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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.

November 1-5 Weekly News Brief: Diversity, Innovation, Leadership

On Diversity and Shared Experiences

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  • For the most part, the approach we take to diversity and inclusion work has not changed much over the past 30+ years.  It is not that those in the field do not care about the work they are doing – on the contrary, they are extremely passionate – but the field has not progressed because people are not having new conversations.  In his blog, Joe Gerstandt suggests ways that this field can evolve.  To name a few, he believes that there needs to be more of a focus on social media, less talk about intensions, more focus on “honest, courageous, and authentic” workplaces, and a new way of leadership.

News Brief: Social Network Analysis, Network Governance, Informal Networks, Innovation, Diversity, Collaboration, Network Map

● “Ethics in Social Network Analysis”
    Author:  Eva Schiffer
    Date:  October 13, 2010
    Source:  Net-Map blog
Social Network Analysis:  Traditional surveys ensure that the respondents remain anonymous, as each respondent is simply meant to be representative of a particular demographic.  However, in using network tools to facilitate change,  the identity of each individual becomes key. This brings up an ethical issue involving social network analysis – should the respondents have it made very clear to them exactly how their answers will be analyzed?  The answer, for Eva Schiffer, is “yes.”  And not only is it the ethical thing to do, to provide full disclosure of the analysis methods, it is actually “one of the strengths of network mapping”; it allows interviewees to “reflect on the complete picture and see if that’s what they actually wanted to say.” 

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Weekly News Brief: Innovation, Collaboration, Community Engagement


  • “The Two-Pronged Approach to Innovation Your Company Needs”

Author:  Inder Sidhu

Date:   June 4, 2010



Innovation:    An effective innovation strategy requires both a commitment to sustaining innovation and a commitment to disruptive innovation, according to Cisco’s Inder Sidhu in the Forbes article “The Two-Pronged Approach To Innovation Your Company Needs.”   Avoiding a tradeoff between sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation is a challenge that all companies face.  Fortune 500 companies, very mindful of their accountability to customers and shareholders, tend to invest fewer resources in disruptive innovation.  Start-ups, on the other hand, focus most of their resources on disruptive innovation.    The key to successful innovation is to consciously pursue both types, as the amplification of the combination is significant.


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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.

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Weekly News Alert: Networks, Collaboration and Information Sharing


On Networks... read more »

  • Networks accumulate power based on their breadth of reach in every direction, inciting complexity and fluidity.  It is difficult, sometimes, to look at a network and wonder if it is not a “random field of chaos,” but while networks do not play by the rules (they can’t because they are cumulative and self-organizing) there are laws that networks abide by.  Networkweaving blog looks at the four key components of networks and devises formulas for how to achieve each of these.  The four components are: luck, innovation, influence and network growth.

Weekly News Alert: Evaluation, Innovation and Women in the Workplace


On Evaluation... read more »

  • Donors looking to make donations to non-profit organizations have recently been encouraged to look at program evaluation in order to measure the organization’s impact rather than looking at financial ratios.  However, PhilanTopic publishes a post explaining that while it is true that program evaluation is important, financial evaluation is important as well.  An organization’s financial stability, its ability to service any debt it has and how much money it has raised in excess of expenses can be learned from financial evaluation; all of these should be important factors for donors when deciding which organization they would like to donate to.

Weekly News Alert: Haiti, Leadership and Collaboration


Top Trends:

On Nonprofits and Haiti... read more »

  • The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania publishes an article explaining how donors can most effectively help in Haiti.  The Center has created a chart documenting the phases of effective philanthropic support and they offer tips to donors about what to look for in different charities.  Donors should focus on organizations that have a large impact rather than those that place emphasis on not spending money on overhead and  they should look at nonprofits that have the capabilities to have a large impact.  They also offer a list of charities that they believe have those capabilities.

Weekly News Alert: New Year's Resolutions and Predictions, Evaluation tecniques and Social Impact Finance!


Top Trends:

On Evaluation... read more »

  • There has been a debate recently about whether it is more effective to evaluate non-profit organizations on an individual basis or whether it is better to evaluate overall community impact (meaning the measurement would reflect the work of multiple nonprofits, community organizations, etc.).  There is a general consensus that while measuring overall community impact is more important, it is also more difficult to measure.  In her blog, Heather Carpenter  adds that when researches and consultants study evaluation and impact within nonprofits, it is important that they use evaluation tools that the nonprofits can use themselves.  This, she says, is the first step to conducting larger, community-wide impact studies.

Weekly News Alert: Reflections,Innovations and Social Networking


 On Reflections and Values... read more »

  • The end of the year should be used as a time to reflect on both our lives and our work.  We should especially look at the meaning of our work and the values that support it.  A post by Fast Company suggests the concept of UBUNTU, used in South Africa, which translates to mean “a person is only a person through other persons.”  Our core values, then, are reflected through our relationships with other people, revealing our "human-ness."  The blog challenges people to examine and reflect on their work and values through this lens.
  • Interaction Institure for Social Change publishes a post about a new project Seth Godin has put together.  His project involved asking people “What Matters Now?” and putting the responses together in an e-book.  Each person took a single word and wrote a short piece about how that word related to their past and future work.  Examples of the inspiring words are "meaning," "enrichment" and "sleep."
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