Palo Alto, Meet Guadalajara: How HP cut across international and technological barriers to deliver powerful pro bono.
HP has thousands of highly qualified project managers in every corner of the world. They are experts at distilling the complex needs of their clients into implementable project scopes.
HP also boasts thousands of nonprofit partners around the globe. Many of these nonprofits have complex organizational needs that require just the analytical expertise that these HP project managers can provide in scoping targeted, solution-driven projects.
What happens if these project managers and nonprofits are thousands of miles apart? Pure pro bono magic.
Successes, challenges, new potential
The HP Guadalajara ScopeAthon in November 2012 defied the traditional boundaries of pro bono by connecting a team of project managers in California with nonprofit leaders in Guadalajara, Mexico. Using HP’s video-conferencing technology, the project managers – sitting in both Palo Alto and San Diego – led the Guadalajara-based nonprofit through a scoping exercise that yielded a specific scope of work for a marketing strategy project.
“It was impressive to see how technology can bring people close together so quickly,” noted Sofia Becerra of Guadalajara’s Estipac Rural Higher Education Center. “Talking to people from the US gave us a good perspective on what our problems were and different ideas on how to solve them.”
Stuart Greenbaum, an HP project manager based in San Diego, commented that working across cultural and national boundaries “strengthened my international business acumen.” He added that “offering this type of virtual and international experience to professionals should be tremendously beneficial and is experience that is difficult to get otherwise.”
Of course, the scoping across so many boundaries did present challenges. “It was hard because we didn’t have much material in English, and I had to translate,” noted Sofia. Also, the scoping session required ample time to become acquainted with the nonprofit’s specific operating environment.
Despite these challenges, the scoping session proved that a virtual approach to pro bono can be highly successful, and – more importantly – can generate ever more creative collaboration between professionals and nonprofit leaders.