Building Capacities for New Visions
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Mark Holmgren's e-zine


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In This Issue
This issue features access to postings on Social Impact Bonds, Transformation Practice, and Competition and Duplication in the Non-Profit Sector. There are also links to resources and other interesting things to consider.

Articles and Resources

The Scoop on Social Impact Bonds

To say that there is wide spectrum of opinion about these bonds would be an understatement. There are sector leaders dead set against them, others who are cynical but still engaged in the dialogue, and still others who are what I would call “soft” advocates. Fewer still are actually putting time and resources into the development of initiatives that could be financed by a social impact bond. READ MORE

Competition and
Duplication Are Not Evil

Non-profits are competitors. We tend to prefer downplaying our competiveness, but when push comes to shove, we compete for limited dollars, whether from funders or donors. Surely collaboration, if done well, can produce results that organizations cannot produce alone; however, why do we quickly acquiesce to the notion that competition in our sector is contraindicated or somehow inappropriate?  READ MORE

Transformational Ideas require Transformational Practice

I have said more than once: transformative ideas require (and deserve) transformative practice. They must weave together if we have any hope of our ideas coming to fruition. To create unique, beautiful music goes beyond the composition. Creativity, passion, and experience are put to practice (technique) and what we hear is all of that, not just the notes the pianist in playing. In other words, often, if not all the time, new music requires new technique. READ MORE

Mark HolmgrenMark Holmgren is the CEO of Bissell Centre, a multi-service organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and homelessness.

Also a writer and consultant, Mark is an avid blogger. His postings appear on his site as well as on Tamarack's website.


Bias Snapshot

Ambiguity Effect
We feel ambiguous about an idea  when we don’t have the information we want, or think we want, to fully embrace the idea or to even understand our position on it. One risk of the Ambiguity Effect is that we always want more or “missing” information before we allow ourselves to fully participate in the conversation. 

Want a quick view of a long list of biases we need to watch out for? CLICK HERE

The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.

 -Martin Heidegger

Prototyping Innovation

Having an innovative idea is not the same thing as doing innovation. Obviously we need the idea, but the measure of innovation is on the “product” of the idea. 

User Design principles are helpful frames for prototyping innovation. Gould and Lewis (1985) offer the following in their book, Early Focus on Users & Tasks. READ MORE


You don’t need to know how your feet
work in order to walk.
Forget strategy,. Create the right skeleton for mobility, dexterity, health…
If you are going to shoot anyone, don’t’ shoot the messenger. Shoot the guy peeking around the corner hoping the messenger will be shot.


Collective Impact Forum

This is the place for those practicing collective impact to find the tools, resources, and advice they need.

It’s a network of individuals coming together to share experience and knowledge to accelerate the effectiveness and adoption of collective impact.
Click HERE.

Working Differently
At the core of Jay Connor's work over the past 15-plus years, has been the achievement of broad-based community outcomes related to poverty reduction, education, and economic development.. At the core of implementation for Connor is broad community engagement. His website/blog offers you counterpoint to Collective Impact but also serves as a solid companion piece to reference if considering a Community Impact initiative. READ MORE

Generative Conversations

This free "white paper" on Generative Conversations provides you will a summary of the four stages of generative conversations and information about dialogue - what it is and how it is different from communication, discussion, debate, and social conversations. DOWNLOAD IT

Tamarack Institute

Many thought leaders are posting here about community impact, community engagement, innovation, leadership, evaluation, and much more.You have probably heard of Tamarack Institute, but are you taking full advantage of all the learning and resources their sites offer? GO THERE.

Types of Advocacy

Large scale change will require advocacy. For many organizations this is new territory and there is concern about legislation and regulations about how far non-profits can go. These links help "define" the many types of advocacy there are.

Types of advocacy

Advocacy fits on a continuum of influence

Empowerment advocacy

A strengths-based approach

Poverty and United Way

This is from our local United Way and I appreciate the way they are bringing forward to its audience of supporters the issues and challenges faced by people living in poverty and how poverty impacts everyone across all sectors.The United Way of the Alberta Capital Region is undertaking to implement its new strategic plan called "Pathways out of Poverty." READ MORE.

Economic Vulnerability

Nearly one in two Canadians lives pay cheque to paycheque.

45% of Canadians 50 and older are only a quarter of the way to their retirement savings goal.

It's not sufficient to talk only about those living below the poverty line. We need to start looking at those teetering on the edge who are not yet classified as "poor."

Living Wage?

Some say a living wage is just over $29,000 ($14/hr). In most cities, a single person can likely get by on that, but one might argue "getting by" is not "living."

Add a kid or two to the mix with only one income earner and $14/hr doesn't cut it.

Income Inequality

"According to the OECD, the top percentile of wealthy Canadians captured a whopping 37% of income growth over the past three decades, more than any other country except the United State "as reported recently in the Financial Post (Read it Here).

I also posted on this at on my blog HERE
Copyright © 2014 Mark Holmgren @ Tamarack Institute, All rights reserved.
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