January 12, 2010

The Purpose Bubble

Thanks to the Harvard Bookstore, I had the pleasure of joining some of my IISC colleagues at a Daniel Pink talk last week at the Brattle.  In Drive, his latest book, Pink argues that aside from the commonly understood motivators of need and desire for reward, we are specially motivated by our desire for autonomy, purpose and mastery.  In his talk, Pink pointed out that the baby boomers are now reaching a stage in life that is defined by purpose, the desire to do something meaningful, to contribute to something grater than their selves.

I suspect that many boomers reading this blog have devoted much of their lives to the work of social change and so they might not be dealing with the same angst.  Nevertheless it is worth noting that since boomers comprise the largest population bubble, they are the ones that have defined the last few decades.  Read More

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January 11, 2010

Being Googley



In IISC’s first mailing of the year (sent, as is our tradition, in the form of an old-fashioned postcard beautifully designed by Kristen Hughes) we quote Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? on the front of the card with his oft-repeated words: “Do what you do best and link to the rest”.

In the accompanying copy, we interpret that phrase as a powerful strategic directive for the sector:

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January 7, 2010

Re-Solution to Change


|Photo by katerha||

Legion are not just the excuses but the explanations behind the excuses for not living up to our annual New Year’s resolutions.  I know these excuses and theorizing about the real reasons for my failings quite well.  And yet this year I remain hopeful that I will have more success in honoring my commitments, thanks in part to the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey.  In their book Immunity to Change, the authors lay out a handy set of questions that I believe shed valuable insight on how individuals and groups might hold themselves more accountable to genuine and realistic change aspirations.

In analyzing the pattern of a failed change effort, Kegan and Lahey suggest that we answer the following:

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January 6, 2010

Thinking About Design

I’ve spent a fair amount of time these last few days exploring the book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds. It’s an amazing book – and he spends quite a bit of time teaching about how to avoid “Death by PowerPoint.” I’m totally intrigued – and want to rethink (and perhaps more importantly, re-imagine and mess around with) some of the many ways we get information across in presentations – and in the written recordings we make of meetings.

Reynolds rightfully shows that what we do in PowerPoint is often driven by the software itself, rather than by thinking through the most important aspect of the idea we’re trying to get across. We follow the template and create slide after slide of bulleted lists of text that say what we’re already saying. But here’s the question: what is the most important thing we are trying to say? And how can we work with images to bring our words to life? Read More

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January 5, 2010

Movement and Art

I am just returning from two weeks in Europe, the longest I’ve spent there.  If you’ve ever been to Paris you know how strikingly glorious it is.  Geneva and Amsterdam are also special places, with their own distinctive beauty, their own way about them.  While there I had the opportunity to visit some amazing museums and I’m truly moved by the experience.

I’m struck by the thought that so much of the intentional beauty that I witnessed emerged out of social movements, intentional social projects – they were proposals for looking at the world, for ways of being in it.  Paris seems to have evolved through multiple story lines about its destiny and its place in humanity.  The shift from the art of the Louvre to the modern art of the Pompidou, and the biographical development of Van Gogh’s art all make movement very obvious.  We can see the developmental shifts, the exploration, the experimentation and the provocation, the passionate search for meaning or definition, the eternal question. Read More

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January 4, 2010

Holy Web 3.0 Batman!!

Every year at this time, like most of you, I make several commitments which are generally to increase my health and well-being, deepen my spiritual life and learn myself a few inches back from the learning edge. This years’ learning commitment is to learn all things technological i.e. everything from powerpoints to Twitter and everything in between. As it stands now I know just enough to get by, develop bad habits and to be dangerous across multiple platforms.

And, like the book falling off the shelf as if guided by some cosmic know-it-all, I picked up the latest Orion Magazine the other morning to find an interview with Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine where he puts forth the idea that technology is holy. Read More

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