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Challenges for philanthropic organizations in the digital era

During the International Fellows Program at the Centre of Philanthropy and Civil Society, I had an unique opportunity to have a deeper look at how the digital era could potentially affect the society and the development of philanthropic organizations.

At the digital era, new technologies can be described as the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines, including robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, The Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. All of these, could lead to 21st century challenges associated with rapid technological developments, which can bring great risks to the society. As potential problems experts mentioned massive destruction of medium skilled jobs, exacerbation of inequalities, wider gender gaps, emergence of superpower oligopolies, inadequate protections of personal data, “algorithmization” of individual behaviour.  As an example, one of the biggest concerns is the increase of social inequality between the “winners” and “losers” of digital economy.

Philanthropic organizations will face questions they have not had to answer before, and in response, it is clear that innovations are critical. Yesterday’s solutions may be not applicable to address future challenges.

I’m looking for best practices and tools that address challenges mentioned, and that lead to innovation. I’m also interested to discuss about major challenges in innovation. What experiences have other civil society and philanthropy organizations have faced in the process of innovating?

Thank you! Ruta

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