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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: January 2012

On Collective Leadership...

  • Curtis Ogden highlights four key concepts underlying the roots of the Interaction Institute's approach to collective leadership: epistemology, cosmology, ontology, technology.  Epistemology is that it’s not just about what we know, but how we know it – intuitively, intellectually, analytically. Cosmology is looking to the complex living systems and networks as the complicated reality we all live in. Ontology is the idea that each of us is evolving and capable of both learning and unlearning. Finally, technology/methodology is the idea of looking to the practices that create the best conditions for collective leadership. 
  • Stowe Boyd discusses concepts from a Sara Horowitz’s talk on mutualism and creates a “mutualist manifesto”.  At the heart of the manifesto is finding common cause and growing mutual associations locally and globally, associations such as coops, unions, and policy organizations. Boyd thinks that associations supporting one another, governance by members, seeking benefits not profits, and cooperating in resource allocation will all make great headway towards directing change in a systemically chaotic world.
On Networks...
  • Facebook published a study involving 253 million of its users. It divided these users into two groups: one where the users received all of the information their friends posted; one where the users received only some of the information their friends posted. Tracking posts and re-posts of these users, they were able to determine that “weak” links – acquaintances, etc. – provided novel information the users were unlikely to find or post by themselves. This strengthens the idea that social media can expose people to diverse set of information they would otherwise not find on their own, instead of acting as an “echo chamber”, providing no new information, just echoes.
  • Extracting sense from data collected through social media requires sifting through charts and graphs to find meaning. Beth Kanter talks about the "canyons" or dips in readership and the "Devil's Tower" or sustained spikes. She centers around these times and looks at frequency of posting, what was posted, and especially the comments on what was posted, to get a sense of what has sparked (or failed to spark) people's attention.
On Collaboration...
  • In 2012, private-public collaboration on sustainability issues is expected to grow, with initiatives like The Better Buildings Challenge – a $4 billion retrofitting plan, put together with the help of the federal government, CEO’s, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders. Collaboration through transparency is also growing, with several cities reporting sustainability-related data to the Carbon Disclosure Project. 
  • Forbes highlights its top 10 trends in corporate social responsibility for 2012 and collaboration is one of them. The author uses the word "collaboratition" to describe how companies both compete and collaborate on CSR issues. Other continuing trends include trying to attract employees through strong CSR values and an increasing emphasis on employee engagement within an organization.  
  • In an ongoing series, Innovation Excellence diagrams the process of collaboration in a technology company and shows how it lead to a new innovation. They detail the story of a leader who was an expert in one field, and realizing the need for help from a different field, facilitated collaboration between teams to attack a problem comprehensively with the result of a new product.


Top Articles:


Roots of Collective Leadership

Author: Curtis Ogden
Date: January 12, 2012
Source: IISC Blog
Author: Stowe Boyd
Date: January 11, 2012
Source: Stowe Boyd


Rethinking Information Diversity in Networks

Author: Eytan Bakshy
Date: January 17, 2012
Source: Facebook
Author: Beth Kanter
Date: December 21, 2012
Source: Beth's Blog
Date: January 12, 2012
Source: Just Means


The Top 10 Trends in CSR for 2012

Author: Tim Mohin
Date: January 18, 2012
Source: Forbes
Author: Steve Todd
Date: January 18, 2012
Source: Innovation Excellence