Z Innovative – Outdated

Understand the future of technology and how it can change our communities for the better. NGOs can harness the power of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Processing and Blockchain – learn how to leverage the availability of innovative technologies to change the way you work and make the world better.

2019 Featured Topics

2020 topics and sessions will be updated this spring. Check back for updates

Avoiding Common Pitfalls
of Tech Pro Bono

Technology pro bono can be a valuable tool to help social sector organizations get the most out of their technology investments. That said, rushing to implement and a fascination with “shiny objects” can often derail good intentions, resulting in ineffective solutions. If you’re thinking about taking on pro bono engagements or enhancing existing projects, this talk will highlight some of the pitfalls we’ve faced, and how you can avoid them.

Practical Uses of
Artificial Intelligence in Nonprofits

Artificial Intelligence (AI) shows great promise in addressing humanitarian, development, and conservation challenges – from emergency response to refugee education and health diagnostics. Numerous tech companies are investing time, resources, and technical expertise, working alongside nonprofits to develop solutions to some of the world’s most challenging issues. Come learn about how AI can extend an nonprofit’s reach. In this educational talk we will cover what AI is and how it can be used both for planning programs and measuring impact.

Tools for Taking Action:
Cultivating an Organizational Culture
of Curiosity and Learning

This session will focus on how to develop an organizational culture that values learning and curiosity. Participants will learn about the key components of a learning culture, how to develop it within an organization, and how to sustain it for the long-term. The session will highlight research-based practices as well as stories from the field. Participants will also engage in a series of fun reflection and planning exercises to jumpstart their own learning culture efforts.

Public Policy Research in the
Era of Big Data, Cloud & AI

At its best, public policy research shines a light in the dark, illuminating social conditions so we can see our way through to solutions. But that light is only as bright as the best research tools and techniques will allow. Recent advances in data science are expanding the range of what’s visible and possible in at least three ways: filling fundamental gaps in knowledge, refining policy design, and clarifying connections between raw data and actionable information.

At the Urban Institute, we are leveraging the power of technology and data to transform the way we deliver value and accelerate impact. We work to fill knowledge gaps by accessing new sources and types of data, deploying cutting-edge methodologies to unlock them for rigorous analysis. Urban is refining policy design by leveraging advanced cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics to strengthen and enhance our microsimulation and policy analysis. Lastly, Urban is making high-quality information more accessible and interactive using new communication tools and technology (DataViz, APIs and Micro services).

Twin Changing Landscapes of
Technology and Volunteerism

Technology is changing.  AirBnb, Amazon, Facebook, Lyft, SnapChat,  Yelp have revolutionized how we buy, eat, communicate, share, travel and more. Simultaneously volunteerism is changing. Younger generations bring new desires, perspectives and expectations to their want to help. Unlike older generations who arrived “committed” to a nonprofit  organization, these younger generations arrive “curious” and only progress to “casual” and then “committed” based upon their experiences. The upside is once they become “committed” they can progress to become “catalysts” who can engage an entire army of supporters through their social and other networks.

This talk examines these two intertwined changing landscapes and draws on the work of futurist Bob Johansen from the Institute for the Future and the Brand Orbits framework from Mark Bonchek of Shift Thinking to provide insight into the role technology and non-linear marketing concepts can and will play in all forms of volunteerism (mission delivery, skills based projects and board service) over the next several decades.  Current and future trends combined with a marketing shift can be described from “selling to” customers to building communities “with” others  and having a shared purpose illuminates the potential for a bright future where technology contributes greatly to better communities and a better world.