Category Archives: Design Thinking

Building an Effective Philanthropy for Real Donors

Underlying much of the recent discussion about whether donors care whether nonprofits are effective and how to build a more effective field of philanthropy, is a recurring focus on how philanthropy experts think donors should behave. I thought the New Philanthropy Capital blog captured the silliness of this approach most aptly in their recent post […]

Announcing the Smart Money Award

During the Monitor Future of Philanthropy workshop, the attendees broke into small groups to rapidly prototype an innovation that could help propel some of the themes discussed in the workshop. The group that I was a part of ended up winning the prize for best innovation. Given that the winning entry from last year’s workshop […]

Monitor Institute & The Future of Philanthropy

On Thursday, I had the great pleasure of attending an all day workshop on the future of philanthropy hosted by the Monitor Institute. The session was so stimulating that I have page after page of potential blog post concepts I scribbled down over the course of the day. I know that I’ll never get around […]

A Killer App for Philanthropy

A killer app (application) is a piece of software that is so fantastic that it drives uptake of the hardware needed to run the software. For many people email was the killer app that drove regular computer use in the 90’s. So what’s the killer app for engaged philanthropy? What is the activity that will […]

Innovating While Getting Things Done

In Tom Watson’s response to Seth Godin yesterday, he wrote: Change ain’t easy when the world keeps moving and you have the keep the lights on… More nonprofits need to adapt, to experiment, to take risks, to embrace change. But they need to keep on providing services while they’re doing it. This is a real […]

Accepting Discomfort as We Navigate Uncertainty

Last month I was invited to a brainstorming session hosted by IDEO. The focus was on Innovation in Evaluation and one of the outputs is a blog authored by IDEO and hosted by GOOD magazine. The brainstorming session concluded with the identification of a number of core concepts that we discussed and a promise from […]

IDEO & Philanthropy

Some time last year I started reading about the company IDEO. IDEO is one of the leading design firms globally (they designed the modern computer mouse!), but from my standpoint, it is their pioneering work in “design thinking” that caught my attention and got me thinking about the applications of their approach in philanthropy. I […]

Successful Grantmaking

This article I wrote appears in the current edition of the Grant Managers Network Examiner newsletter. Successful Grantmaking: T-Shaped People, Consilience & Design Thinking By Sean Stannard-Stockton How can grantmakers be successful in the 21st century?  They need to embrace design thinking and become T-Shaped People. Philanthropy is a most cross-disciplinary practice.  While program officers […]

Design Thinking in Philanthropy

I just finished reading an excellent piece of journalism; an in depth look at IDEO founder David Kelley that appeared in last month’s issue of Wired Magazine Fast Company (hat tip @socialentrprnr). Earlier this month I wrote about IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown and the concept of T-Shaped People. I’ve been intrigued by IDEO for some […]