Compared to my post from yesterday, this certainly feels like a big shift, going from the sublime to the tactical. At a recent gathering that I facilitated, members of the steering committee of a food system change initiative, local and regional funders, and members of other organizational networks came together to discuss ideas for ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the committee’s work around ensuring community food security. We came at this from a few different angles, including a conversation about actual and perceived constraints and challenges to supporting this kind of net work. Here is a taste of what came up, which resonates with what I am hearing in other networks as well: Read MoreLeave a comment
Tag Archive: systems
“The most sustainable impact comes from our deriving meaning and then connecting that meaning to our purpose, to what we stand for, and to the contributions we make.”
-Dr. Monica Sharma
There is something about the invitation to health and wholeness and to talking about how to measure it that seems to be a real draw to our Whole Measures workshop, which we offer jointly with the Center for Whole Communities. I can see it in the eyes of many participants as they walk into the room – “Tell us how!” And there is a bit of a disruptive experience that occurs when we let people know it is not so formulaic. One of my favorite quotes comes from my mentor Carol Sanford who has said, “Best practice obliterates essence,” and I think it really applies to what we are talking about here. Read MoreLeave a comment
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!”Leave a comment
Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing
-T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Dante’s Inferno.
Our friend and colleague Roberto Cremonini recently shared the above quote with a budding community of practice coming together around networks. It is the epigraph to Imagine, Jonah Lehrer’s latest book on creativity. It seems to make more sense today than ever before. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are social animals. Makes me think of the definition of Ubuntu – I am because we are.Leave a comment
“If you don’t understand your role in contributing to the problem,
you can’t be part of the solution.”
This post is a slightly edited version of something I wrote for the upcoming State of Opportunity convening in Michigan. My colleague Cynthia Parker and I have been working with the Council of Michigan Foundations staff and membership to design this gathering, the focus of which will be philanthropy’s role in increasing social equity in the state. We are looking forward to facilitating the proceedings on March 27th.
The quote above comes from a systems thinking expert with whom we’ve partnered in our collaborative change work here at the IISC. We’ve found it to be a powerful way of introducing the idea that the complex systems (education, health care) that many of us are trying to change to yield better and more equitable opportunities and outcomes are not “out there.” Rather, to rift on the old Pogo saying, when we have truly seen systems, we understand that they are us! Read MoreLeave a comment
“ What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.”
-Excerpt from The New Jim CrowLeave a comment
Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.Comments Off on The 99% Spring
The following post is from Founding Board Chair, Thomas J. Rice. It is a little longer than we post, however, we hope that you will find it is rich in content and helps continue to challenge the way we think about various systems and movements.
Historian James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream when he coined the term at the depths of the Great Depression. What we seek is “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” If there’s one thing we could all agree on, we have lost our way in this quest. And there’s no GPS to find our True North, or the way home.
Enter the Occupy Movement, a spontaneous cri de coeur from a millennial generation that feels betrayed and abandoned by the people and institutions they believed in. No American Dream for them. Their prospects are bleak, in no way better or richer or fuller than their parents. In spite of great effort and expense to move up and out, the millenniums are back in the nest, in serious debt from college loans and working at some menial or dead end job with no health benefits.Leave a comment
If you read this blog regularly, you’ve heard me talk about the Networks and Decentralized Organizing Community of Practice that I’m a part of. I’m continually buzzing with inspiration from this very special node in the network.
Part of our process includes a “daily practice” that is offered each day by a different member of the community. Jenny Lee, of the Allied Media Projects, recently offered this practice – she titled it “Murmuration.” I invite you to share your reflections.
Even if you’ve seen it before, watch it again and think about the questions:
- If another species was observing and analyzing the shape, rhythm, contours of our movements what would they look like?
- What is the most breathtaking structure and form of movement that you can imagine our networks taking? What would be the most inner-working mechanics that structure?
“Knowing about a tool is one thing. Having the guts to use it in a way that brings art to the world is another. Perhaps we need to spend less time learning new tools and more time using them.” – Seth’s Godin
Reading Seth’s post on insight vs. tools made me want to create a real workshop – a learning space that is also a creative space, a laboratory for actual application.Leave a comment
Last week, Melinda Weekes and I participated in the Presencing Institute’s Global Presencing Forum. It was an excellent experience at the edge of social innovation. It was great to be in the presence of Otto Scharmer and Peter Senge (see Scharmer’s reflections here). And even better to in the company of a global community of people seeking to advance social technologies that can actually address the challenges we face.Comments Off on Entering the Field of the Future
In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink points to a set of right brain functions that are essential to creativity, innovation and effectiveness in our work and our world. Design and Play are two of these functions, and they are beautifully expressed in this fountain at the Detroit Airport. Enjoy the way the water dances, wonder at the way the paths of water are designed and synchronized. Let it reawaken in you pure delight and ask yourself how you can bring play more fully alive in your work for justice.Leave a comment