Posted in Social Innovation

February 24, 2014

Why Movement Is the Killer App for Nonprofits

Movement

Enjoy these simple and powerful guidelines from Beth Kanter about how movement makes meetings and workshops more productive. This is great advice for getting beyond designing for “brains on sticks” as my colleague Curtis Ogden likes to say.

As a trainer and facilitator who works with nonprofit organizations and staffers, you have to be obsessed with learning theory to design and deliver effective instruction, have productive meetings, or embark on your own self-directed learning path. Learning theory is an attempt to describe how people learn. There are many learning theories and can be categorized in different ways:

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May 8, 2013

Openness is Opportunity

Open

|Photo by Mike Licht|http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/6786051819|

Sometimes people call openness in group process and social engagement “disorganized” or “unstructured.”  I find this to be a misperception and, frankly, unhelpful.  Openness is differently organized and structured.  It is different from many of the talking-at, entertainment-oriented, consumer-creating, and being-numbing settings to which we have grown accustomed.

Openness can certainly create discomfort, in part because it calls on us to step up and reach out, not hunker down and hide.  It asks us to take responsibility and consider questions like, “What do I value?”  “How do I want to contribute?”  “What can we create here?”  Openness is opportunity if we choose to act, knowing that through the perceived risk and any felt discomfort lies greater purpose, meaning and vitality.

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April 10, 2013

Design for Public Engagement

Not my job

|Image by Andy Mangold|http://www.flickr.com/photos/andymangold/4335799638/in/photostream|

In his post yesterday, Seth Godin offers up sage advice for designers of all kinds, including “social architects” like ourselves who are aiming to create convenings and collaborative processes that bring out the best in people and lead to greater social justice and regenerativity.  Among his points: Read More

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February 10, 2011

Design Unleashed

design unleashed

|Photo by Sebastian-Dario|http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastian-silva/2207382770|

Paola Antonelli has appeared in various posts on this blog over the past couple of years as one of our favorite purveyors of design thinking and its application to social change.  Now Antonelli is really stepping out.  In an article for SEED Magazine, the senior curator of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art holds out a whole new and exciting realm of application for design – policymaking, governance, and social agendas. Read More

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December 6, 2010

Human Sized Social Change

community

My friends at the Engage Network recently asked me this provocative question:

What does it mean to create social change that is “human sized” and prioritizes people and relationships, rather than prioritizing large email lists, or campaigns, or raising money?  What does that mean to you and YOUR work in the world?

Here is my first take at an answer: Read More

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November 8, 2010

The Artisan

artisan

“Everyone today has to be an artisan and bring something extra to their jobs.”  This says Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.  I’m not sure I like where he is coming from, it sounds a little bit like adding obscure features to a DVD player.  But I do like the point.  I like this idea of being artisans, of engaging our work as a craft, adding meaning to our tasks by putting our own signature on what we do.

Somewhere beyond Friedman’s capitalistic “do more,” in places outside the yupified fields of trendy taste, there is significant power to the work of an artisan.  For example, the work of social change has become so professionalized that it is often disconnected from the depths of purpose that could unleash transformation.  But by thinking of ourselves as artisans our own self-expression can actually serve connection, it can bring us closer to that place where hearts can meet.

Consider the purpose of your work, then think of what you do every day…  how much more of yourself could you bring to this field where we toil?  What’s your craft?  What is it that you can create?

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August 3, 2010

Web of Change – Part 2

Web of Change - Innovation and Collaboration to Transform our World

Lots of anticipation around this year’s Web of Change!  I am on the facilitation team as well as one of the hosts for the event.  Hosts have been asked to launch this year’s conversation through a series of thought pieces that will be posted on  webofchange.com every week until our convening begins.  I have the honor of launching our “WOC Thought Bomb Series,” with the following reflections on “Paradigm Next and the Intersection.”  Click here to read, and please do share your responses!

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July 27, 2010

Web of Change 10:10 – The Intersection

Web of Change - Innovation and Collaboration to Transform our World

The recent Shirley Sherrod debacle unfolds with a thousand lessons, among these are the very fact that whether we have a black President or not, the issue of race is alive and well in the United States.  The incident also points to the potentially explosive concoction of new media technology and a 24hr “news” cycle, of the politics of spectacle and a culture of fear among our “leaders.”  Even as technology is changing everything – our deepest wounds are yet to heal, and our suppressed demons continue to show their many heads.

This being said – I am an optimist!  I trust the directionality of our current paradigm shift.   Read More

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