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Jan 27, 2014

#Youth 2014: Our Favorite Social Media Resources (& A Way to Add Yours)

It took our team no time at all to assemble a giant list of social media resource we like. Curating them down to a manageable number proved more difficult.

Alas, we're working on our list (started below). We'll add your from the poll & Social Media session as we receive them (feel free to comment below as well). 


Websites (yeah, we know, it's hard to discern, but we tried anyway)

Slidedecks (under development)

Books (under development & add yours in comments below!)

Cool stuff we found in the past month...(under development & add yours!)

Nominations for Great Resources from the #Youth2014 Social Media Session

C'mon, we're just getting started. Add yours in the comments section below.




Jan 27, 2014

It's the CWA Youth Conference: Stand and Deliver Together! (#Youth2014)

Wahoo! It's CWA Youth Conference time! Have your workshops scheduled? If you plan to attend Engaging Young People Using Social Media (or even if you don't), tell us what you think the field needs to know!

It's a speedy (and fun) poll.

The handout we will be using follows.

We will also post the slides here on weadership.org after the event, together with the resources named during the session - all this because we agree with David Weinberger that "the smartest person in the room is the room." So we try to share whenever we can.




Dec 4, 2013

Welcome #SustainableCommunities Grantees!

We're so excited to be part of the HUD #SustainableCommunities Grantee Convening at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC this week. If you are looking for the workforce resources we cited in our session, this is the place to start.

First, did you sign-in so we can send you a response to your questions? No? Please take this super-quick poll.

Are you looking for the handout? It's here:

While you are here, feel free you look around a little.

And let us know what you are up to through email, Facebook or Twitter.

We'll put the slides up as soon as the session is over on December 5, 2013.

Update! Here is the slide deck:

Sep 2, 2013

For Oregon: It's Labor Day, Let's Reimagine Leadership on Jobs

Labor Day Stamp - $.03

In 1887, Oregon became the first state in the union to recognize Labor Day. 

A century ago, the US Department of Labor was founded, giving new Secretary Thomas Perez the honor of presiding during its 100th anniversary. This summer, Governor Kitzhaber named a new Workforce Policy Coordinator and head of the Oregon Employment Department

How can these leaders make a difference on workforce issues today?  

Workforce leadership was once about connecting unemployed people to jobs through training – because new skills can help people compete more effectively in the labor market – or by providing unemployment insurance and job search assistance during career transitions. 

This vision is no longer enough. Today’s labor markets are dizzyingly complex. In Oregon, we can work for anyone from anywhere or make our own jobs – many in occupations that did not exist a decade ago. We can TaskRabbit, temp, study, train, intern, apprentice, or Kickstart a new venture – simultaneously if need be. But these innovations have not led to widespread economic security – an indicator on which 31 states rank higher than our own

We must find better ways to work, learn, and prosper. For this, we need leaders from all sectors who can deploy the state’s most significant asset: the ingenuity of Oregon’s 3.9 million residents. 

Here are three ways to start.  

Share intelligence, not just labor market data. We need dashboards more like FitBit and less like spreadsheets, signals that alert us to trends, and filters to help us find information we need to make decisions. Providing data just gives us more work. Sharing intelligence helps make us smarter and could even create whole new labor markets.

Engage us in problem solving, not just policy review. Ask what we are willing to contribute so that young people and veterans can find work, local businesses can secure growth capital, or rural communities can find new sources of prosperity. Ask what ideas or resources we can share and what skills, tools, methods, technologies, workspaces, or other assets we can offer. Coordinate these contributions so problems get solved.  

Experiment. Not with a single pilot program but through small-scale initiatives in workplaces, schools, colleges, and hacker, maker, and other social innovation spaces everywhere. What do internships look like for adults who are changing careers? How can aspiring craftspeople (of all ages) learn through ADX, Hatch, and Stumptown Syndicate (P2PU and Coursera) as well as Portland Community College? How can businesses better engage the 70% of us who are bored at work? How do we get smarter about the currency of skills and learning – through badges, portfolios, or by using open platforms like GitHub or Degreed? The goal is not to build new programs but to find what works and support that until better solutions emerge. 

