Coordination and Communication for Grand Challenges

I’ve just concluded the design summit for the Grand Challenge to eliminate the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders. The conference was a great success, with over 130 organizations present. The summit’s success means lots of work to be done in terms of scaling up to support everyone involved. What s the best way to handle coordination and communication with such a significant representation?

Some would say institute a command-and-control hierarchy, but a Grand Challenge is a social movement, not a project. While Grand Challenges have a backbone organization that takes accountability for coordinating and leading the effort, they are not a hub-and-spoke system where everyone must go through the backbone to communicate or coordinate with each other.

Grand Challenges are much messier than that. They are an ecosystem; the participating organizations are in relationships with many other organizations, and it’s perfectly fine that they conduct activities independent of the backbone organization. That’s how a social movement occurs.

So, back to our original question; how do you handle the coordination and communication of so many organizations? Watch the video above to hear how the backbone organization for this summit, The Huntsman Mental Health Institute, will tackle the challenge by:

  • Coordinating with key members of each organization
  • Creating and modeling permission for independent collaboration among organizations in the ecosystem
  • Utilizing both push and pull communication to distribute information
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