butterfly, what is it?



Initially published February 2014

Butterfly is something I have been seriously working on for about 10 months now. A question I've been asked literally hundreds of times (okay, a couple dozen so far) is "What is Butterfly, exactly?"

Butterfly is about:

· Young people doing something about social issues that affect them.

· Capturing innovative ideas and facilitating action safely and transparently.

· Enabling and accelerating the building of relationships and capacity of young people, donors, and community leaders.

· Engaging and connecting like-minded young people to bring about change in their world.

For this blog post I'm going to briefly discuss the concept and why I think its important - a more thorough examination of the features/benefits will be part of the next blog post on this topic, where I will also explain the product/service development methodology I am following.


In short, Butterfly will be a social network that connects the ideas of young people to both the donor community and to a community of project specialists/coordinators. The ideas are generated by young people, with some help from community organizers, volunteers, and program directors to help scope and develop the idea so that it is both attractive to a community of donors. There will be no restrictions on the types of ideas that the volunteers bring forward.

The aim is to take away the stigma associated with "failing", and to derive ideas from those closest to the problems or opportunity areas in their community - the citizens themselves. Here not only would young citizens be the people generating the ideas: should the ideas by embraced by the donor community. The donor community is open to everybody.

So why is this important?

Young people, I believe, know what kind of change they would like to see in the world. Also, I believe that they have the energy and passion to actually change things. At the same time, the opportunities they are presented with are too frequently "top down", and they are merely asked to participate and get behind someone elses idea, which they may not actually believe in.

Secondly, the relationship building between donors and those wanting to improve their community take too long to build and relies too much on luck. So, what I am proposing to do is enable and accelerate this relationship building through viable project creation and matching of interests.

Third, and maybe most importantly, many of the traditional methods of delivering value to communities are breaking down and are showing too many signs of stress. What I firmly believe we need is a service that both generates awareness and gets things moving from the "grass-roots" - from those closest to and most affected by the problem; by those who see the opportunity in the first place.

All they need is a way to start.

Why "Butterfly"
The true inspiration of the name is deeply personal and meaningful to me, and that inspiration will remain private.

However, what I can say is that there are other multiple meanings that can be ascribed to the name, ranging from the metamorphosis a caterpillar goes through, to chaos theory. All are intended, and are meant to be captured by the name. There is also concept of rebirth within the name, with the powerful concept of one flourishing and discovering their true nature through engagement with people in their communities.