Archive for the 'Partnerships' Category

Systems Thinking

Written on March 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

I don’t much like labels – perhaps because the work I do has never fallen neatly into any available labels.  But one label I was recently given, I do quite like: systems thinker. “Systems thinking  is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole.”

Having been a ‘multidisciplinary’ international relations student, and then practitioner, I’ve always taken an integrative approach, looking at what links to what. Systems thinking can help bridge the gaps we so often see among artificially created silos by bringing together creative thinkers and doers wherever they may be and however they may …


The Value of Mentoring

Written on February 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

The good folks at are starting a peer coaching program for the international development community.   That got me thinking recently about mentoring.  One of my earliest mentors advised me to ‘always be a mentor and have a mentor’;  and  I have always tried to follow that advice.  Sometimes the assumption is made that mentorship is ‘older’ to ‘younger’ but good mentor relationships don’t need to be age determined.  There are different kinds of mentorship relationships, and formal and informal programs.  Some of the ways mentors can support you are in your professional career, through a new project, or in …


Navigating Global Change

Written on January 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm

What skills, methods and tools will we need to navigate the choppy waters we are in and bring about transformative social change?

I have just spent 3 days in discussion with 22 people from 7 countries in a “we_b” laboratory held in Brussels under the umbrella of a new collaborative group we are calling Collective Impact x Innovation Institute (Ci2i).  Some of the concepts that we explored in this initial “we_x” lab included:

1.  Thrivability – Using a whole systems approach, we evolve our way of being together, of collaborating, so that our collective wisdom and action bring forth a …


Working Together

Written on September 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

One of the themes that came out of last week’s discussions around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the need for more effective cross-sector partnerships.  Although there are specific examples, they can be hard to come by.  Perhaps at some point I will curate a more extensive reading list around this topic, but for now, here are some articles I have recently come across.  Please do suggest others!

  • Collective Impact by John Kania and Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • PepsiCo to Foster Chickpeas in Ethiopia by Stephanie Strom, New York Times.
  • A conversation with John Tedstrom of the Global Business

Reflecting on Corporate Social Responsibility

Written on September 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

J. from Tales from the Hood is kicking off this week a “Aid Blog Forum” introducing different topics on a periodic basis.  The initial topic is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and you can read the intro blog here.  I am certainly no expert on CSR but I am happy to participate in the inaugural forum week and share some of my experiences and observations.

There are different reasons for and ways for corporate entities ‘to do’ CSR.  These reasons can include:

  1. To improve the corporate bottom line;
  2. To improve the corporation’s image or brand;
  3. Because the partners, shareholders or management