May/31/12//Curtis Ogden//What We Are Reading
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
-William Stafford, from “A Ritual to Read to One Another”
This is a slightly edited re-post of something I wrote a couple of years ago, and it came back to mind during conversations these past few days with a group of conservation biologists about how to create more of a compelling case for their work, and also to better understand where various stakeholders (allies and adversaries) are coming from with respect to preserving precious natural resources. The point has been made several times and in different ways that narrative speaks louder than numbers, and that in our change work, it helps if we become acquainted with the stories of others, and work ultimately at weaving ourselves into something more collective. Read the rest of this entry »
May/25/12//IISC//Featured, Structural Transformation
The following post is from IISC’s Founder and Board Chair, Thomas Rice, he writes in response to Gibran’s recent post on Strategy and Tactics.
This is a timely conversation to focus on, important on a number of dimensions. But you wisely place strategy in the context of the larger matrix: going macro toward mission, vision and values; going micro toward tactics.
But, first of all, to the definitions. Intuitively, we all know the centrality of strategy, whether we define it or not. The Obama administration is being blamed for “a failed strategy” in pulling us out of the recession; Apple lost the initial technology battle to Microsoft because they had a “flawed strategy”( failure to see the leverage of licensing the product). So, what is this thing we all claim to know so much about?
The word strategy is derived from the Greek(isn’t everything!) strategia, meaning “generalship”, itself a compound of two words–stratos (army) and agein (to lead). Note the implicit connection between strategy and leadership.
Read the rest of this entry »
The following post was written by Adam Pattantyus, VP for Development of EASE (Environmental Accountability for a Sustainable Earth) and friend of IISC. Adam and his colleagues are thought leaders around integrated systems for supporting and augmenting large-scale social change. They are also purveyors of a collaborative on-line stakeholder engagement tool that incorporates financial exchange to leverage the power of purchasing to fund community initiatives. Here Adam reflects on some of the shortcomings of social change efforts with respect to integration and recapturing and reshaping the marketplace for community and civil society benefit, for which his work with EASE is meant to provide an answer. He also speaks to the importance of engaging cross-sectoral work in the pursuit of lasting change.
As a participant and leader in change and social change over the past 20 years, here are some typical blind spots that I see as holding back social change efforts: Read the rest of this entry »
May/23/12//Curtis Ogden//Race, Class, Power
“Somebody’s gotta tell them, that we are not ghosts, that we are in this city and we are alive!”
- Jessica Care Moore
Feeling nostalgic, shaken, stirred, and inspired during my current trip to Michigan, and my first return visit to my hometown of Flint in 15 years. So much here has changed: foreclosures – 2,000 last year alone, 40% of all property parcels in the city are vacant or abandoned, jobs have disappeared now to the point of 25% unemployment, 36% of all residents live in poverty, half of the student population in the public schools has left in the last 10 years resulting in numerous school closings including my high school, of those students that remain 81% qualify for free lunch. And the flip side, there are anchor institutions, physical landmarks, and stalwart active citizens (thank you, Sylvester Jones and Harold Ford, among others!) that remain and provide some sense of backbone, continuity, and hope. Read the rest of this entry »