Archive for the 'community indicators' Category

Apr 28 2015

Please Donate to Help Nepal’s Earthquake Victims

Give. Just sayin…

Next of course, my attention went to the question of “Where to donate?”   I received several emails from charities that I already support that do work in the area.   I donated to Save the Children.   On Facebook, I noticed a list of vetted charitiesshared by another trusted colleague who works in the nonprofit sector, Peggy Duvette.  I shared the article on my wall.   This sparked a few other recommendations from friends about where to donate.  Knowing that Robert Rosenthal had been working and living in Nepal, I was curious to see if he had any recommendations.  He posted a link to this Global Giving Fund, a giving network of charities in Nepal, vetted for impact.  In the thread was a comment from Nancy Schwartzsuggesting that we all share this wide and far.   So, I shared it on my wall tagging friends, many of whom re-shared the post, and made a donation.

via Please Donate to Help Nepal’s Earthquake Victims Now | Beth’s Blog.

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Feb 06 2015

Ford Foundation, Open Access and Really Sharing Knowledge

inandoutKnowledge sharing can be enabled or blocked based on organizational policies and infrastructure. This is essential in sectors that are (or claim to be) for the public good, like non profits, donors and foundations, NGOs and educational institutions. I was happy to read that the Ford Foundation has added Creative Commons approach to all their work, joining the Open Society Foundations, the Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the CGIAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects

(New York) – The Ford Foundation announced today that it is adopting an open licensing policy for all grant-funded projects and research to promote greater transparency and accessibility of materials. Effective February 1, grantees and consultants will be required to make foundation-funded materials subject to a Creative Commons license allowing others, free of charge and without requesting permission, the ability to copy, redistribute, and adapt existing materials, provided they give appropriate credit to the original author.

via Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects / News from Ford / Newsroom / Ford Foundation.

Walking the talk is harder than publishing the policy. Some people still worry that setting their knowledge free will hurt them. So we need to look at how certain professions are rewarded (or punished) when it comes to sharing intellectual property. For example, our way of educating and validating researchers and scientists (“publish or perish”) still pushes people to withhold (particularly data sets) rather than “set free.” I’d be very interested if any of you have research/data that links the benefits of sharing knowledge to professional advancement. I think we either have some myths to bust, or we have serious infrastructure changes needed.

This is resonant with another article shared with me today, from the Stanford Review on the role of including gender perspective for research breakthroughs.  Being open allows access to thinking of others, to diverse perspectives which then inform our work, decisions and results.

Doing research wrong costs lives and money. Ten drugs were recently withdrawn from the U.S. market because of life-threatening health effects – eight of these posed greater threats for women.

Clearly, doing research right has the potential to save lives and money, and this is the goal of the Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environmentproject directed by Stanford history Professor Londa Schiebinger.

With an international team of more than 60 scientists, engineers and gender experts, Schiebinger has explored how gender analysis can open doors to discovery.

“Once you start looking, you find that taking gender into account can improve almost anything with a human endpoint – stem cell research, assistive technologies for the elderly, automobile design, transportation systems, osteoporosis research in men, and natural language processing,” Schiebinger said.

Open our databases. Open our practices. Open our minds. Open possibilities.

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Nov 24 2014

The Fence of Fear

donkeyFear has played an interesting role in my life. Or better said, confronting my fears has given me the opportunity to do things I would have never done before. For example I was afraid to go to Brazil as a 16 year old exchange student for a year, but it was a life changing experience – for the better. I have been afraid to be “unknowing” and vulnerable when facilitating groups, but those have often been pivotal moments. (By the way, the picture is of me there, many many moons ago!)

But fear within groups and between members has never shown up  generatively. It seems to create tight fences between individuals in the group. Then I read Shawn Callahan (of Anecdote) recent post  about An indicator of group fear in organisations and a wee insight arrived.

First of all, click away and read the post AND take the time to view the video. Do the little exercise. It is worth the 30 seconds of cogitation.

Shawn’s conclusion is that fear is killing creativity. He writes:

Ed Catmull, the CEO and co-founder of Pixar made this point clear in his recent book, Creativity Inc., that this biggest killer of creativity is fear.

I’d say that fear blocks more than creativity. It blocks aspects of collaboration, cooperation, knowledge sharing, learning and even the simple pleasures we CAN have working with each other.

