Social movements v. social entrepreneurs

David Callahan wrote a great piece on Inside Philanthropy yesterday, describing how the rise of funding for social entrepreneurs hasn’t been matched by a rise in funding for social movements. (HT Rakesh Rajani) Callahan points to the fundamental shifts in values and discourse that have happened as a result of the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, LGBT rights organizing,…

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals: maybe $11.5 trillion is not enough

The UN’s Financing for Development Conference is happening in Addis Ababa this week. It’s the first of three events this year that could set the global development agenda for the next decade and a half. It’ll be followed by final agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York in September, and (hopefully) an agreement on…

Be a language teacher: a new management metaphor

Management comes naturally to few people. It’s an extension of a common ability to organize effort towards an outcome, but with a mix of communication, analysis, risk assessment, and (even) empathy that makes the practice notably less intuitive. Yet over the last century, we’ve increasingly organized ourselves in structures that require management as a function and professional practice. People must somehow…

Always in design mode

I recently finished reading Ezio Manzini’s Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation. In it, he puts forward an abstract description of the “design mode” as a combination of three things: a critical sense turned on reality, a creativity to posit a new state of affairs, and practical sense of what it takes to turn…

Five ways to indoctrinate young development professionals into better practice

There’s a joke in Brian Levy’s recent book Working With The Grain that World Bank staff hail from one hundred countries, but only ten universities. It might be less true elsewhere in the sector, but there’s little doubt that many development professionals—regardless of whether they now work at NGOs, donors, government ministries, social enterprises, or as independent consultants—passed…

Mainstream or Silo: Where to put a new organizational priority?

An evolving social sector constantly adds new priorities, issues, and interventions. In their worst forms, these shows up as over-hyped trends or the proliferation of targets. But a more generous view on this phenomenon sees a learning sector and an indicator of human progress: we tackle needs that were previously unrecognized, adapt as new problems arise, and wield better tools against challenges old and…

Next up…

For the past few years, it’s been my privilege to help build and lead an incredible team at Reboot. However, like all good things, my time here is drawing to an end. What’s next? I’m not entirely sure. Every job is a chance to have an impact on the issues you care about, as well as…