International Franchising for Peace
In the past five years we have seen an explosion of individuals and groups — “peacetech entrepreneurs” — tackling age-old drivers of conflict ranging from inter-ethnic tension to land disputes to corruption using the ubiquitous technology and data tools available to them. It has become a truism to say that for the first time in human history everyone with a cell phone or Internet connection can send information, ideas and money around the world with the push of a button.
This rapid innovation is not just creating new opportunities for the field but also exposing the need for improvements. On July 8, the PeaceTech Lab and the U.S. Institute of Peace held a high level roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C. to consider ways of working that could better take advantage of these opportunities for peacebuilding: to learn not just how to adopt new technology but to create new innovative structures and institutions ready for its effects. There is still too much violence and suffering in the world to be held back by convention.
Luckily, the past few years have also seen the emergence of new organizational models for social change. Representing these insights, experts in social entrepreneurship, B-corps (companies that agree to abide by certain standards for societal improvement), certification programs, and other models joined the roundtable discussion. The conversation was vigorous and informative, and it offered up many avenues to better organize the field.