What are the mindsets and tools social change leaders need to adopt to truly collaborate and leverage their networks in the pursuit of their vision? This engagement helps shape the network strategy of social change leaders and funders through deep dives into case studies and network mapping. It is designed for either individual practitioners or teams looking to develop a systems-level strategy to guide their work. Developed and taught in partnership with Heather McLeod Grant.
Designing for Organizational Growth
Given how rapidly the internal and external conditions for our work shift, most funders and social change leaders have neither time nor use for long-range strategic planning. Yet, how do you remain productive and confident that you are on the right path while continually pivoting on strategy?
Designing for Organizational Growth takes the best of what we know about what’s needed for organizational scale and marries that work with a human centered design approach to experimentation and prototyping. Typically, this is an extended engagement launched by a half-day workshop for your team.
Network Mapping as a Strategy Tool
To execute systems level change, leaders must have visibility into the ecosystem they intend to impact. In Network Mapping as a Strategy Tool workshop, your team will create a network map in the room and then bridge to a network strategy assessment to determine whether the network supports the intended social change strategy. This workshop can kickoff a participatory mapping process whereby the network map is expanded and corroborated by other stakeholders.
Activating Systems-level Leaders for Hawaii
HAWAII COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF), the state’s largest grant-maker with a 100-year legacy, sought to enhance the collaborative capacity of changemakers in Hawaii starting with its network of community leaders and organizations. Working in partnership with the leadership of HCF, Heather McLeod Grant and I spent the summer of 2015 engaged in strategic conversations with Hawaii-based network leaders. Our study, mapping and trainings revealed serious interest and energy for a network strategy for leaders in Hawaii. We then led a training for network leaders that surfaced the commonalities and challenges facing the leadership of networks in Hawaii and served as the basis for a program design to support the ongoing collaboration of network leaders.
Leveraging Networks in Organizational Design
DataKind is many things to many people. It is a network for data scientists and tech leaders who see DataKind as the leading light in their efforts to wield data for social impact. It assumes the role of teacher and coach for a social sector looking to leverage data in their quest to solve society’s ills. And it plays the role of hopeful pioneer for funders looking to make their investments go further, faster. DataKind is also an early stage social venture and global network whose leadership is scrambling to capitalize on immense opportunity while overcoming barriers to achieving DataKind’s mission.
Over the past two years, DataKind has grown from a small team launching projects from its base in New York City to a global network led by a national team. During this time, I was deeply embedded with DataKind’s executive team, board leadership and global network. The result of my work there was a growing sophistication around network strategy; a decision frame that balanced organizational needs with network growth; and the entrenchment of strategy, staff development and donor stewardship as core organizational capacities.
Moving From Design to Strategy
STANFORD’S HASSO PLATNER SCHOOL OF DESIGN (D.SCHOOL) FELLOWS PROGRAM
For the last three years, the Stanford d.school has created space for social entrepreneurs , described as “restless experts” looking to go beyond what they know and innovate new solutions, platforms and initiatives in their fields. At Stanford, the fellows apply design thinking to real-world challenges and emerge with new tools and (aspirationally) with game-changing solutions to some of humanity’s messiest problems. Over the last year, I have been working with the Fellows to translate the results of the design process into a strategy and/or organizational design that will accommodate growth and continued experimentation beyond the Fellowship.
Mapping Networks to Strategy
AMERICAN LEADERSHIP FORUM: SILICON VALLEY
For the last 25 years, the American Leadership Forum (ALF) has been deeply entrenched in training and supporting a network of leaders working towards the common good in Silicon Valley. One focus of the network is to support and improve the local education system and its leadership. ALF had invested in creating a systems map of the educations system but wanted to understand how to deploy its network to to impact that system. In 2015, ALF hired Heather McLeod Grant, Jeff Mohr of Kumu and myself to connect the systems map to the a network map of its constituency. The resulting maps makes clear what issues (teacher retention, community engagement, etc) are best supported by ALF network.
Network Leadership Training
The Omidyar Fellows program is a leadership development program that looks to build stronger leaders, more effective organizations, and the cross-sector connections that are necessary to collectively work towards Hawaii’s future. In early 2016, the Omidyar Fellows hired Heather Mcleod Grant and me to run a full day workshop to consider how adding a network mindset to their training might foster greater levels of collaboration among their network members.
Creating the Container for Expanded Giving for a Family Fund
The Peleh Fund has long supported local and national institutions from its base in Berkeley, CA. The Fund is dedicated to encouraging creativity and innovation in the fields of education and the arts. In the last three years, I have worked with the Fund’s trustees in their quest to deepen their involvement, better define their focus, and increase their annual giving. This has resulted in a new name for the fund, an evolved definition of its mission and brand, and investment in larger, multi-year projects.