Bridgeway Partners Blog
Our recent work with nonprofit service providers committed to reducing poverty has uncovered a concern shared by many of them across a wide range of communities, “Although our work is connected, we’re not connected to each other.” This blog post describes the costs incurred by all stakeholders when nonprofit service providers fail to collaborate, uses systems thinking to explain why collaboration is so difficult despite the shared aspirations held by many of these providers, and identifies four strategies for enabling providers to increase their individual and collective impact while leveraging limited resources.
This post builds on the previous one, “Learning to Manage Complexity – 5 Strategies” by introducing four tools for managing complexity: negotiate SMART agreements; clarify multiple roles; manage communication channels wisely – meetings and email; and break down priorities into manageable time frames.
Organizations which seek to embrace complexity can implement five strategies to manage it more effectively. These are 1) thinking differently about complexity, 2) thinking differently about collaboration, 3) thinking differently about productivity, 4) holding firm to a limited set of priorities, and 5) organization redesign.
Many people ask how they can further their learning about applied systems thinking. Depending on your experience so far, here are some recommended pathways. They include: books, articles, online courses, online videos and podcasts, and project-based coaching.
“I believe that this country needs both liberals and conservatives. And we need both traditions at their best and highest expressions, especially now.” So writes Van Jones, a highly regarded CNN political contributor, leader of numerous social and justice organizations, and former special adviser to the Obama White House, in his outstanding new book Beyond the Messy Truth. This post reviews Jones' book as it challenges liberals and conservatives alike to be true to their ideals and draw on the best of their traditions to reform the criminal justice system, stem the opioid crisis, and create 21st century jobs.
Inspired by Congressman Tim Ryan's book A Mindful Nation, this post identifies and encourages readers to cultivate connections across mindfulness, systems thinking, and public policy-making. It shows the numerous similarities between mindfulness and systems thinking, and it describes the role that both can play in facilitating not only social change but also transforming the fear-based, symptom-focused, blaming behaviors that govern an increasing part of our political discourse.
In order to lead systemic change, learn to access levers at the individual, collective or relational, and systems levels. The I/WE/IT framework enables leaders to cultivate a viewpoint of personal responsibility for change, strengthen collaborations, and identify high leverage interventions.