“Technology shouldn’t be led by technologists,” says Jonathan Palmer, NetHope Board member and secretary. This may sound counterintuitive, considering that Palmer is also Executive Director of Strategic Technology at the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), but he says this is one of the biggest lessons learned at his organization, which employs 3,000 people and runs 450 programs in 60 countries.
Palmer and his team believe in demand-driven technology that is aligned with the organizational goals rather than a “buy or build it, and they will come” approach. He sees his team as catalysts, who bring tools together and allow people to make the best choices. “Everyone in your organization is a technologist,” he says. “If you want to maximize the impact of technology, empower front line staff, from fundraisers to those executing on the mission.”
At WCS, technology touches everything they do. They use DNA technology to check the origin of wildlife confiscated in the illegal wildlife trade. They are heavy users of GIS and Salesforce, and rely on IBM Business System I2 for intelligence. Palmer is particularly proud of SMART, a protected-area management system. SMART supports optimizing patrolling efforts to secure protected areas around the world, in conjunction with a suite of additional services like ecological monitoring, mobile data collection, intelligence, and Internet of Things (IoT) integrations. “It’s not just empowering front line rangers; but going up the stack, it allows protected area management authorities and, in some cases, donors, to see how well protected areas are managed,” he says.
Read the full story at the NetHope Blog.
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