Keep working hard, but be patient – 05/27/2016

Last week, I joined hundreds of my colleagues from nonprofits, libraries, industry and the public sector at the Net Inclusion Summit 2016 to share and discuss issues related to digital inclusion. A full trip report will be coming, but I wanted to share my personal perspective on one topic which really struck home with me.

It was a tremendous experience getting together with so many people working in their own communities and domains. The two days sped by as I talked with my fellow participants and sharing experiences. It’s a very exciting time in digital inclusion, with lots of activity and progress. Many new participants and a number of initiatives have started in the last year. Underlying this, a number of programs and systems have been in place for more than fifteen years. From these two aspects of the digital inclusion community, I derive a new mantra: “Keep working hard, but be patient.”

As we make visible progress in some areas, we take inspiration and energy from the new programs, building new relationships and adding new synergies. Short-term progress keeps us inspired and generates new ideas we can jump into. For the large boulders that  block progress, we need to not give up, but neither should we exhaust all our efforts on them. For some issues, it may be a case of applying the right pressure to the right place at the right time. It may take years for all the pieces to align to effect change. Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” A corollary to this is that some of the actions we take in one year may not bear immediate fruit,. But with these actions and with the right mix of external factors, luck, and time, we may accomplish big things in the ten-year time frame.

With this mantra, I will do my best to keep working hard and be patient and work for good results.

I would be remiss if I did not thank NDIA for forming a national organization and for pulling together this summit. I think it was the right organization at the right time, and we are proud to be a part of it. NDIA has given practitioners an opportunity to join together and connect in a very powerful way.  I would like to thank Angela for her efforts on our behalf.

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