Archive for July, 2012

Jul/31/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Networks

Want to bridge? DISRUPT!

If you are a frequent reader of our blog you know that I am privileged to be one of the facilitators of the Barr Fellows Network, one of the best network building efforts that I know of.  The following is a blog post from the Social Capital Blog, it is written by Pat Brandes, President of the Barr Foundation and the one who conceived the idea.

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Jul/30/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Collaboration, Featured

Economic justice equals economic prosperity

We have had the privilege of working with Year Up since 2008, when they launched a diversity and inclusion process. That learning journey has built a broad-based understanding and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as central to achieving Year Up’s mission of bridging and closing the “opportunity divide” that prevents so many urban young people from connecting to educational and economic opportunities.

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Your Soul’s Companion

“Your task is not to seek for love, 

But merely to seek and find 

All the barriers within yourself 

That you have built against it.  

Looking at my life,

I see that only Love 

Has been my soul’s companion.

From deep inside

My soul cries out:

‘Do not wait, surrender,

For the sake of Love…’”

– Jallaludin Rumi

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Jul/26/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

The Story of Change

It is hard to believe that I may have to convince some people that 6 minutes is worth their time to watch this, but seriously, think of how easy it is to fritter away that time in other ways.  This is well worth the watch, as is reading Bill McKibben’s recent piece in Rolling Stone Magazine.  Both the video above and the McKibben article put much in perspective and remind us why climate change is a fight we cannot afford to lose.  They also confirm why it is so important to come together as a community to share solutions, ideas, and positive energy.  For an opportunity to do this in New England this fall, check out Connecting for Change.

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Jul/24/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Structural Transformation

Be Fearless

I met Katya Fels Smyth about four years ago at the Opportunity Collaboration, I remember sitting next to her on the bus to the conference site and being immediately intrigued by her passion and by the very idea of a Full Frame Initiative. It so happens that Ceasar McDowell, our new IISC President is on the Board of the Full Frame Initiative. We are truly proud to have him be our “Fearless Leader.” The following blogpost was written by Katya for the Case Foundation’s  Fearless Campaign.  Here is my favorite line: “be agnostic as to ‘issue’ but laser focused on people”

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Jul/23/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Collaboration

Differential Impact

The following post was re-blogged from Working Wikily written by Dana O’Donovan.  We hope that you find it as inspiring and enriching as we did.  

The key themes of the 2012 Social Impact Exchange were all about collaboration. Collective intelligence. Community solutions. Needle-moving collaborations. Collective impact. Much has been made of this new brand of collaboration and it was clear at SIEX12 that many of us who spend our days (and nights) looking for ways to scale solutions to our most vexing social problems see enormous potential in this approach.

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Jul/20/12//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

Simplifying Complexity

“Simplicity often lies on the other side of complexity.”

-Eric Berlow

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Jul/19/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Land, People, and Place

“I believe that we can restore our hope in a world that transcends race by building communities where self-esteem comes not from feeling superior to any group but from one’s relationship to the land, to the people, and to the place.” 

- bell hooks

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Jul/18/12//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

The Measure of Our Experience

“We become what we measure.”

- Whole Measures mantra

Click here to view this video

Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of partnering with colleagues from IISC and the Center for Whole Communities to offer our course, Whole Measures: Transforming Communities by Measuring What Matters Most, at beautiful Knoll Farm in Vermont.  The weather and the participants did not disappoint, and the entire experience spoke to the power of paying attention to and naming what matters most as a point of departure for creating and measuring wholeness in communities and organizations.  We broke bread together, engaged in dialogue and storytelling, sat around the campfire, took in the richness of the Mad River Valley landscape, laughed, cried, and even got our groove on a bit.

Enjoy a taste of the experience in the video to which the link above leads (click on the image).  And please consider joining us for a future session and other opportunities at the Interaction Institute for Social Change and CWC.

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Jul/17/12//Gibrán Rivera//Structural Transformation

Organizing or Mobilizing

Marty Kearns, our friend at Netcentric Advocacy, tackles an important distinction and invites us to strategize with the difference in mind.  I found this this to be an excellent piece for advocates.

Organizing and Mobilizing – 2 Distinct Strategies in Your Advocacy Effort.

I have been struggling lately to get more clarity on the concepts of organizing and mobilizing. These are terms of art in my world but often see the concepts mashed together.  These terms do not mean the same thing in an advocacy context and BOTH are very important.

