Creating clarity through visualization: Unity Effect at the Global Festival of Action in Bonn

Between the 2nd and the 4th of May, you will be able to experience our most recent development: an interactive and real-time visualisation of the networks and connections taking place in Bonn at the SDG Global Festival of Action.

How do I know who else is working towards implementing the same Sustainable Development Goal? Which connections could I make where there is potential to synergise and co-create? How can I go about it in such a big event? These are some of the questions that many participants from the UN SGD Global Festival of Action might already be asking themselves. In response to these challenges, Unity Effect has developed an interactive tool for social network analysis which will be  run live during the festival. This tool allows a real-time visual representation of the conference, showing the new and existing connections, synergies and collaborations as they are forming.

You can see an updated version of the map here.

The map shows the possible connections between the participants, filtering by criteria such as SDGs, skills the participants could offer and need.

The process of Social Network Mapping, which uses a mix of commercial and bespoke software platforms, was conceptualized in collaboration with mechanical and systems engineer and systems and network science expert Pedro Portela. It is designed to enable attendants and participants to access valuable information about their existing and potential key partners. In our booth -located in the Innovations & Exhibitors area-,  festival participants will have the opportunity to enter details about their organization or initiative into the mapping tool. This information will then be visualized and projected onto a live screen. The data collected will also form the basis for mapping the broader SDGs field. 

According to Jannik Kaiser -one of the co-founders of Unity Effect-, the main inspiration behind the tool is to enable partnership building, connection between key players and the sharing of resources in a more intentional and effective  way. “We want to enable digital and social innovators, conscious entrepreneurs and brave change makers to step up and start co-creating our future. To achieve this goal, we link the approaches of transformational leadership with systems awareness, and therefore goal 17 (Partnership for the goals). This new approach to leadership requires a shift towards a greater awareness of the complex, interrelated systems that surround us at the same time as a greater level of inner clarity to be able to navigate these systems with integrity. Our current challenges cannot be solved in isolation – yet working together poses other challenges. Though our tool it is possible to identify organizations with similar purposes and intentions, and therefore building strong partnerships for achieving the SDGs”.

Inner clarity for outer action

The Social Network Mapping is also connected with one of the main purposes of Unity Effect: to empower deliberate action and meaningful change. At the center of our services (which include workshops, programs and, more recently, digital tools) is the aim of supporting individuals, teams and organisations throughout the process of developing inner clarity as a foundation for outer action. During the Global Festival of Action, attendants will also have the opportunity to visit our booth and learn and experience more about our different approaches, methods and tools to co-create change from the inside out.

In this way, Emily Johnston -co-founder of Unity Effect- sees the participation at the conference, and the network mapping in particular, as “a means to catalyze real change. To do this, we have to start with ourselves first. Solving complex problems, building healthy partnerships and working together to take strategic action in our complex world requires a different kind of mindset, capacities and tools than in the past. This includes systems awareness and tools for collaboration, as well as self-awareness, personal values and integrity”. Franziska Kohn -also one of our co-founders- adds to that that “’through our different services we aim to accompany and guide changemakers, students, social entrepreneurs and leaders on their path to discover, connect to and step into their full potential, in order to lead their ideas and projects, and co-create with others. Our aim is to develop the inner capacities which enable deliberate action”.

Unity Effect will be part of this year’s festival as an exhibitor at the Innovations area.

How to be part of the live mapping

If you are attending the Global Festival of Action, you will receive a sign-up email from SDG Action Campaign. If you want to be part of our Social Network Mapping, please make sure to respond to this email by entering your email address. The map will be available on the official homepage of the festival and during the festival itself. Email addresses will not be displayed and the information will not be shared with third parties beyond the mapping.

Your participation will enable that by the end of the festival, we will have an overview of the different initiatives in the SDG action space. By doing so, the idea is to demonstrate the value of social network mapping and to increase the visibility of the organizations, their goals and their relationships to each other.

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