“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in those places.”
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Today I’m happy to announce the re-launch of my Audacious Ideas series under the name Exploring the Edge (see my post on the redesign). The series will profile ideas from around the social sector that push boundaries, challenge conventional wisdom and otherwise explore the edge between what is and what might be.
Exploring the Edge will accept entries from anyone. All entries will be considered by the Exploring the Edge review committee (see the rather fantastic people I’ve recruited below). To qualify for review, entries must be no longer than 700 words. Each entry should begin with the question “How might we…?” in which the author completes the question and then uses the body of their essay to answer the question. For instance, a entry might begin, “How might we encourage individual donors to base their donations on evidence of what works?” or “How might we attract the very best new college graduates to the nonprofit sector?” with the rest of the essay exploring and answering this question.
We are shooting for quality, not quantity in this series. The review committee is focused on approving only those entries which offer a truly differentiated point of view and provide an intriguing answer to their “How might we…” question. The “How might we…” format is inspired by the IDEO approach to brainstorming.
Importantly, I will not be a member of the review committee. Instead, I will act as the curator of the series and the liaison between entry authors and the review committee.
Now that the sleepy summer months have come to a close, I’m excited to get rolling on this new series. To submit an entry, simply email it to me at Sean@TacticalPhilanthropy.com. Feel free to contact me to discuss your concept before writing it if you like.
Exploring the Edge Review Committee
Cheryl Dorsey, Echoing Green
Cheryl is president of Echoing Green, which makes investments in social entrepreneurs. She is a multiyear member of the Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 and in 2009 was named by US News & World Report one of America’s Best Leaders. She is Vice-Chair of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, after serving as a team member of the Innovation and Civil Society subgroup of the Obama Presidential Transition’s Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group.
Robert Egger, DC Central Kitchen
Robert is the Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen, which distributes meals and runs a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program for unemployed men and women. Robert is a multiyear member of the Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 and is the author of Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All. He has also been named an Oprah Angel and a Point of Light.
Beth Kanter, Zoetica
Beth is the author of Beth’s Blog, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits and co-author of the highly acclaimed book, The Networked Nonprofit. She is the CEO of Zoetica, a company that serves nonprofits and socially conscious companies with top-tier, online marketing services. In 2009, she was named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.”
Paul Tarini, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Paul is the team leader for the Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, which actively seeks innovative projects that can lead to fundamental breakthroughs in health and health care. Paul believes that Pioneer has “both an opportunity and an obligation to challenge the way we look at the future of health care in this nation.” Because the team is dedicated to thinking and talking about new ideas and groundbreaking approaches, including those from nontraditional sources and fields, he says Pioneer enables the Foundation to make conceptual leaps and take risks in grantmaking that would otherwise not be possible.
Jocelyn Wyatt, IDEO
Jocelyn leads IDEO’s Social Innovation domain, which she has expanded over the past several years. In her work, she builds social enterprises and advises businesses in the developing world, using the market to create social change. She has lent her perspective to social-impact projects with clients such as Acumen Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kickstart, and the Rockefeller Foundation.