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Jul/16/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Structural Transformation

Engagement before Efficiency

In this post, Jeremy Liu (an esteemed IISC Board member) encourages the community development field “to figure out how to embrace the strengths of our past as a movement, even more so than becoming more established as an industry.” I think this is wise advice for many fields in the nonprofit sector, where so many organizations and institutions emerged from resistance movements and have passed through various stages of institutionalization and even bureaucratization. Jeremy ends with an important invitation for the community development field that could easily be for all of us: “it will continue to be important for our field to question itself, to ask itself what we want to create for our communities, to ask ourselves how to best achieve that vision for the future. We must be prepared to put aside past industrial practices and perhaps embrace emergence and people once again.”

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Jul/13/12//IISC//Featured, What We Are Reading

Musings from the Blogosphere

IISC is proud to release our first eBook, Musings from the Blogosphere, featuring the writings of our founding Executive Director, Marianne Hughes. Marianne recently left her position as executive director to take some well deserved time off before returning in the fall to continue her client work as a senior consultant. Click here to read a PDF version of this special compilation of posts from our blog, or look for it in the iTunes bookstore to read a free, interactive iBook version.

And, stayed tuned for more free eBooks from IISC in the coming months!

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Jul/12/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Generation Food Project

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Jul/11/12//Curtis Ogden//Collaboration

Planning vs. Doing?

It often emerges as a core tension in our complex multi-stakeholder change work.  It’s embodied in comments such as, “Let’s stop all this talking and start doing something!”  Or, “I’m not a big process person, I just want to get to action.”

In the New England Regional Food Summit two weeks ago, speaker Rich Pirog raised the importance of trying to find, in an ongoing fashion, a balance between process and action.  This he has learned from doing many years of building regional food networks in the Midwest. It is certainly the case that we can over-talk, over-think and over-process together, driving one another crazy and/or from the room.  And we can also jump blindly, prematurely, and harmfully to action.

So how do we strike an artful balance and keep differently oriented people in the game?  A few thoughts:

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Jul/10/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Networks

IISC as Network Beaver

No.  It’s not a typo!  I know you are used to hearing us talk about the importance of network weavers.  But June Holly’s recent post on Network Beavers spoke directly to the heart of what we do here at IISC.

“Network beavers create gatherings that pool network assets, relationships, and energy in a space of dynamic and complex adaptive interaction.”

Yes! IISC is a Network Beaver, this is what we do and what we help you do.  We work with you to facilitate and design the spaces that bring networks to life.

Here is June’s Blog Post:

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Jul/09/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Featured, Love

Love: Simple and Practical

We spend a lot of time at IISC thinking about how to talk about and practice love as a force for social change. Mike Edwards claimed in 2003 that “that the future of our world depends on how successful we are in developing and applying a new social science of love… applied in and through the systems that are essential to the functioning of all successful societies…[This kind of love is best illuminated by Rev. Dr.] Martin Luther King’s philosophy of the “love that does justice”, signifying the deliberate cultivation of mutually-reinforcing cycles of personal and systemic change…

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Jul/05/12//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Inside

Features of Healthy Living Systems

In a rich and recent conversation about the upgrade of our very popular course, Facilitative Leadership, IISC deliverers addressed the question of which main points to instill through the addition of a new and framing segment on systems thinking.  I offered the comment that we need to be sure to say that systems thinking is not monolithic, that there are different schools of thought and approaches within the field, and that we must also be clear about what our underlying cosmology is regarding systems thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul/04/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Feeding Our Interdependence

Regular readers of this blog will know of my work around and passion about food systems.  Food, as Growing Power founder Will Allen once put it, is “the great connector.”  So much comes together in what we eat, including: chains (more ideally cycles) of producers, processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and composters; global and local providers; considerations of environment, economy, and equity/access; cultural traditions; and of course community when we bake and break bread together.  On this July 4th holiday, as conversations heat up around the region, country, and world, about the importance of remembering what literally sustains us, I want to celebrate the food movement and share 10 of the more inspiring and instructive articles, reports and videos I have come across in the past year or so.  Enjoy and Happy Interdependence Day! Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul/03/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, IISC:Inside

Leadership Transition

Last Thursday we celebrated almost 20 years of visionary leadership by our founding executive director, Marianne Hughes.  Today we welcome Ceasar McDowell as the new President of the Interaction Institute for Social Change.

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Jul/02/12//Marianne Hughes//Featured, IISC:Inside

Marianne’s Celebration Remarks

While my name was on the invitation and my personal passage was the catalyst for this celebration, it really is an acknowledgement of the work of each and every one of you in this room. As you look around it is important to know that you are in the company of people who have answered that powerful question posed in the Mary Oliver poem, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” by deciding to spend their every day making the world a better place. And for this I honor you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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