2010: Serving the Emerging Paradigm

by Pia Infante In this New York Times’ 2009 Year in Pictures snapshot, I was reminded that this Administration, for all its disappointed high hopes for year one, does attempt/intend to do a successively modern iteration of public dialogue. And even though this picture documents the improbable meeting of four men, the public dialogue I’m thinking of is actually far more wide-spread (think 308,243,000 residents in the U.S. alone) and much more viral (think gmail or twitter), but retains the premise of engaging folks across spectrums, geography, and (most importantly) preferred company. As evidenced by the Open Government efforts (expertly followed by NCDD) and the tech/social …   Read more

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What are the Rules of Engagement in Copenhagen?

By Pia Infante As the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen kicks off a two-week gathering of 110 world leaders and roughly 15,000 delegates, I must admit that I’m intensely fascinated about the mechanisms for dialogue and decision-making at an event that some analysts have already predicted will fall quite short of a unilaterally signed treaty to effectively reduce carbon emissions by 2020. Oh, to be a fly on the wall somewhere among the 60,000 square meters of the Bella Center, the largest conference center in Scandinavia. The conference agenda discloses few process secrets, looking very much like many conference programs – there are …   Read more

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Beyond the Rockstar Paradigm


During a plenary at TWI grantee Interfaith Youth Core’s conference Interfaith Youth Work: “Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World”, I was struck by Representative Keith Ellison’s, 5th Congressional District of Minnesota,vehement statement: “let’s differentiate between leaders and leadership.” Clearly positional leaders can demonstrate very little leadership while those of us without positional authority can offer leadership at any moment. Think about the volunteer who, in June of 1963, acted to print 50,000 instead of 5,000 fliers for the march (an immense effort in pre-Kinko’s times) that eventually helped bring over a million people to hear MLK speak in the mall. Or the …   Read more

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Indepedent Sector's Future Lab: They Built It and They're Not Coming

By John EsterleI recently got another email from Independent Sector trying to solicit input and ideas for Future Lab: An Ongoing Challenge for the Nonprofit Community to Chart a Vibrant 2020. The Lab is a well-intentioned effort to promote online dialogue and collaborative thinking that IS has clearly devoted considerable time, energy, and money to. The Lab is one part of IS’ Envisioning Our Future initiative that was kicked off in July with their Strategy Lab convening in Colorado.Unfortunately, hardly anyone — including me — is taking up their invitation to participate online.My non-participation brings to mind my own recent post about the challenge of people not leaving comments on blogs. So why haven’t I participated? Here’s some of what …   Read more

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Maya Enista: Utne Visionary

By John EsterleThe Utne Reader has published their annual list of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” and Maya Enista, CEO of TWI grantee, Mobilize.org, is among them. Congratulations, Maya!As I went down the list of the other 49 visionaries without recognizing a single one, I couldn’t help but think of the countless people working in so many different places and in so many different ways to make the world a better place. Given the constant drumbeat of bad news we get it’s important to remember, and be grateful for, just how many forces for good there are in the world. Thanks to Utne for highlighting that. …   Read more

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