Posts Tagged strategy

Taking a look around

I talk about field building. It isn’t a popular concept. It is mostly done by foundations, although businesses to strive to build fields that create markets for their products and services. But if you really want to change the world, looking at it, from my perspective anyway, requires one to see the interplay of different fields in the world, assess the gaps, and foster the growth of new fields that fit your strategic direction. So, if thrivability is my mission, what are my strategies? And where is thrivability as a field?

Let’s look at the second question first, because my strategy is going to be the application of my unique abilities and capacity to the gaps I note in the field. Here are the elements of a field:

  • Identity
  • knowledge base
  • workforce and leadership
  • standard practice
  • practice setting
  • information exchange
  • infrastructure for collaboration
  • resources
  • critical mass of support
  • advocates and system support
  • systemic support

See my card on Elements of a Field.

Where is thrivability with these elements? Off to do a snapshot. I assume that will take some significant time to capture, which I will document here.

So let me give you a sneak peak at my approach from there. Once I understand where the field is, I will be looking at what I can do to help it flourish. The next three to six months will involve an indexing of the network, the knowledge the network holds, the fields on which this one relies, the key and emerging players, the tools the field can use, the energy level of particular practices and efforts, etc.

Then, later in 08, I will look for leverage points, tipping points if you will, for making an impact on the field. I will rely on meta strategies learned from network analysis, complex adaptive systems, persuasion, messaging, etc.

Then I will strive to find my fit. What will my strategies be? What are my specific tangible goals? What do I see as trends, and what can I do to anticipate and make use of them? How will I support myself while being consistent with my work on thrivability?

Please join me, teach me, share with me, change with me.


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Zooming way out to try to place my own evolution within the context of thrivability…here is what I have come up with so far.

Taking from my understanding of the evolution of a donor, for example.

  1. Initially donors often respond to requests with small gifts and make little planning or spend little time thinking about strategically giving. We can call this a passive donor. Most donors fall in this group.
  2. Beginning to think about strategy and setting aside funds or time for giving leads to the next phase of pro-active donor.
  3. Perhaps a pro-active donor gathering community of peers and setting up strategic plans might be a prudent donor.
  4. Creating community, fostering development of other donors, and pushing for greater awareness around giving might be an activist donor.
  5. Becoming a leader–sharing best practices, innovating new approaches, becoming a mentor, and advocating for the field as a respected voice might be considered the final stage of evolution–an inspired donor leader.

So what might these stages look like in parallel for thrivability?

  1. Passive thriver: incorporates green practices of friends, chooses thivable options when presented.
  2. Pro-active thriver: buys organic, fair-trade when possible. Reads news about thrivable practices in favored domains, researches to find thrivable options.
  3. Prudent thriver: Engages in community of other thrivers, acts as a conscious consumer, has growing awareness of complex systems at play and the difficulty of the perfect solution.
  4. Activist thriver: Creates and engages in community of thrivers, expands community by reaching out into network to grow awareness.
  5. Inspired thriver leader: sharing best practices, innovating new approaches, becoming a mentor, and advocating for the field as a respected voice.

So where am I? Perhaps moving from 3 to 4?

The last several years I have gone from leaning toward greener practices to advocating for them. I consistently choose, when possible, organic foods and clothing, reduced packaging, recycling and reuse, a paperless office practices, using my own bags at the grocery…moving from recycling when easy to recycling everything possible, reduced consumption, etc. The list is long. But it is not enough. Even if I get my friends to do what I am doing, and I do more of what my maven friends are doing.

So at the beginning of this year, I discussed with a friend, what more can we do? I already try to serve customers aligned with my view and practices. Where else can I have impact? So here we are, to blog that exploration, discovery, and emergence.

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Here we begin

I have been thinking for a couple years now about thrivability. I research here and there to learn more. Something about it struck me. Sustainability seems like a great idea, but I don’t want to just be able to sustain life. I want to see life thrive. Human life, plant life, ecosystem life.

“Hey if we can’t manage sustainability, why even aim for thrivability?” some ask.  I have a coaching background, so I know the power of setting strong, compelling goals. I say we go for the big dream, the full vision. Let us not merely work away from unsustainable activities. Instead let us work toward a thrivable world.

So I wondered, for many months, what can I do about this? And what is my role? I have many causes that interest me, where does this one fit. This new year’s I took a look, as I usually do, at my plan for the next year. And because so many of my conversations now focus on climate change, thrivability became the center point to my plan. Everything I do needs to be strategically aligned with achieving a thrivable world.

That doesn’t mean I am no longer working with philanthropy projects or community development or social justice issues, clients, and projects. It means I do all these things with the aim of driving towards thrivability.

I have also significantly shifted my personal practices over the last several years. And while I am celebrating my success at adapting new habits and behaviors, I increasingly feel like they are insufficient by themselves to make the difference I want to make. So here I stand, I can do no other…as my ancestor did before me. I must work harder for thrivability.

Will you help me? Do you hear the call? What can we do together?

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