Moderated Innovation in Philanthropy

#LateNightRamblings: So, what does it take to change the world? What does it even take to change your city or your neighborhood? People have been working at it a long time, and look where we are. It just seems like, if we want different results, we need different methodology.

As I delve more into this philanthropic business, this #changemaker world, I see a lot of good ideas, but I also see a lot of inertia, and I definitely see a LOT of bad ideas. I think the thing that upsets me the most is the funding.

I see funding going to so many projects, both new and old, that are so obviously headed for failure. I think the new ones annoy me the most. Sure, they might be some short-lived fun, but in the long run, when the funding runs out, they turn out to be unsustainable. Then, what was the point of all that money?

I see the word “innovation” bandied about quite a bit. I see money going to “innovative” projects for no other reason than they are trendy. Some work out okay, but many, the majority, do not. They are just the theme of the week, they have no substance and no real, long-term merit. But, everyone wants to hop on the hashtag-of-the-week trendwagon. It is like the funders are trying to buy their way into coolness.

On the other side, many of the old style organizations, that have not kept up with the new ideas that do work, still keep plodding along, sucking up dollars that could go to leaner, more efficient organizations. The opportunities presented my new technologies and new management styles are really amazing, but so many people just stick to the “this is the way we have always done it.”

Question everything. Do the old styles of Boards work? I know, it is blasphemy to even ask. Do the old styles of executive management work? Does the old habit of working your volunteers until they crash still work? Do the old funding models still work? If the answer is yes, definitely keep it, if the answer is no, stop holding onto it just out of fear of change.

It is a balancing act that requires moderation on both ends; too bleeding edge, and you end up wasting money on things nobody ever wanted; too tried-and-true and you lose out on the potential presented by new learning. The real magic happens in that middle-area, by taking the old methods that do work, and carefully applying new methodology to them, pushing the envelope, without ripping it.

You know, but nobody wants to talk about the middle. The bleeding edge stuff appeals to the adrenaline junkies and trend-hoppers. The tried-and-true stuff appeals to the complacent and lazy. The moderated innovation that takes place in the middle appeals to no one, but it is where the actual progress happens.

I always say we are inventing the future. We are creating things things that have not been done (e.g. PhilanthroFest), but we base them on the parts of the past that work (it’s a big family festival). If you just do new stuff that has no sustainability, then it does not become the future because it eventually dies off. If you just keep doing the same old thing, then you are not inventing anything. Inventing the future means creating things from the past that are new AND sustainable.

You do have to try new stuff. You do have to learn from the past. You can do both. Unfortunately, it seems that most people think it is one or the other.

Social Post July 28, 2014 at 05:15PM

Great meeting with Bayfront Park Miami. It is always so nice to meet with people who “get it” and the directors there really do. Seriously some of the nicest people to work with, and so supportive of the community.

Awesome to be helping out Naomi Lauren Ross on her big project. Very exciting stuff! Watch out for this girl, she is going to be big time in just a few years! via Facebook

Oh yeah pizza time

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#sunset #hdr #Naples

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#Everglades (kinda)

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Social Post July 25, 2014 at 03:23PM

Can’t hold back! Great team conference call with Malia Lazu, Brooke Emerson, and Claudia Ximena Figueredo! So honored to be working with these power ladies and really changemaking projects. via Facebook

Social Post July 25, 2014 at 02:33PM

#ProTip: Um… yeah, if you send out an email that says, “Personal Invitation”, but it is obviously BCC’ed, that does NOT count as a “Personal” invitation. That is actually kind of insulting. I mean, if you want to send me an impersoanl e-blast, that is cool, as long as I have signed up, but don’t pretend that you love me so much you are taking the time to send me a real personal letter, when you are not.

I send out personal invitations, sometimes. And sometimes I send out a lot of them. And every single one of them is individually emailed, with a personal greeting.

But, if you think that using the word “personal” on an impersonal email is going to make it more personal, you are wrong. via Facebook

Social Post July 24, 2014 at 06:53PM

#ProTip STOP SENDING PRODUCT REPS THAT DO NOT KNOW YOUR TWITTER / INSTAGRAM HANDLES!!! I mean seriously, how fundamental is that? But it happens a lot. via Facebook

Social Post July 23, 2014 at 11:57PM

So, first it was the A/C went bad, then it was the refrigerator died, now my computer is wacked out and needs to go in the shop. This has not been a good summer for electronic devices. via Facebook

Social Post July 23, 2014 at 05:54PM

So I just got this whiny email in all caps and when I tried to respond to it, it bounced. via Facebook