Archives

A Beautiful Idea

Is what you do, where you work, or how you organize, beautiful? Among the many words used to describe our work lives the most neglected and maybe necessary might be described that one word: it’s time to take it seriously.  For those working in design one of the biggest challenges is getting people to understand that […]

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Lost together

Doing new things to create social value means going into the great unknown, yet our fear of being lost need not prevent us from innovating, wisely and sustainably. Instead of being lost alone, we can be lost together.  I’ve heard it all so many times before It’s all a dream to me now A dream to […]

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Decoding the change genome

Would we invest in something if we had little hard data to suggest what we could expect to gain from that investment? This is often the case with social programs, yet its a domain that has resisted the kind of data-driven approaches to investment that we’ve seen in other sectors and one theory is that we […]

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Of tails, dogs and the wagging of both

Evaluation is supposed to be driven by a program’s needs and activities, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when the need for numbers, metrics, ‘outcomes’ and data shape the very activities programs do and how that changes everything is something that is worth paying some attention to.  Since the Second World War we’ve […]

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The Finger Pointing to the Moon

In social innovation we are at risk of confusing our stories of success for real, genuine impact. Without theories, implementation science or evaluation we risk aspiring to travel to the moon, yet leaving our rockets stuck on the launchpad.   There is a Buddhist expression that goes like this: Be careful not to confuse the […]

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The Organizational Zombie Resistance Kit

Zombies — unaware, semi-conscious, distracted individuals — are all around us and running many of the organizations we work in or with. And just like combatting real zombies there is a need to target the head. There is much musing about what a zombie apocalypse might look like, but anyone paying attention to what is […]

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The Resilient Tribe: Designing Leadership For Complexity

Individuals, organizations and networks are living with unprecedented social complexity requiring more attention than ever on fostering resiliency at all levels to not only thrive, but survive. Not all of these levels are equal and where we choose to focus our energies makes an enormous difference for whether we design change intentionally (lead) or have […]

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The Literacy of Change

It has been said that change is the only constant, yet for something so pervasive change is a remarkably thorny and poorly understood concept. One reason is that change is often approached as a set of facts about a static state of affairs instead of as a literacy, which at change in a far more dynamic context that reflects human systems more accurately.

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No Contest: The Cost of Crowd-based Social Innovation

Contests are seen by many in the social sector as a way to engage audiences and generate new thinking about important issues, yet in generating all of these contributions from the crowd are we undermining the very aims of work in social innovation when the fruits of these ideas largely remain to rot on the […]

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Fashionably Thinking About Systems and Consumption

In April 2013 the world was horrified to learn that more than one thousand people were killed in a Bangladeshi factory used to make largely low-priced clothes for Western fashion houses. As the stories of sadness, loss and survival emerged from that rubble so too did cries of indignation and disgust from human rights groups, […]

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