Posted in Structural Transformation

May 21, 2012

Strategy and Tactics

 

I just read a helpful Upmarket blog post on the distinction between strategy and tactic.  It was almost a relief to know that the business sector also struggles with the distinction.  Confusing these two terms has led to a lot of trouble in our work for social change.

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May 1, 2012

Lessons from Frances

Today is May Day.  A few weeks ago I had the unique opportunity to share some ideas about working with complexity with a group of funders who are committed to social justice.  It was quite an honor to sit in the same panel as the great Frances Fox Piven and the amazing Ai-Jen Poo.

Ai-Jen was recently named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. I’ve been following her work for a while and I can tell you that the mention is well deserved.  Frances has influenced, informed and inspired thousands of people who have committed their life to this work.

In the presence of such an elder and a luminary anyone would be a fool not to take notes.  I thought I would share some highlights from Frances’ talk with you: Read More

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April 30, 2012

How will you use power?

 We often focus on the understanding of power as a process and as a social construct. As Beth Roy says, “power is not something you have; it’s something you do.” I was struck by a contrast as I listened to a brief story this morning about Lyndon B. Johnson.

Biographer Robert Caro described Johnson as having “no power” as Vice President because the Kennedy’s didn’t want him to have any. When President Kennedy was assassinated, he suddenly had all the power conferred by that office. Read More

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April 25, 2012

Three Years Later

Last weekend I had a most unique privilege.  I facilitated the final retreat of a three-year process.  I have been working with the Barrboletas, the Barr Fellows cohort of 2009, since their inaugural learning journey to Brazil in June of that year.  We have a book worth of documentation.  The fellowship as a whole will be highlighted in the May issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  This post is a celebration of their last retreat as a cohort – they will continue to participate in an exciting plethora of network activities as they are moved and able.

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April 23, 2012

Process sows the seeds of Peace and Justice

Wonder why I’m passionate about collaborative process and strong, creative process design?

Join us at Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work on May 8-9 in Boston to explore these ideas and more!

You can’t have peace or justice without it. Consider the following:

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.” So says Nigerian human rights and democracy activist, Hafsat Abiola. Her words echo those of John Paul Lederach , who wrote in The Moral Imagination that peace is not a condition—a process through which people can build relationships conflicting parties and continually engage to create a reality where “the other” continues to exist.

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April 10, 2012

On Planning

 

Last week Seth wrote a blog post titled When execution gets cheaper, so should planning.  Provocative statement, specially when planning is at the score of your business!

Here is how he concludes:

The goal should be to have the minimum number of meetings and scenarios and documentation necessary to maximize the value of execution. As it gets faster and easier to actually build the thing, go ahead and make sure the planning (or lack of it) keeps pace.

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April 4, 2012

A U-turn for Youth Opportunities

This post comes courtesy of staff from the Center for Arab American Philanthropy who attended the convening in Michigan that Cynthia and I facilitated last week. As the post mentions, youth played a key role in the proceedings, offering up moving testimonials and powerful elements of a vision for moving the state forward to a place of opportunity for all . . .

Concerned with issues of youth opportunity and racial equity in Michigan, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) hosted State of Opportunity? The Road Ahead for Michigan on March 27. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) was in attendance, representing the Arab American community while the convening tackled structural racism in philanthropy and “cradle to career” grantmaking. Read More

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April 2, 2012

Simple Tools, Powerful Possibilities

 

Last week, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with a delegation from Egypt—four young men who were involved in the April 6th revolution and continue to work for democracy in Egypt. They were at the end of a three week tour of the U.S. focused on the role of social media in politics and elections.They were frankly surprised that here, in the country that gave birth to Facebook, Twitter and Google, we not doing more with social media to advance our democracy. Their visit with IISC was to focus on some of the social technology that fuels social change work. Still, I thought to myself, “No pressure!”

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March 30, 2012

Post-Industrial Education

“The New American Academy does a tremendous job of nurturing relationships. Since people learn from people they love, education is fundamentally about the relationship between a teacher and student.”

The following post is a commentary from Stowe Boyd – The New American Academy: Post-Industrial At Last.  It called my attention because it makes a link between education and collaboration, learning and relationship. See what you all think! 

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December 27, 2011

Interaction

I’ve been reflecting on five years of work here at the Interaction Institute for Social Change.  As inside so outside.  My life has changed dramatically over the last five years.  And so has the world.  Seriousness about social transformation, commitment to the evolutionary process, a burning thirst for justice – a posture that demands sharp attunement with the present moment.

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