How Technology is Changing GNSI !
Article and graphic by Amelia Janes
I studied art in the 70s and 80s. We learned art history, participated in exhibits and group critiques, experimented with materials, and worked to develop a “style” or point of view for expression. Computers and the “world wide web” were barely in the mainstream. Classes about the business end of making art and being a professional were nonexistent, at least for me it seemed so. Most artists I knew that were successful moved to a large urban area and made cold calls and knocked on doors while waiting tables and other “day” jobs, or already knew professionals in the business.
When I joined GNSI in 1991, summer conferences gave me the inspiration and networking I desired. I learn best by doing, and helping run a national conference appealed to me. But I did not have a GNSI chapter or local members to team with, and taking on conference planning seemed daunting without local help to rely on. As internet communication and business practices advanced, so did the possibilities of working with teams in various locations across the country. Online project management applications, in this case Basecamp, appeared as a way for GNSI members to work collaboratively. I was skeptical at first, but as I participated in this tool, I began to appreciate the organic and fluid ways that I could contribute with a large team of GNSI members located across the country to do something phenomenal such as run a professional international organization and annual conference.
There are many such applications used in business today, we chose the application Basecamp for many reasons. Here’s some tidbits about how online project management has worked effectively for GNSI.
Reduced email clutter. Online project management formats and archives discussions so that its easy to follow and find for reference. No need for strings of group discussions to get buried in work and personal emails. Team members can control their email notifications to their preference, and have notifications sent to the device of their preference.
Confidence in tracking schedules and meeting deadlines. Online project management links To-Do lists with the master Schedule and sends automatic reminders to specific individuals. Team members and coordinators can easily follow the progress of all tasks and deadlines. If a team member gets in the weeds with a task, another team member can easily step in to help and keep the planning on schedule.
Less re-inventing the wheel. GNSI national conferences move locations every year, and each venue has some conditions unique to that location. Through project templates, a great deal of GNSI conference planning is now standardized and teams can build upon past accomplishments and year to year success.
Ease of transition. Gone are the boxes of paperwork and physical files outgoing Board and Committee members had to physically ship to incoming new volunteers. Important documents are easier to search and locate, and ongoing improvements to GNSI’s infrastructure and operations are now digitally archived and easily tracked.
Introverts rule! This is my favorite part of using online project management. I can be an introvert AND a mover and a shaker. I can take time to respond to discussion points thoughtfully with a bit of research to back up my ideas. I can create my own check lists and do all of this all during my off hours and yes! wearing pajamas.
Want to learn more about Basecamp? There are lots of on-line tutorials and links to Youtube and BC3’s own help pages.