I’ve worked with a number of organizations where fear is palpable. Sometimes it is in the more day to day relationships between team members. Sometimes it is hierarchical, but not always. It isn’t always “the boss” we fear. It may be someone on the team who is bullying or harassing (consciously or unconsciously – most the latter in my observation.) Sometimes it is the very culture of the organization, often from the top, that permeates everywhere.

Slight side note: I want to make a clear distinction that I do not equate fear directly with dissent, diversity or critical thinking. They may show up together. But the absence of fear is not necessarily bland indifference, ok?  In fact, when fear is not present, I think we can better use our disagreements and diversity. So I don’t want to fall into the false trap of surface “niceness.” That kind of niceness can be a response to fear to cover it up and that doesn’t work well either! I’ll also state for the record that being “nice” as in using compassion and respect is something I’m all for. The word “nice” is a tricky one.

What really interests me are the people who seem to be resilient to fear. They don’t let fear of being dismissed, or not “liked” keep them from their own personal brand of excellence.

I find it hard to combat top down fear, so maybe I should pay more attention to those “positive deviants” who seem resilient. Have any clues on why they are that way? How we can nurture more of the resilience?

 

 

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Feb 14 2014

From Faster than 20: Civic Engagement Funders Aligning for Impact

I’m running like a maniac today, but this post from Eugene Eric Kim is to spot on to pass by. My highlights are the attention to online meeting design, shared visuals and slowing down to really notice what is going on. I hope that makes you want to click in and read. Image from the blog post by Amy Wu. Click to see the whole thing!

Civic Engagement Funders Aligning for Impact

Civic Engagement Funders Aligning for Impact.

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Feb 03 2014

Guest Post: Sue Braiden – Investing in Communities

IMG_7200(Nancy’s Note: I’ve known Sue online for quite some time. She no longer blogs but this post on Facebook and the subsequent discussion thread caught my eye.  This line, in particular, resonated with something I had been drafting for this blog: “So if the lesson here is to listen to the people chasing impossibly grand and improbable ideas about community capacity building, then the proof of worth might be when those people put their money where their mouths are in a very significant way.” I wanted to be able to “point” to it in a public online space, so Sue agreed to let me post it as a guest post. Thanks, Sue! The image is from the Chihuly Glass Museum in Seattle)

A decade ago a handful of people harkened to the call to find their own power to make good things happen at the invitation of Omidyar.net. People who came there looking for an inside glimpse at the couple that founded eBay were likely more than a little astonished to find that Pam and Pierre were a man and a woman who rolled up their sleeves and dug right into the sometimes mucky business of better world building right alongside you.

All these years later some of my staunchest allies remain the people I met around that digital kitchen table. It had a profound effect on my ability to trust in both the idea of a reputation-based network (Pierre applied the eBay theory to social networking) and to see the value of investing in seeding a lot of small things that worked and finding ways of scaling them up. Of the many projects that found life there, one of the ones that intrigued me most was an idea Tom Munnecke embraced: nurturing a grassroots, positive media network. As a journalist that excited me. It was indie, and audacious, and too good to ever actually work in the minds of a whole lot of people from an industry far too full of itself to see the writing on the wall.

During that time Pierre poked me in the ribs to get me to try a couple of things that I initially had a hard time seeing the value of. One was Twitter (why in the hell would I want to sit around a digital water cooler spilling my guts about what I just ate for breakfast, and who I was having coffee with now? … and yes, that’s exactly what I said to him at the time) and the now defunct Vox (which many of us ended up using as a training ground for networked indie media blogging). Those early days conversations were a revelation, particularly when he began brainstorming about the use of Twitter as both a first-responder network in real time crisis situations, and also as a grassroots media portal for people responding from those experiences on the ground. Both of those things came to pass. We’ve seen Twitter become not only a tool of reporting and rescue in earthquakes, in hurricanes and in war zones, but one that has been embraced by the mainstream media as their own rapid headline push tool.

So if the lesson here is to listen to the people chasing impossibly grand and improbable ideas about community capacity building, then the proof of worth might be when those people put their money where their mouths are in a very significant way. Take a look at Pierre’s latest project:

https://www.firstlook.org

and take the time to watch the 2 1/2 minute video that explains exactly why this is so damned vital and cool. His bottomline:

“Journalism is more than telling stories. It’s about telling stories that make a difference.”

And believe him when he says he’s not only in this for the long haul, but committed to making it work. He absolutely will.

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