Generating ideas, connections, and action

Weekly News Brief: Networks, Innovation, Collaboration

On Networks

  • A new paper, “Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector,” by Lucy Bernholz, Edward Skloot and Barry Varela examines the effects of information networking on grant-making strategies of institutional fundors.  The paper is based on the premise that “information networks are transforming philanthropy."  It explores four practices of philanthropy that information networking has impacted: setting goals and formulating strategy, building social capital, measuring progress, measuring outcomes and impact, and accounting for the work.  Additionally, it looks at what information networks offer for the future of philanthropy.



On Diversity and Innovation

  • Blogging Innovation identifies diversity as the key element in connecting employees and consumers.  The blog post claims there are two ways in which diversity affects innovation.  The first is through “collaborative networks” and the second is through “wisdom of the crowd.”  An empirical study shows that “higher diversity of connections translates to higher value ideas.”  This relates to an individual’s diverse network.  Alternatively, the wisdom of the crowds relates to the collective capacity of an organization’s diverse community.  Both concepts are important to remember when organization’s are seeking to improve their innovative capacity.

On Women and Leadership

  • As part of their series on how leadership might look in the future, Harvard Business Review looks at the nomination of Elena Kagan as the 112th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the context of women attaining leadership roles.  While it is true that today there are more women who graduate from college than there are men and there are twice as many female entrepreneurs as men, it is also true that only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women and just over 25% of university professors are women.  The blog post identifies several factors that contribute to women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions, along with demonstrating how Kagan can offer a model for ways women can succeed in the future.

On Technology and Collaboration

  • Harvard Business Review reports on organizational challenges facing Wikimedia, especially regarding supporting different country chapters and their respective projects.  At a recent conference these issues were addressed. and the conference concluded that they need to stick by the principles that guide Wikipedia more generally – based on  a belief that every individual human being has the right to freely share in the sum of knowledge – and must keep looking for organizational structures that fit this framework.

On Learning and Unlearning

  • While learning fast is an advantage in industries using new and changing technologies, unlearning is just as important in being successful.  Blogging Innovation notes the danger in turning old ideas into assumptions, which then turn to facts.  To prevent this from happening, we should take “assumption inventory” in which we identify ideas and assumptions that appear to run our companies or organizations and determine if they are as relevant as they were at their inception.  By doing this we both improve transparency and ensure that improve our chances of achieving our goals.

On Philanthropy

  • Sean Stannard-Stockton announces the winner of the Fantastic Video Contest, which challenged participants to incite change by visual means.


Top Articles: 

 “Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector”

Author: Lucy Bernholz with Edward Skloot and Barry Varela

Date: May 2010

Source: Philanthropy Central: Center for Strategic Philanthropy & Civil Society



Diversity and Innovation: Improve the Person, Improve the Idea

Author: Hutch Carpenter

Date: May 23, 2010

Source Blogging Innovation



Can She Lead?

Author: Emily Harburg

Date: May 21, 2010

Source: Harvard Business Review



How Should Wikimedia Organize Itself?

Author: Barry Newstead

Date: May 20, 2010

Source: Harvard Business Review



Time for Assumption Inventory?

Author: Holly G. Green

Date: May 12, 2010

Source: Blogging Inventory



Fantastic Video Contest Finalists

Author: Sean Stannard-Stockton

Source: Tactical Philanthropy blog