It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.
It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
That is still the intention, however, a large part of this journey has been involved in learning new perspectives that required going extensively and deeply into them to attain a fuller understanding. Systems Thinking is the primary example, Design Thinking is another and Collective Impact being the most recent.
The new ideas being generated were changing the landscape fueling the perspective that paradigm level changes are in need of being sought within communities. The ‘good’ intention though to feature the discovered resources in future blog posts putting them into some context that could prove helpful has not been realized.
Some of the newly discovered resources have played a major role in forming new pathways. The Harwood Institute, introduced in CommunityMatters knows Harwood and Harwood knows what Matters for the Communities to Change was prominently featured in the Collective Impact series as a community change agency. Not every community though is ready to take on a Collective Impact effort, needing to work on other aspects to reach that level.
A number of other Community Change Agencies have also been discovered. These types of resources have been divided into two types, Organizational, Online and Technology Based and Geographic Based. The later, Geographic Based is admittedly lacking, especially local examples, as far more effort up to this point has been expended upon learning new perspectives and underlying systems. An advantage of Organizational, Online and Technology Based change agencies is that they can often be more readily transferred and applied to other communities. Harwood belongs in the Organizational, Online and Technology Based but an on-the-ground foundation is still seen as important in creating New Community Paradigms.
CommunityMatters was also cited as having hosted conference calls with a number of organizations featured in this effort, such as Project for Public Spaces, NCDD (National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation), Strong Towns, Everyday Democracy, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and the Harwood Institute. It also has its own Facebook page.
“CommunityMatters® aims to equip cities, towns and all community members to strengthen their places and inspire change. This group champions the notion that people have the power to solve their community's problems and shape its future. The alliance facilitates connections, provides education and infuses inspiration at the local level.”
Some of the new resources listed in Organizational, Online and Technology Based wiki-page have never been mentioned in any blog post.
The Community Change Agency Orton Family Foundation coined the term “Heart & Soul Community Planning,” describing an approach for engaging citizens in land use planning as a pathway to vibrant, enduring communities.
“Our approach helps diverse citizens identify and enhance a town’s most valued attributes: those special places, characteristics and customs that residents treasure and that connect them to one another. If lost, these attributes would be widely missed and alter the character of the town.”
Another group similar to CommunityMatters is Community Builders, a project of the Sonoran Institute, which aims to help local leaders build successful communities in the American West and that has also provided a number of informative webinars, at no cost, in the past.
One, PlaceSpeak, is a location-based consultation utility helping to bridge between governance and place by transforming the way people interact with local decision-makers. It has its own Facebook app page.
Other featured organizations focus more on process, emphasizing collaboration even more than place. IOTC Hub Institute of the Commons, which is a USA based organization with a global outreach can help in finding common ground and innovating together by helping large, multi-stakeholder groups discover agreement and unite to accomplish shared goals. An essential undertaking in endeavoring to implement a Collective Impact effort.
Some like Innovation in Collaboration don't even originate in this country. They still provide excellent examples of what could be possible here. Often times it seems that we must look outside the United States to find some of the most viable ideas for supporting democracy and the empowerment of communities.
The Interaction Institute for Social Change, headquartered in Ireland, has had global outreach but with local impact including many in the United States. Good ideas should not require visas.
Future Search Network is a collaboration of hundreds of dedicated volunteers worldwide providing Future Search conferences as a public service.
"We serve communities, NGO's, and other non-profits for whatever people can afford. Our mission is to help communities everywhere become more open, supportive, equitable and sustainable. We also work with for-profit organizations who share these values, charging standard fees. We are a cross-cultural network, speaking many languages. Our members live in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America."
The last of the ‘newer’ Community Change Agencies to be featured is the Intersector Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower practitioners in the business, government, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. A good definition for Collective Impact. They conduct research in intersector collaboration and convey findings to leaders in every sector to help them design and implement their own effective collaborative initiatives.
There are no doubt numerous similar organizations out there. The point though is that they are out there. Those looking to make meaningful changes in their community do not have to work alone. Even advice over the phone can be of tremendous assistance. Not every community, as the Harwood Institute points out, is in a position to make transformations at a Collective Impact level. There are though others with the same struggles who have tried ideas that have worked. It can be simply a matter of discovering them and reaching out.
Monday, October 19, 2015
The time has not been spent idly though. A new form of what I like to think of as “external cognition” has been learned. This blog is one form. The new form is Kumu presentations. It goes back to what Ryan Mohr of Kumu had said regarding Using Systems Thinking to Explore Amplifying the Voices of Community Members:
Organizing information like this into a network map is great, but it can also be intimidating. We've found it best to use a separate presentation for the main linear threads through the network. When there's always a choice about where you could go next it's easy to get lost. A simple prev/next approach is much easier to follow.
Thanks for putting this project together! I'm excited to see how it evolves.
Back then I focused on the exploratory aspect but came to realize that I needed to also explore the presentation aspect because being purposely made with an intention to be open there remains a concern with complexity intimidation.
The information presented in the Kumu presentations, though still on the subject of Collective Impact, is able to provide a different perspective to the blog posts or the Kumu projects to which they are related.
There were two Kumu presentations created related to Collective Impact, or more specifically, the Kumu project Collective Impact - Living Cities’ online course. Both apply a Systems Thinking perspective to Collective Impact.
The first Kumu presentation is Documenting the NCP Collective Impact Exploration. The desire has been to move or insert Systems Thinking more into other fields such as Community Engagement or Collective Impact at both the exploratory or discovery phase and the implementation phase.
The second Kumu presentation focuses on a particular aspect of Collective Impact Organizations and the Systems Thinking Iceberg Model.
This will be to date, the shortest post written for this blog because the two Kumu presentations and related Kumu project should be able to speak for themselves.
The time was not only spent on Collective Impact Kumu presentations. The newly found means of transmitting understanding was applied to another opportunity that arose from the NCDD (National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation), NCDD Community News » Join the National Deliberation on Health Care Costs.
The NIFI (National Issues Forum Institute), in cooperation with the Kettering Foundation and Public Agenda sent out, You're Invited - Join a National Deliberation Project about Healthcare Costs - FREE materials available.
Again, a Kumu map project was created applying a Systems Thinking perspective to the material provided and a Kumu presentation was then created which will be put out for feedback sometime in the future.
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