Generating ideas, connections, and action

Weekly News Brief: Social Media & Innovation, Leadership & Diversity, Gender Equality, Evaluation, Collective Intelligence

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  • “Applying a Social Media Rule to Innovation”
    • Author: Jeffrey Phillips
    • Date: June 24, 2010
    • Source: Blogging Innovation
    • URL: http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/wordpress/2010/06/applying-a...
    • Social Media & Innovation: Jeffrey Phillips identifies two types of communities in the world of social media – “broad and topical”, like Twitter, and “deep and narrow,” like forums. In the sites focused on topical interaction, thousands of participants exchange information that is neither very informative nor very deep, whereas smaller groups of people in a more narrowly-focused discussion generally provide very deep or information-rich resources. This polarization in social media, according to Phillips, aligns very well with all aspects of innovation, but with idea generation in particular. A small, diverse team of several people who are all well-prepared will produce the most radical innovation. As more participants are added, the ideas generated become more incremental rather than disruptive.

 

  • "Microsoft and the Innovators Paradox”
    • Author: Scott Anthony
    • Date: June 24, 2010
    • Source: Harvard Business Review (blog)
    • URL: http://blogs.hbr.org/anthony/2010/06/microsoft_and_the_innovators_p.html
    • Innovation: Microsoft’s core business continues to grow, but the PC’s dominance is being eroded by tablets and mobile devices, and Windows and Office are under threat from Google. Five, ten years ago, when these technologies were in their infancies, Microsoft was in an excellent position to invest. So why didn’t it? The answer, according to Scott Anthony is what he calls the “Innovator’s Paradox.” In a nutshell, the period during which companies don’t need to invest growth is the precise period during which they should invest in growth. To break the Innovator’s Paradox, companies must do two things: 1) recognize the limitations of their core business; 2) consistently allocate resources to new growth efforts while avoiding excessive resource allocation.

 

  • “The Decline of Nonprofit Leadership Development for Professionals of Color?”
    • Author: Rosetta Thurman
    • Date: June 23, 2010
    • Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy (Leading Edge)
    • URL: http://philanthropy.com/blogPost/The-Decline-of-Leadership/25041/
    • Leadership & Diversity: Rosetta Thurman points to the continued importance placed on diversity and inclusion in the for-profit sector and the seeming decline of leadership development programs for professionals of color in the nonprofit sector. As examples of this potential sector-wide trend, she names the Associated Grant Makers Diversity Fellowship, which AGM will be discontinuing after the current class of Fellows completes their term, and the Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program, for which the Association of Black Foundation Executives will not be conducting a class this year.

 

  • “It’s Our Time: The Ascendency of the Global Women’s Health Movement”
    • Author: Michael Seltzer
    • Date: June 23, 2010
    • Source: Philanthropy News Digest (Philantopic)
    • URL: http://pndblog.typepad.com/pndblog/2010/06/global-womens-health-movement...
    • Gender Equality: Michael Seltzer cites theWomen Deliver gathering in Washington, D.C., a three-day event on women’s health, which featured over 800 presentations and speeches and had delegates from over 146 countries, as a signal that “the global women’s health movement has arrived.” As Seltzer points out, the disproportionate health risks faced by women, with pregnancy-related complications causing the death of a woman on the planet every minute of every day, must be addressed, as they are key to the health and prosperity of every nation.

 

  • “Why Evaluation Research is Really Cool”
    • Author: Mindy Fried Arbor
    • Date: June 21, 2010
    • Source: Mindy’s Muses blog
    • URL: http://mindysmuses.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-evaluation-is-pretty-cool_21...
    • Evaluation: As economic times have become more difficult, private foundations have begun to follow the example of federal and state governments in giving grants requiring the evaluation of the grantees’ programs as part of their budgets. The reactions of many such programs are varied. Some fear being judged. Others are annoyed or resentful. Yet the purpose of evaluations is not just to identify the issues and challenges, but also to identify and support a program’s strengths and to target ways to overcome any obstacles. The real beneficiaries are not only the funders and policymakers but also the programs’ leadership and staff, who can then use the information uncovered by the evaluation to continue effective practices and address areas of improvement.

 

  • “Harnessing Crowds: Mapping the Genome of Collective Intelligence”
    • Author: Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Chrysanthos Dellarocas
    • Date: April 2010
    • Source: MIT Sloane Management Review
    • URL: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/articles/2010/spring/51303/the-c...
    • Collective Intelligence: This publication, Harnessing Crowds: Mapping the Genome of Collective Intelligence, studies collective intelligence, which it defines as “groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent,” specifically in the context of the internet. The authors study examples of internet-based collective intelligence such as Google, Wikipedia and the t-shirt design company Threadless, where a weekly contest decides which t-shirts are produced, to understand how these systems work. The article provides useful insight on harnessing crowds effectively by identifying the underlying building blocks of collective intelligence systems.