So, after today's picnics and beach trips (for those who have the day off), let’s do this. Surely it's as compelling as what's already on our Tuesday morning agendas.  

Who's in?


Kristin Wolff is an adjunct researcher with Social Policy Research Associates (Oakland,
CA); owner and co-founder of thinkers+doers, llc (Portland, OR); and a DIY
student of work, social innovation and technology currently at school in Seoul,
Korea. She can be reached at kwolff@thinkers-and-doers.com or @kristinwolff and will return next week. #workoutloud



Jun 26, 2013

Social Media that Works: Session 3 of the Expanding Business Engagement Virtual Learning Series

As part of the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration's Expanding Business Engagement Technical Assistance Initiative (EBE), Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) designed and supported a three-part Virtual Learning Series in June 5-7, 2013. This slidedeck is from June 6, 2013, the theme of which was Social Media that Works. It featured award winning journalist and social media strategist Spencer Critchley (Boots Road Group). All technical support materials - including recorded webinars, toolkits, DIY guides for convening team and partners, and sample materials curated from among the state teams - will be available on the Initiative's main website in early July 2013.

SPR's Technical Support Team included:


Jun 26, 2013

Profiles & Metrics: Session 2 of the Expanding Business Engagement Virtual Learning Series


As part of the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration's Expanding Business Engagement Technical Assistance Initiative (EBE), Social Policy Research Associates
(SPR) designed and supported a three-part Virtual Learning Series in
June 5-7, 2013. This slidedeck is from June 6, 2013, the theme of
which was Profiles & Metrics. It featured AddOne inititives from Jefferson County, CO and Stanislaus, CA, and Ken Messina from the State of Massachusetts. All technical support
materials - including recorded webinars, toolkits, DIY guides for
convening team and partners, and sample materials curated from among the
state teams - will be available on the Initiative's main website in early July 2013.

SPR's Technical Support Team included:


Jun 26, 2013

Transformation Stories: Session 1 of the Expanding Business Engagement Virtual Learning Series

As part of the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration's Expanding Business Engagement Technical Assistance Initiative (EBE), Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) designed and supported a three-part Virtual Learning Series in June 5-7, 2013. This is the slidedeck from June 5, 2013, the theme of which was Transformation Stories. All technical support materials - including recorded webinars, toolkits, DIY guides for convening team and partners, and sample materials curated from among the state teams - will be available on the Initiative's main website in early July 2013.

SPR's Technical Support Team included:


Nov 27, 2012

SIX Social Innovation Summer School WEadership Simulation

A HUGE thanks to everyone who joined in the #WEadership Deep Dive at SIX during Social Innovation Summer School! You all made it a fantastic experience for me and I hope equally so for you and each other).

I'm attaching the slides (with some extras I skipped) and the letter, together with links to the simulation toolkits I told you about.

Have fun and let me know how your own simulation goes!

PS Sarah Schulman, thank you in particular for pushing me a step further toward "what's next?" Let's get heads together on this...

Nov 19, 2012

Strangely Invisible Seismic Changes Demand New Approaches to Jobs, Business & Community Prosperity

Last Wednesday, over a hundred entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, universities, and others who care about technology, human progress, and community prosperity gathered at the Doubletree Hotel for the SBIR/STTR Annual Conference in Portland, OR.

Lisa Gansky launched the day with a fast-paced description of some seismic shifts in the way we live, work, and do business. In a nutshell, she argues that the combination of social networks, mobile technologies, and 'thing-tracking' (GPS, RFID, and similar fast-evolving technologies) have brought us to an inflection point: lots and lots of people are finding it less costly and more convenient to access products and services rather than to own them.

This is the foundation of the share economy described in her book (The Mesh) and the emergent movement to make sharing the next big thing.

Whoa! The Business of Sharing?

The implications of these changes are quite profound.

If sharing, rather than "buying" is the new black, legions of traditional business models may be upended – hence the evolution of a whole new brand of consultants, intermediaries, and experts whose talents lie in business model generation and innovation.

Moreover, the way we regulate and govern "business" is evolving without a blueprint for what comes next. San Francisco – home to dozens of businesses in the share economy space – has launched an initiative to figure out whether or how to regulate such firms. Where, for example, is the line between "hotels" (subject to hotel tax) and residences-for-rent like those listed on AirBnB (not subject to hotel tax)? As the share economy evolves, dozens of similar issues will arise. There are increasing calls for a bigger vision of such an economy (more signal, less noise).

An ecosystem is emerging here: when people, such as the owners of the properties listed on AirBnB, or those renting seats in their cars and tools in their garages and so on, can monetize what had been unused value, they can raise capital (say, for starting their own businesses), in new ways. This week, Skillshare (a shared platform for learning) lists a new class for people who seek to do exactly this – maximize the value of their owned assets so they can raise capital for starting their own enterprises.

The ability of people to generate value (and capital) in new ways – because technology allows us to organize and share at a scale we simply couldn't do a decade ago – means that communities have new choices, tools, and ways of approaching job creation and economic development from the bottom up.

Which is where #scaleup comes in.

ScaleUp Campaign: Local Innovation, Inclusion and Impact Economies from ScaleUp Campaign on Vimeo.

An emerging collaboration of people working on jobs and prosperity in creative ways want to share information about what works, so they can #scaleup solutions.

We convened last week in Portland, Oregon – our Louisville, southeast Michigan, New York City, Maryland, and Washington DC colleagues joined via Cisco Telepresence (many thanks to Wieden + Kennedy, for hosting). All of these people (and there are many, many more) are finding new ways to create prosperity in their communities by connecting and experimenting with new and old, top and bottom, traditional and non – they are are building (hacking?) new economies.

Here are five strategies they shared:

  • Rebecca Cohen, research and policy maven at the Workforce Intelligence Network, is sharing real time labor market intelligence and supporting action-focused partnerships between firms, educational institutions, economic and workforce development organizations in southeast Michigan. WIN is changing the conversation around talent in the region, and building a next-generation approach to workforce and economic development.
  • Christian Johansson heads the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development – and freely shares the secret sauce that landed Maryland a top spot on on the US Chambers' list of best states for innovation and entrepreneurship. "We reward innovation, invest in our skilled workforce and encourage entrepreneurship through state programs and public-private partnerships."   
  • Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In (and Take Your Daughter to Work Day, among others things) is working with women entrepreneurs grow their businesses into million-dollar enterprises, adding millions of jobs and placing more women in positions of economic leadership in their communities.
  • Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of the Pipeline Fellowship, trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. She and her colleagues are unlocking capital for women social entrepreneurs and changing the face of the US angel investment community.
  • Haley Stevens makes innovative economic development happen in regions. Currently working on the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) – a new collaboration between Louisville and Lexington – Haley is linking public- and private-sector manufacturing initiatives within and across regions to maximize their overall impact and shed light on the policies, regulations, and protocols that impede or advance the health of the sector and region.

Although the launch of #scaleup was inspiring, what comes next matters more.

If you are a convener of the kind of innovation described in the video (or know someone who is), join scaleupcampaign.org (and follow on Twitter) so we can learn from each other, and accelerate positive changes in our regions and communities.


Nov 10, 2012

Three Takeaways from the Open Solutions Society Event with Greg Dees

What would the world look like if we all adopted a social solutions mindset?

Greg Dees invited a diverse group of students, professionals, and community members to explore this question during his "Open Solutions Society" talk Friday night at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (@PNCA). Portland State University Social Innovation Incubator (@PSUImpact) co-hosted the event. 

Here are three things I valued most about the experience.

First, I appreciated the historical context Greg Dees brought to his remarks. It's easy to feel like the effort to find innovative solutions to social problems by working across sectors and with citizens has barely achieved infancy. There are so many ideas and small scale initiatives, but it remains hard to see the forest through the trees. Dr. Dees, widely recognized as the father of the field of social entrepreneurship, speaks from a place of deep knowledge about the history and evolution of this messy space where mission meets market.

