Posted in Structural Transformation

October 15, 2012

What is Good Work?

“No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted.” Olive Schreiner

I couldn’t agree more! We’re fond of a related quote that “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” Bill O’Brien

I know that it’s hard for me to do good work when I’m fretful, exhausted or feeling insecure.

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October 8, 2012

How to Design Culture

The following blog post was reblogged from Emergent By Design.  We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!  

*Our source was initially and inadvertently omitted. We apologize for the mistake.  

I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of organizations over the years that want to shift their culture to become more diverse, inclusive and equitable. The article we are posting below is about changing culture in general. What specific applications do you see for shifting organizational culture toward greater diversity, inclusiveness and equity?

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September 25, 2012

Process and Culture

I’m a process junky.  I believe that good process makes it possible to do things that would be impossible otherwise.  Any effort ambitious enough to try and shift a system from competition to common intention is an effort that must rely on good process.  Good process provides and often temporary social architecture that is designed and facilitated to maximize generative collaboration.

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September 18, 2012

#Occupy – Year 1

I love the fact that the mainstream can’t get its head around what #occupy is all about.  I am glad the movement does not fit a pre-existing paradigm.

I love the fact that occupiers themselves find no consensus on what #occupy is all about.  It means the movement is still emergent and therefore most alive.

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September 11, 2012

Emergent Strategy

There is nothing wrong with strategic planning – except when we believe that strategy unfolds as planned.  A good strategic planning process is one that crystalizes our intention.  It is the process through which we articulate a clear vision of where we want to go.  And it is how we come to a clear agreement on which direction we are going to take.  It is not insurance on the future.  The map can never be the territory.

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September 3, 2012

Happy 130th Birthday

Happy 130th Birthday, [Organized] Labor Day!

On this Labor Day, let’s remember its origins in the ranks of organized labor. But first, a look at which workers we’re celebrating today.

Who’s unionized now?  (Source: Huffington Post: Labor Day History: 11 Facts You Need to Know)

Service station attendants 96,000

Musicians, singers and related workers 179,000

Bakers 183,000

Pharmacists 232,000

Firefighters: 258,000

Chefs and head cooks: 281,000

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 286,000

Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists: 718,000

Farmers and ranchers 825,000

Teachers 6.5 million

Not to mention health care workers, police and many other professions.

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July 24, 2012

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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July 17, 2012

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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July 16, 2012

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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June 5, 2012

Evolvable

Last week we started to take a look at Kevin Kelly’s take on the benefits of swarm systems.  We are wondering what are the implications for movement builders.  We looked at how important it is for us to be adaptable.

Kelly also says that swarm systems are evolvable.  He says that these are:

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May 25, 2012

Rice on Strategy


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

Gibran,

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.

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