Blog Posts January 17, 2019 0

New Year, New Me

Like many of you, I started working again last week. I lasted only one day back at PeaceTech Lab NL before I caught the New Year’s flu and had to stay at home. After some moping around and feeling very sorry for myself, I distracted myself from my rumbling stomach by checking my social media. All my friends and families were going on their first 2019 run, eating their first (of many) healthy salads and doing that extra push-up. Obviously, not all of us are inspired by the ‘new year, new me’ mentality. Even those that are have to admit that it feels a little artificial to treat January 1st differently from any other day. In fact, in many countries it is just another day.

The power for the new year for me is not looking ahead at what I’m planning to do newly this year, but how far I’ve come. A year seems long, but the global average lifespan is only 68 years for men and 72 years for women. In the Central African Republic, the lifespan is just under 51. A year is shorter than we think, and time always seems to fly by faster than we want it to.

January 1st is a good time to reflect on what things are similar and different than a year earlier. Perhaps you lost someone important to you this year, or maybe you found someone that means a lot to you. Perhaps you drank more water or read more books. I urge you to look beyond personal changes. What changed in your community? In the world? In your family? At your workplace?

We’re a young NGO, and we have only existed for a little over a year, so it is in our nature to move quickly, and we are not always good at being reflective. That being said, I  want to share the number one lesson that we at PeaceTech Lab NL learned this year. We pride ourselves on our innovative approach to data problems, but this also means that we meet others who work differently than ourselves. Second, since we work in innovation and co-develop new tools and services with our NGO-partners strict deadlines, strong project management is needed to avoid misunderstandings and delay in execution.

So what are we doing better in 2019? For one, we’ve added a project manager to our team who can manage this in the future. This is supported by broader working procedures, which means setting strict deadlines, building comprehensive work plans, communicating the status of projects, and making sure milestones are met. It’s a lot of work, but we’re optimistic we can continue to self-improve this year.

What are some things you learned in 2018? Let us know in the comments below. If one of the things you learned was that you want to use data more strategically this year, then please do let us know. We want to help you use data to make the most impact in 2019! Let me know by emailing!

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