How might we create a valuable and meaningful program for people who want to make an impact in Palestine?

This was the guiding question that spurred four hours of brainstorming activities at BuildPalestine’s first Design Thinking Workshop in Washington D.C. on January 12. Twenty participants gathered together to step outside of their usual mindsets and creatively tackle a problem we all face when joining professional networks and large organizations.

Participants came from a diverse array of professional backgrounds including tech, academia, nonprofit/NGO, and government, and were invited to be a part of this co-creation workshop as they themselves would be ideal members in the network.

We started by mapping the current landscape of networks and groups each participant was apart of and identified strengths and weaknesses across all of the groups. From there, we stepped outside of our current roles by randomly selecting a persona developed for BuildPalestine. Each group had to learn to empathize with their character’s life situation by stepping into their shoes and designing their ideal user journey in BuildPalestine’s network. Finally, we imagined the future by using a sticky-note activity to define what the first Global Membership Network Summit would entail for each character.

Learnings from this workshop will be used to guide the launch of this new network, both virtually and in-person, at the first BuildPalestine Summit. Key takeaways include:

– Co-creating with the community rather than for the community is critical for success

– The values and core principles should be clear, but members of the network should feel a sense of ownership, and their input should drive the activities

– The impact of the network should be clearly defined and tracked

– The network should include local chapters with their own flexibility nested into a more unified network

– Summits should include both professional and social networking opportunities, and create a space where people “make things happen”

– Ideally, BuildPalestine summits will alternate each year between Palestine and another location in the diaspora

Do you have ideas for how we might create a valuable and meaningful program for people who want to make an impact in Palestine? Email [email protected] to share your vision for this network, and how we can create a global community that is dedicated to building Palestine!

Farah Ereiqat is a social impact researcher and strategist with experience across the tech and public sectors.