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Creating a Digital Peace Corps




Jan 25, 2001


Mario Morino

The earlier emails raise some real good thoughts and advice on what we've tagged a digital peace corps. Barbara's absolutely right with the trust issue, but there may be ways to work with established channels that the community already trusts and respects to lessen this. Also, we would assume that whoever would go into this program, they would go through a fairly intensive "boot camp" to sensitize and orient them to work in the community. And, like all such functions -- and has been demonstrated by CompuMentor in the technical mentoring area -- you don't take all comers and some care must be given in making the right "matches." Sort of like good case management.

To Jonathan's last point -- "This is a pretty tall order and I would imagine these people aren't being paid very well (unless there are corporate sponsorships of people on sabbatical?). So while academically it sounds good, realistically is it possible in any scalable way?" -- we honestly don't know if this can scale. We suspect there is a changing attitude toward such participation in the younger folks coming into the corporate workforce and we've seen indications that there is growing need within firms like McKinsey, Andersen, and we suspect others like them, where there are folks that want to do more with their life than "push the corporate buttons." Yet they are quite good and if the firms had a way to encourage them to stay and address this issue, their retention might go up and the satisfaction (and we believe capability) of the troops involved would increase.

No question, this is a tall order. What we wanted to do with the paper was to get the concept better refined, raise it to address a higher level of support than what most of the current efforts have focused on, and then test the corporate waters to see which firms would consider the model. By the way, talk about an irony -- I'm typing this email at 1:11 am using a 2400 bps line (like really slow) from overseas. Because my connectivity isn't great I may not be able to chime in like I wish I could for the next 6-7 days. Thanks so much for the continuing valuable comments and insights.


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