On July 4, 2017, Hatch International, a nonprofit social enterprise incubator and community organizer, launched the Hatching Voices: Our American Story campaign.
The objective of the Hatching Voices campaign is to:
Understand the unique stories and shared experiences of Americans across the country;
Use storytelling to build empathy across individuals and communities; and
Identify key insights from submitted stories to discover America’s most critical social challenges.
We want to share our campaign journey thus far with you!
As part of the first phase of the Hatching Voices campaign, we asked Americans to share their stories. Campaign participants submitted stories to our virtual listening tool around the topics of homelessness, immigration, access to education, mass incarceration, youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, diversity and inclusion, health care and climate change.
What we heard | An Eritrean woman from Atlanta, Georgia highlighted the need for immigrants, refugees, and diaspora individuals to gain access to roles in public service and activism in order to change how communities support immigrants and refugees.
A young, gay man who grew up in small-town Pennsylvania talked about the power of coalitions and social technologies to promote awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
A San Francisco resident noted that despite the government’s significant investments to combat homelessness, the direct engagement of impacted communities in the design of policies and implementation may be the key to success.
What we learned | These stories and anecdotes were powerful in helping us realize, at a very localized level, the challenges American communities are facing. We were able to extract key insights and assign themes to the data we collected. We then started to see the nuances behind issues such as homelessness, immigration, and inclusivity that were challenging Americans from Washington, DC, to Georgia, to Pennsylvania, to California, and more.
As part of the second phase of the Hatching Voices campaign, we asked America to connect with their communities to understand different perspectives on their shared challenges and opportunities. In that vein, the Hatch team collaborated with other community-based organizations, nonprofits, and businesses through storytelling and design-focused community events.
Earlier this fall we teamed with Impact Hub to host Neighborhood Impact: Opportunity Squared, a panel discussion and ideation session on mass incarceration for local DC residents.
Who we partnered with | Impact Hub is a membership-based, community space that connects local change agents to resources that accelerate their impact.
How we used storytelling to build empathy | Through a design-thinking workshop led by the Hatch team, we gleaned insights and themes from the powerful stories of our attendees.
Their stories highlighted the specific challenges that returning citizens in Wards 7 and 8 face: employment upon re-entry, mental health issues, gender equity, and access to education, among others. We then took a problem-solving approach together and aimed to answer the following questions:
How might we build re-entry approaches that are specific to the DMV area?
How might we develop integrated care models that address mental health and PTSD?
How might the DMV area work together to build an ecosystem of resources within communities?
These questions led to creative ideas from our audience as they reimagined how to reduce the negative impacts of mass incarceration on their fellow community members.
We also had the opportunity to hear from young girls in the Bay Area through a partnership with #BUILTBYGIRLS and Women of Uber, two organizations focused on empowering women in tech.
Who we partnered with | #BUILTBYGIRLS connects high school girls with internship opportunities, advisors, and site visits at tech companies to equip them to be the next generation of tech leaders. Women of Uber is the largest Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Uber, focused on advocating for the needs and voices of women at Uber globally.
How we used storytelling to build empathy | As all of our organizations are focused on building technology-based solutions, we created a collaborative and mission-driven “Hashtag” event. Participants from all three organizations exchanged stories: from the perspective of an engineer working at one of the most disruptive companies in Silicon Valley, to the perspective of a young girl aspiring to be a future leader of change through technology, to the perspective of a non-profit leader who is looking to empower others to use technology to transform our communities. This powerful exchange led to new inspiration across generations of women representing different parts of the technology industry.
How we will partner in the next phase of the Hatching Voices campaign | #BUILTBYGIRLS and Hatching Voices are exploring further ways to partner in 2018 to see how the inspired young women of #BUILTBYGIRLS can work with their communities and come up with innovative technology-based solutions for some of the challenges we heard from our Hatching Voices campaign.
How can we learn from #OurAmericanStory and create transformational change? As we move forward to the final phase of our campaign, Hatching Solutions, we want to learn from the insights and themes that we heard from #OurAmericanStory to create innovative technology-based solutions that will ignite positive social change.
So, ask yourself: How might we use technology to support the re-entry of those who were formerly incarcerated and break the cycle? How might we reimagine resource access for the homeless population and overcome socioeconomic barriers?
Hatch wants to leverage its resources and cross-sector partners to work with you and empower you to come up with game-changing solutions to these issues. Stay tuned in 2018 to learn how to be a part of the change. Until then, thank you for your continued support and participation in the Hatching Voices: Our American Story campaign. You have taught us what it means to be an active, inspired, and engaged member of our society. We wish you all a safe and happy holidays, and can’t wait to reconnect in the new year!
We’re still listening! If you are interested in sharing your story with the Hatching Voices campaign, please feel free to share your story here.
We want to hear your ideas! If you are interested in submitting an idea around a challenge you or your community has experienced, please send an e-mail with your name and idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog post was written by Shivangi Khargonekar, Executive Director of Hatch International.