ecosystem map

OPPORTUNITY, NOT PROBLEM

To understand the behavior of refugees in NYC, with a focus on legal requirements to daily activities, from recent settlement to two years in.

To understand the unique skills of refugees as related to language, cooking, entrepreneurship, and business.

To understand the emotional needs of refugees, with a focus on family, transitioning, and trauma.

1. Resource providers: IRC, Natakallam, Arab American Family Support Center, Maha Chocolate, Eat Offbeat, Sisterhood of Selam Shalom, Interfaith Voices

2. Key allies and complimentary movements:  Arab American Family Support Center, need to find more

3. Key stakeholders:  refugees, immigrants, social workers, entrepreneurs

4.Opponents and problem makers:  politicians, Trump,

5.Influential bystanders:  now-settled refugees

STEP 2: Identify the environmental conditions

1. Politics and administrative processes and structures: travel ban, current immigration laws, systemic racism, the wall

2. Economics: economic health, distribution of wealth, growth of markets, trends in fundraising

3. Geography & infrastructure: Arab and Eastern refugees have more restricted access than South American refugees, many refugees don’t have working

4. Societal norms and culture: norms, beliefs, values, cultural memes, social networks, demographic trends

5. Research:  scientific breakthroughs, relevant studies, impact trends

STEP 3: Create a visual map Many organizations complete steps one and two above in traditional strategic planning processes, but don’t take the next step of putting it all together in the form of a drawing or diagram. But if you do, that can be when the real insights and connections happen. 

STEP 4: Strategize! Ultimately, your map is useful only if it leads to insights and action plans: building more promising pathways for change, exploring new partnerships, identifying ways to change conditions in the external environment, determining more effective operating practices, etc.    With that in mind, make sure you devote time to reflect and draw conclusions.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking a few powerful questions to get dialogue going, listening carefully to the discussion that follows, and following the discussion through to the farthest point possible.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. What are the dilemmas or opportunities we see in our ecosystem map?

2. What conditions in our environment most need to change in order for us to make headway on our issue, and how can we influence and encourage that change? 

3. Are there key players or roles missing from our ecosystem? 

4. Is our organization (still) relevant? What new innovations or functions might we introduce to our ecosystem that would have the most positive impact? 

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