RedCloud is a digital platform where Volunteers and Staff Members from the Italian Red Cross are enabled to share best practices through peer-to-peer communication, develop a network, find innovative tools and opportunities to initiate new activities or better monitor and manage existing ones.
The RedCloud project kicked off in 2018, with the aim of providing the Italian Red Cross a concrete tool to overcome conditions of fragility derived from communication gaps between the local branches and the central level and inequality of opportunities or resources within branches. Furthermore, it aimed to boost continuous improvement and renovation of existing activities. As a long-term goal, the platform aims to generate a systemic change in the Association at all its levels, developing the know-how and skills to innovate its humanitarian action and adapt it to the upcoming challenges.
Technical details & Operations
The RedCloud portal can be accessed by any Volunteer or Staff Member of the Italian Red Cross by logging into Gaia, the Italian Red Cross intranet.
The project foresees the realization of 3 digital environments:
- «Il Magazzino delle buone pratiche» («The best practices warehouse»), where the most inspiring activities are mapped and available for consulting by any user accessing the platform. Any Red Cross Volunteer or Staff Member can upload a best practice run by his branch by filling a form. Afterwards data are validated by the local, regional and national deputies in order to authorize its posting and make sure the content fulfills the platform conditions. Instructions on how to identify a best practice are available in the portal and specify the general features that any good practice should have, such as:
- Addressing to significant objectives
- Measurable through quality indicators
- Providing an innovative solution
- Engaging a particular target of people
- Involving new technologies
Each best practice is posted filling specific fields which make sure all the relevant pieces of information are collected, including links to further webpages, costs, needed resources and contact person to get more details.
The «Warehouse» allows users to enjoy and interacting experience, as they have the possibility to post a comment on every best practice page or use a «Like» function inspired from the most common social networks. In the latest version of the portal some further features have been implemented to improve the usability:
- A new set of dynamic filter icons, which can be adapted to the contents of the best practices uploaded;
- A search bar to filter content by keywords;
- A FAQ section, which collects and updates all the frequented asked questions.
- «Innovation Hub»: this area is designed to facilitate innovation process and addresses to branches that have new ideas or projects in order to provide them with resources and tools for its realization or improvement in terms of sustainability and repeatability. Volunteers will have the chance to apply for advanced trainings and tools dedicated to foster social innovation throughout the association.
The Italian Red Cross would support the local branches through 3 main phases:
- Scouting suitable ideas or projects
- Support the initial phase: incubation through coaching, mentoring, etc.
- Financing: acceleration through private or public financing, crowdfunding, etc.
- «Sportello Sviluppo» («Development Desk»): this area is designed to support the development of all the Italian Red Cross branches providing resources, project management tools and financing opportunities, e.g. tender notices. The Desk is targeted to those branches which are not developed or have more difficulties on carring on their activities, due to financial or management lack. In this space local branches will have access to information on how apply and be supported by the National Committee of the IRC in: analyzing their needs, planning and implementing long-term development actions in different areas (e.g. training, fundraising, campaigning, digitalization etc), designing new project proposal and get access to national and local call for proposals/tenders.
While the best practice warehouse is already online, the Innovation Hub and the Development Desk are still under development and expected to roll out during 2021.
Deployment & Impact
Platform deployment (2018-until March 2021):
– The concept note of RedCloud was approved in the autumn 2018 and showed off to the Volunteers during the annual national IRC event “Jump 2018”, in Rome.
– The first version of the platform went online through a demo on June, 2019. A first meeting with 5 pilot branches took place in Solferino 2019, in order to test the new features, collect and integrate the feedback from the Volunteers.
– In November 2019, a second meeting took place in Milan. More than 25 Volunteers and Staff Members took part in the event working together to define a framework for the evaluation and recognition of the best practices in the Italian Red Cross.
– During 2020 the platform was restyled in order to improve the user experience.
While the form to upload best practices was simplified, more focus has been placed in creating interactive functions such as the like button and the comment field.
– Starting from January 2021 the Red Cloud staff is carrying out webinars and trainings to spread the updates on the platform and engage the local branches.
– Further developments and improvements are being assessed and forecasted in order to extend the platform functionalities. In 2021, the expected core activities and deliverables are the following:
- Launching a creative contest to identify new contents and features (e.g. reactions);
- Developing a content management system which includes multi-level accounts for content editing and validation;
- Identifying a set of reliable indicators for the recognition of the best practices and for measuring their impact.
– In a long-term perspective, one of the planned features is the “Carta dei Servizi” function. The platform will support mapping all the activities run by any level and this will lead to a clearer overview of available resources and needs. This knowledge will be valued in planning the resources and services to dispatch through the organization, avoiding jeopardizing areas or services of absolute need and strengthening the whole association.
Results and impact of the platform (2019- March 2021):
– Around 50 best practices published on the platform;
– Around 15 new best practices uploaded on the platform and still under evaluation;
– 3 national meetings involving Volunteers, Staff Members and Delegates from regional and local branches;
– 12 info webinars carried out at regional level with more than 500 volunteers involved and around 300 local branches represented;
– 3 promotional videos released;
– a document “What is a best practice for the Italian Red Cross” delivered and uploaded on the platform.