Drawing on the insights of economists like Douglas North, Nathan Rosenberg, and Ian Morris, Dr. Dees reminds us that:

  • The history of the world is one of adaptation. An innovation in one part of the world spreads, and creates the unintended consequences to which people adapt with new innovations, and so it goes.
  • Testing new ideas on the margins really matters. As these ideas scale, they become the drivers of more substantive transformations—and in unpredictable ways, as Clay Shirky points out in his TED talk about how the internet is changing (government and other) institutions. 
  • In order for ideas to scale, they have to have ways of being absorbed into markets or institutions. The path is fairly clear for private-sector innovators: they secure capital to grow, sell to larger firms, license thier technologies, go public, or some combination. New ideas are just as critical for social progress as economic progress, but the path for scaling social innovations is much less clear.

This is a case for field-building. Citing Richard Nelson's observation that industries with special skill needs—like, say the social innovation/enterprise/entrepreneurship/
impact/insert-your-favorite-label-here—require effective support structures to grow and become more efficient, Dr. Dees advocates a new kind of ecosystem—one that is more open and collaborative and offers new kinds of intermediaries, structures, and options for growing and scaling.  

Second, although the venue was not ideal for speaker/audience interaction, I appreciated Dr. Dees turning the floor over to audience for more than the customary 5 minutes of Q&A. One participant raised a question about how we get to a shared language among people with different experiences and points of view who so often talk past one another (business people coming to the social sector vs. social sectors professionals doing the reverse, for example).

(The questioner was helping to solve this problem simply by asking it in public.)

A specific "aha" moment for me, resulting from that question, was the possibility of linking Theory of Change approaches to social problem solving and design approaches. I often struggle with which frame to adopt in a given problem-solving environment. Last night's session, coupled with a video or two on framing, helped me see ways to blend these appraoches, even explain them in terms of each other.

Finally, although we had far too little time to explore the idea of an Open Solutions Society (and since that's the title of Dr. Dees coming book, he may not have wanted to steal his own thunder...), I really liked this idea. I asked where he had seen the promise of such a thing in the real world and the question seemed to stump him a little, though, again, he could have been keeping things under wraps until publication). 

So, I thought I'd add some breadcrumbs leading toward what I think he is describing from my small patch of the world—Portland, Oregon, the Northwest.

Here are three:

  • The coming #ScaleUp campaign. Lots of people are trying to figure out new ways to build healthy economies. This week a network of people from government, philanthropy, and the private sector in Oregon will test launch a campaign about scaling solutions to our fundamental economic challenges. The idea is simple: getting people from all corners connected so that good ideas for bottom up job creation have a better chance of getting to scale than they would otherwise. If you are interested, #scaleup wants to hear from you (regardless of where you live). #ecosystembuilding 
  • Change Exchange Northwest is an initiative Springboard innovation launched just this week, in partnership with Supportland, Mission Markets, Cutting Edge Capital, and communities all over the Northwest. The idea is to connect people who want to grow local and social enterprises within and across communities so that they can invest in each others' success and economic health—in an authentic, and accountable way. #ecosystembuilding
  • Social Venture Society will host Hacking Social Impact (November 12-13, 2012), an unconference intended to help build the skills of social entrepreneurs to navigate impact investing more effecitvely and to help impact investors unpack what they mean by impact. (if you hurry, there might still be time to register). #ecosystembuilding

I think I'll conclude with this Tim O'Reily speech. I'm still amazed by the number of tech people I turn to for lessons on the econony and government...there's a lesson in there somewhere. I'm not sure I can quite explain this particular connection, but one of the themes in Greg Dees talk (and a subject of interest among members of the audience) was the understanding value as distinct from profit. Tim O'Reilly's clothesline talk (borrowed from others before him) is one of the best commentaries on this theme I've heard. 

Until next time.

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