Reos Partners worked with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) (www.soros.org) between 2007-2008 to support the development and deployment of an innovative new online collaboration platform called “KARL”. The OSF realized that they needed a tool to support sharing and collaboration across a diverse set of stakeholders within the distributed global community. There was a sense that this would be critical to more fully deliver on the mission “to build vibrant and more tolerance democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens”. After much consultation OSF realized they wanted to work with a flexible open source platform (partly to mirror the organization’s values), that was not cost prohibitive, could be easily deployed around the world and that served the needs of the staff in OSF, the foundations and their grantees.
Reos’ work had three phases to it. Firstly we focused on co-designing and delivering the process to engage people across the OSF global offices and their international foundation network to understand the organizational challenges and the functional areas that the platform was attempting to address.
Once the core of the platform had been developed, we designed and ran a retreat in Budapest that brought together key stakeholders across the broader system. This event was designed to both understand the current unmet needs, to explore options for collaboration and to build a community of champions to support the rollout of the KARL platform.
Finally, once that platform was operational Reos worked to support the core KARL team developing a strategy to share KARL more widely with other NGO organizations that were trying to do similar work in the world. We facilitated several of the early meetings and we are excited to see this community is continuing to grow (www.karlproject.org).