This is a most hopeful time for our communities and our ability to serve them — a time filled with possibility.
Many of us recognize the limitations of the industrial model, which has been so materially good to us, and the potential for small groups of passionate people, networked in new ways, to achieve great things in a manner which is very rewarding to each participant, making good use of their time in service to others.
This still means great changes in how our communities function and how we serve them. I would like to put all that into context.
So — this blog has a new look, and a new purpose. When I started this blog in April, 2008, it was a cry for help. I knew we needed a whole new approach, but could not articulate it, and was looking for help. Two years ago I began to discover others on the same path, many of whom are referenced on the media blog roll on the right. I was able to connect with those people because Steve Buttry encouraged my use of Twitter, which resulted in virtual, and real world, conversations with those trying to pursue a new direction. The blog then became a link exploration tool, trying to reach out for many perspectives. The last posts, focused on the use of this blog in employee meetings, were to frame the scope of the project in which we are engaged, and to attract a new management team.
Many have asked why I have not blogged since May. My first response is that I think I am continually blogging, by linking to ideas I think are interesting through Twitter. Then I discovered that my Twitter feed was not effectively displayed on many computers. I hope we have fixed that, and that you see the current feed on the right.
But more fundamentally, I had reached the point where I thought I had taken the conversation as far as I could. We had appointed a new management team in late April, and I wanted to give them space to define their own vision of the future.
So, the purpose of this blog is now changing to be support for them and reflections on what they are trying to do, and to link their efforts with our overall role in community development.
That management team has developed a new mission statement, which I think is very powerful:
Engage, connect, and inform our communities.
Our communities don’t need a new mobile application, website, newspaper or television broadcast. They need the ability to define the critical issues in the community, connect with those who care about those issues and have a trusted source of information about the issues. They need to reduce the friction in accomplishing their goals, including commercial transactions. We want to help our communities achieve those goals, and be the best global citizens they can be, by being strong and healthy at home, and connected to the world. Each community needs to define their goals, starting with the individual, and the connections that are meaningful to that individual — connections that we cannot imagine in our relatively small, centralized role, but which we can enable by creating information more effectively in the first instance, and letting anyone in the community do the same; by providing engaging user interfaces, whether mobile, online, print or broadcast; and by providing a marketplace so that all in the value chain are rewarded.
I have been fascinated by, and working on, organizational development for the last 25 years. I now recognize the limitations of any organization’s role to enable community development, but am encouraged by what small groups of people, doing what they do best and care most about, can accomplish when they are linked to others who share the same interests.
A short draft of my thoughts on organizational development can be found at this link.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading.