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News Update: Leadership and Networks!

News Brief 03/31/11

This week's newbrief focuses on giving some examples of organizations, programs, and articles that demonstrate the power of leadership and networks. read more »

  • Spark is an organization that seeks to build a community of young, global citizens who are invested in changing patterns of inequality that impact women throughout the world. Its strategy, which focuses on community building, education, advocacy, and grant-making, is to identify and fundraise for outstanding women's organizations around the world. It is now striving to create a global network of philanthropists dedicated to supporting women who are inciting change in their communities.

News Update: Communication Revolution, Network Weaving, and Leadership!

On The Communication (and Political) Revolution… 

  • As we have watched events in Egypt unfold in the recent weeks, we have to be amazed by the incredible connective technologies that have helped to spur this historic revolution.  According to Marcia Newbert of Edleman Digital, we are witnessing a communications revolution as well as a political one.  She points out and discusses several points that suggest social media has had a very significant impact on unfolding events.

  • Meta-Activism Projects posts a framework for examining the role technology has played in contributing to activism in Egypt.  The seven activist uses of digital technology include: documentation, synthesis, resource transfer, co-creation, mobilization, broadcast, and protection. 

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News Alert: Networks, Innovation, and Transparency!


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  • A report, Network Evaluation: Cultivating Healthy Networks for Social Change, released by Centre for Social Innovation and Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, examines the theory and practice of network evaluation.  The think tank’s goal was to develop a series of tools and strategies for evaluation that were unique to networks, as opposed to being adequate for other types of evaluation efforts.  The publication includes  background information and a framework for network evaluation.
  • LinkedIn recently launched InMaps, a project that visually demonstrates all of the connections within a business network.  It helps users see connections, bridges, and influencers (all with different visual designations) so that they can see the depth of their network and can understand how to utilize it.
  • On her blog, Beth Kanter shares a photo that was tweeted by the National Wildlife Federation that shows a network mapped out with sticky notes.  Kanter discusses reasons why visualizing networks is essential: “mapping can be really valuable for understanding relationship networks by visualizing and seeing patterns and connections… Networks are more than random gatherings of people and organizations online.  Social networks have specific structures and patterns to them.”

Weekly News Update: Shared Value, Collaboration, and Public Health

On Business and Creating Shared Value...  read more »

  • Groupon, a multibillion dollar company that offers highly discounted goods and services to its users, has roots in social entrepreneurship.  The CEO, Andrew Mason, began Groupon around the same time that he started The Point – an initiative based on the concept that people will take social action if a certain number of people also agree to take the same social action.  The two projects have now combined into what Mason terms G-Team. In Mason’s words, “Every G-Team campaign connects you with enough people to achieve something awesome that you couldn’t have done alone.” 
  • Despite its efforts to engage in corporate responsibility practices, business has been under fire in recent years because it is believed to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.  According to Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer of Harvard Business Review, the way to resolve this is not to embark on more corporate responsibility ventures, but instead to create “shared value.”  The authors write that shared value, which is defined as creating economic value while also creating societal value by addressing community needs and challenges, "is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success.”
  • A new finding by StaffShare states that a business’s staff retention “improves when skills are shared,” meaning that redundancies can be reduced if a “shared talent pool is developed” and employers learn and share the talents of their employees.

Nonprofit Leadership Weekly News Update: Networks, Collaboration, Learning

 On Networks...

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  • Valdis Krebs, the Founder and Chief Scientist at, shares his thoughts on “thriveability” and on social network analysis (SNA).  SNA – the "mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers, URLs, and other connected information/knowledge entities” – either supports or constrains cultural, organizational, and individual change.  It is the structures that maximize emergence, learning, agility, and adaptability that prompt positive change by properly preparing people for the unknown, Krebs says, while “highly homophilious networks” will only hinder us.  Leadership, also, and emerging ideas about different types of leadership, are prevalent and encouraged in networks.
  • Weaving, “an intentional practice of helping people connect to information, opportunity, each other and, most importantly, their own personal power," is propelled by institutional “helping” spaces.  In a powerful blog post, Bill Traynor of Lawrence CommunityWorks Inc., explains the importance of creating these spaces and methods by which to do so.

News Alert: Race and Unity, Innovation, Networking, and Collaboration!

On Race and Unity read more »

  • Using the “No Wedding No Womb” program as an example, Mikhail Lyubansky makes the argument that racial injustices need to be addressed at a systematic or structural level rather than at an individual level.  NWNW is a program that encourages black women not to have children out of wedlock.  It does not promote abstinence necessarily, but instead relies on statistics to show that children are much more likely to succeed when they have “physical, financial, and emotional protection,” which they are more likely to have if their parents are married than if they are not (or than if they are being raised by a single parent).  Lyubansky argues that the message of the program is positive, but it addresses the wrong issues.  Rather than focusing our efforts on helping black women to make the best of the current (unfair) situation, we should be focusing on changing the system to resolve current inequalities.
  • In South Dakota, 2010 has been dubbed by many as the “year of unity.”  The purpose of the year of unity is to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions American Indians have brought to the state and, ultimately, to get their land returned to them.  In a blog post on Race-Talk, Tim Giago writes about the necessity of bringing unity to South Dakota and also recaps some of the major gains in the past 20 years regarding ending racial injustices.
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