Charting a Course for a Global Community
Oxfam has been at the forefront of the fight against poverty since its founding in 1942. Today, it is a global confederation of 17 organizations and 10,000 employees working in dozens of countries to create a just world, without poverty.
Forum One worked with Oxfam America to create the Compass community. Starting with a simple, minimalist tool for discussion around a particular topic, the community is growing to eventually serve Oxfam’s 10,000 employees all over the world as a central place to talk with fellow colleagues working on similar issues or in the same regions. The platform is named Compass because it helps Oxfam staff find their way.
Starting Small, Dreaming Big
Over the last two years, we have worked with Oxfam to understand their requirements for a global collaboration platform, and to build something that will grow and scale over the long term.
To start, we launched the first community, for Oxfam staff to discuss violence against women and girls and gender-based violence. Our shared vision is for the Compass to grow to host hundreds of relevant, timely discussion threads and serve as a sort of “digital water cooler” for people working half a world away from each other, where they can collaborate and share useful resources and on-the-ground insights.
Navigating the Right Technology
Compass is built in Drupal 7, using best-in-class technology and open-source tools, and avoiding custom code to provide a flexible yet stable platform for future upgrades. The new platform also gives Oxfam the opportunity to integrate tools they were already using. Many members of the confederation already use tools such as Box.com for document storage, and Skype for real-time communication. The Compass platform features integrations with Oxfam’s identity provider as well as those other tools – and has the potential for more integrations in the future.
Going Global with a New Collaboration Platform
Forum One worked with Oxfam to roll out the platform to new communities in the summer of 2016 by supporting the community managers who make Compass an integral part of Oxfam’s daily work. Compass is a critical tool to achieve the new vision for a global Oxfam, as the confederation continues to extend its influence in the coming years.
Forum One has now rolled out three major evolutions of the Compass platform, and the next step is a major migration from one of Oxfam’s older systems. The migration is not just a technical challenge, it is also a human one: it requires significant coordination with multiple Oxfam organizations and departments to help them start using Compass to become more effective in their work to alleviate global poverty.