeChat is widely adopted in Greater China.)

Finding common goals is not too difficult in the Global Shapers Community. We are united by our mission to improve the state of the world. A persistent obstacle, however, is how to deepen the level of engagement between hubs, especially those belonging to the same region. After all, strengthening engagement within hubs might be challenging enough. A better communication platform is one of the gateway problems. But, to fully harness the Shapers network, there is much to do to find points of feasibility and break down barriers, be they cultural, economic, linguistic, or geographical, etc.

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