We are beavering away getting ready for a launch at the beginning of July.
One of the tools that we are using to enable us all to work with each other across many departments, different places and different organizations is Ning. Ning is not a traditional project management tool but we are finding it very helpful.
Soon we will have not only the project team using it but also folks from several stations, CPB and PBS and a few friends who know a lot more than old Rob about reaching the hard to reach.
I think that this is a new way of running a project - where the client and the next to go can look under the hood while we are still making the car.
In essence the work looks like this:
The Big Idea: - Our research tells us that many can save their homes but are prevented because they do not know where to go for help that they can trust. Many who can be helped are shamed and don't want to put their hand up or are frozen. They have no one who has empathy who can help them find help.
Many cannot keep their homes. But they too are frozen with fear. This fear may well turn to resentment. Many are not directly affected but will be when many houses in their neighborhood are - at the moment they are stuck as individuals - how can they protect their own street? They need help.
The current problem - Most of the help is hard to find, finds you or is on the web. Most of it is "help" from "Vultures" or the people who "helped" get people into this mess.
What is Public TV's great Value? - We are the most trusted organization in town.
So what then is the work? - We can't give people money. We can't know all the answers. But we can find the help that people can trust and we can fortify the existing networks of trust to give people the best shot of finding help that they can trust.
So I think that our work is to find the 30 - 60 "Nodes of Trust" in St Louis - those people and those organizations that have the trust of each segment and form a trusted bond with them. If we can do this, then we can do "The Work" which is I think to help people find the help.
If we can do this, we will also have found a new relationship with our city. A relationship much more meaningful than bringing quality content. A relationship where we can reveal and strengthen the fabric of community and so equip it to cope with the harsh realities of our time.
Here then is a sequence of what we may see happen - all this work is done by the brilliant Valdis Krebs.
This is where we are now - this may be how your city is - there are institutions but they are not connected and these are only the big ones. In reality there are maybe hundreds of churches, beauty salons, youth centres whatever that are Nodes Of Trust.
Here is what I think we have to do this summer - reveal and connect the key nodes. At first it will be us going out to the and then revealing them to each other and to the public.
We plan to use Google Maps to do this. We will have a layer for each community. The Bosnians will have their map. The African Americans will have their map and so on. Each push pin will have as much data as possible and we will ask the public for more Nodes.
We will connect this network to the best and most trusted help that we can find. We are now digging into what is on offer and who can help in every area. We will use our ability to tell stories in print - see a new post of the Beacon - on Video - on the web and in person.
If we are fortunate - some of these Nodes will start to connect independently of us to each other.
I think this might be all that we can do this summer.
But here is my hope. That as this network becomes more self aware and as we help it find each other - then some kind of life will emerge. Like a nuclear reaction and that we will have been present at the birth of a star:
What could St Louis be capable of - if it now looked like this?
What would be the place of a public TV station - if we could have ben the midwife attending such a birth?
What could America be like if the 300 stations in the country could have this effect in the 300 major cities of the nation?
There is a lot to play for at a time when there is a lot at stake.
Over the next 7 days I will offer up more detail as it becomes available