Why your brilliant plans for social change will never work

In recent years I’ve grown tired of writing plans, beautiful plans, strategies, ideas, theories, feasibility analysis to create social change around difficult community situations. It’s been exciting and sometimes rewarding work. Sometimes the plans create a spark, sometimes informed something bigger. But in all, these documents that have been lovingly woven together usually sit on desks gathering dust waiting to …

It’s not a relay if you don’t pass the baton on

If you’ve been anywhere within earshot of me in the past months you’ll have heard about my frustrations with the pathetic school based traineeship (SBAT) systems that Australia currently has in place.

Public art and community recovery

When recently in Christchurch, NZ I was moved and inspired by the public art.  I had to learn more about how the artworks contributed to the community recovery process after the 2011 Earthquake. Deborah McCormick, Founder and Director of SCAPE Public Art kindly joined me for an interview where I learned not only about the role of public art in …

Is the community sector toxic?

If you work in the community (read not for profit) sector, particularly in a community development, coordination or management role I’d say you wouldn’t be surprised to hear the sector described as somewhat ‘tricky’ sometimes (not all the time) even tipping into dysfunctional. I wonder sometimes if the rise in recent years of ‘corporate refugees’ (i.e. people escaping their corporate jobs …

Experience your industry before you jump in

A colleague recently commented on the necessity of fledgling business owners (in particular social enterprise owners) trialing and testing their industry before launching themselves upon the world. Personally, I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more.  You may have participated in one of those conversations.  A ‘good idea’ is borne, the committee says “Everyone will want one of those”, a grant …

When a social enterprise is not an enterprise

Unless you’ve been living under a rock by now you’ve heard the term ‘social enterprise’. There are many and varied definitions of the illustrious notion of social enterprise, our working definition “a business entity that TRADES for a social purpose” (noting the word TRADES). In Australia social enterprise is not a legal structure in it’s own right and for that matter, a …

Lip service isn’t helping

If there’s anything that boils my blood it’s the use of disadvantaged communities for their sexy statistics of disadvantage.  And the resulting commodification of problems. Actually, I ‘get’ the commercial imperative of these actions.  I understand that it’s a tough world for NGOs big and small (particularly small) right now.  I get that ‘poverty sells’. But what I truly look forward …

Stop planning, start doing.

If I could distill just one thing from over 12 years consulting for communities it’s this; People in any community, no matter how disadvantaged already know how they want to live their lives. And that’s hard for an ‘expert’ to chew on.  Because we are paid to have the great ideas, right? One of the things that always irked me in …

A resolution that sticks

Which best describes your approach to new year’s resolutions? 1. I’m a master – I set the challenge and follow through knowing it’s an excellent way to create change 2. I usually fall off the wagon around 3 January 3. Who are you kidding, I couldn’t even be bothered setting one 4. I waiver between all of the above.  Depends …

#15 Flying Pigs at Number 20

Week 15 of posts to inspire you through the week. Copy the format, engage in the content, learn and grow. We are all on a journey, why not make it a conscious one.  Below:  Leadership, What Matters, Community, Work/Life balance and The Week Ahead.  But first… I’ve been thinking a lot about CHANGE, in particular leading in times of change …