iA


Designing a Better Nonprofit Business Model, Part 2

Lean Nonprofit Strategy
Applying lean startup principles to nonprofit strategy — Is that a thing yet? Because it should be. I observed a recent discussion that asked about keeping strategic plans alive. These conversations dry up fast. I mean, another topic on nonprofit strategic planning? But the language was succinct and clear. Well, most of it. No one […] Read more – ‘Lean Nonprofit Strategy’.
5 Reasons Nonprofits Must Use the Value Proposition Canvas to Test Assumptions
One of the greatest risks anyone can make is to design initiatives based on “common sense” and other untested assumptions. Since programs and services in the social sector can endure long cycle times before results can even be evaluated, testing assumptions first becomes a crucial part of lean thinking. It helps us see which of […] Read more – ‘5 Reasons Nonprofits Must Use the Value Proposition Canvas to Test Assumptions’.
How to Defend Against Killer Phrases That Kill Creative Strategy
Ever had those meetings or brainstorm sessions that were intended to reel in fresh new ideas? The actual session begins and many ideas already lose their fighting chance as someone lays one of these killer phrases: “Let’s form a committee on that…” “We don’t have the resources…” “That’ll never work…” “We already tried that…” “It’s not […] Read more – ‘How to Defend Against Killer Phrases That Kill Creative Strategy’.
Some Passing Thoughts on Decoding Innovation
A recent comment I’ve made in the article Comfort Does Not = Innovation Great points! We can talk all day about these ideas because they’re just too important to overlook. I’ll pick one or two :) I’ve always defined innovation as a deliberate leap that creates new value for clients or a constituency. Not just […] Read more – ‘Some Passing Thoughts on Decoding Innovation’.
The Smokescreens of Nonprofit Innovation Part 2
Part 1 journeyed into nonprofit smokescreens. These were the old serial habits and processes that stop organizations from pursuing innovation. Sometimes those habits just come with the territory. Fear stops us from exploring a little so that we can become real powerhouses of possibility. The potentials for what “might be” excites, yet the uncertainty paralyzes. […] Read more – ‘The Smokescreens of Nonprofit Innovation Part 2’.
The Wicked Problem of Global Youth Unemployment
I’m fond of OpenIDEO — a collaboration platform created by innovation firm IDEO to tap into the creative thinking power of the crowd. The active challenge right now is sponsored by Barclays and the Work Foundation, and it zeroes in on the wicked problem of worldwide youth unemployment. Here’s the core of the challenge: The […] Read more – ‘The Wicked Problem of Global Youth Unemployment’.
Beyond Data-Informed: Using Qual & Quant Data to Solve Problems
Say you want to visualize the impact you’re making for the community. But suddenly, you see that the numbers and milestones are pretty sad. Certain initiatives are failing. There’s a fear that programs may begin to implode.  Worse, the results must be reported — soon. Circulating the nonprofit blogosphere and social media channels are tips […] Read more – ‘Beyond Data-Informed: Using Qual & Quant Data to Solve Problems’.
The Smokescreens of Nonprofit Innovation Part 1
Disruption can be scandalous. Bruised and defensive egos. Fear of uncertainty and the unknown. But if you can pull through, the changes can be fulfilling. As I reminisce about the themes from the last few months, it got me thinking about the prerequisites for, ahem, innovation. For organizations facing apathy, can disruption be the antidote? Consider […] Read more – ‘The Smokescreens of Nonprofit Innovation Part 1’.
Why Use Visualization Methods?
The Service Design Tools website tallies 40+ visual methods and ethnographic tools which exist for brainstorming, ideation, co-creation, and prototyping. These tools are actually archetypes ripe for modifying. How you rework its DNA depends on the industry you come from. Any derived insight becomes highly volatile. This happened with the business model canvas where the […] Read more – ‘Why Use Visualization Methods?’.
Designing a Better Nonprofit Business Model, Part 2
In part 1, I explained the concept of the business model canvas and how it can be leveraged by nonprofits to diagnose and quickly map out their current business model. Why visualize your business model? Or, why use visualization techniques at all? There’s a two-pronged benefit. First, visualization tames everything in a language that everyone can understand. […] Read more – ‘Designing a Better Nonprofit Business Model, Part 2’.
My Review of “The Mission Myth”
Adapted from my Amazon review: From the Nonprofit Times back in 2005, it was said that about one million nonprofits exist. Then in the Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2011, it was stated that 12 million baby boomers want to start a nonprofit. As I read Deirdre Maloney’s “The Mission Myth” I wondered: How many of […] Read more – ‘My Review of “The Mission Myth”’.
Alternatives to Consumer Cloud? Try Oxygen Cloud.
There was an interesting poll during the “Nonprofits & Cloud Computing” webinar where attendees weighed in on their current file sharing method. The results panned out like this: “How are you sharing files?” File Server – 45% NAS – 7.5% Dropbox – 12.2% Google Apps – 14.6% Email Attachments – 21.4% Not to be entirely […] Read more – ‘Alternatives to Consumer Cloud? Try Oxygen Cloud.’.
Designing a Better Nonprofit Business Model, Part 1
There’s much ado about innovation during turbulent times. It’s ruffling up organizations of all sizes and sectors. But with all the radio noise and flaming bandwagons out there, no one really knows what it means anymore. Businesses fight for relevance as the economic environment morphs beyond their foresight. And nonprofits find themselves stuck in the […] Read more – ‘Designing a Better Nonprofit Business Model, Part 1’.
Brief Musings & Notes on Pinterest
Pinterest is a hybrid image bookmarking and social network service that allows users to take images from the web and organize them into online collages called “pinboards.” Topic pinboards range from architecture to fashion and food, but you can create any pinboard with any topic. Why it Works and Succeeds Pinterest’s success is a concoction […] Read more – ‘Brief Musings & Notes on Pinterest’.
Rethinking References
Red Rover, Red Rover let the references pile over. The Action Method proclaims that “References are worth storing, not revering.” This assertion is valid based on the observation that we barely refer to them in the long-run. Asking a reference’s relevance is easy. The Action Method insists we “feel the flow” of references. When a […] Read more – ‘Rethinking References’.
Killing Ideas
Ideas can be dangerous. They call your name, tempting you to do things you’ll regret. They’re riddled with uncertainty. How exactly will it be pursued? They just need time to simmer. Do it now, and they can waste a day, or endanger you to launching new projects prematurely. According to the Action Method, while action […] Read more – ‘Killing Ideas’.
Prioritizing Projects with Energy Lines
New ideas emerge faster than our attempts to execute them. But is it a decoy? Sideswiping us and splintering our reserves into multiple fronts? Even sharp team leaders can veer off course at the expense of others as he commands his teammates to chase another shooting star. However, energy lines curb runaway pursuits by visually […] Read more – ‘Prioritizing Projects with Energy Lines’.
Psychographics 101
Fate has it that when you came to your marketing senses, multiple audience segments emerged. Some demographic data converged, overlapped, but demographics alone won’t reveal why one will donate, read your communique, or buy your green product. Chances are you pondered psychographics, but didn’t scale deeper. If demographics are the Yin, psychographics are the Yang. […] Read more – ‘Psychographics 101’.
Practicing the Action Method: One Year Later
Captain’s Log, February 1st, 2011. I’m finally able to leave 2010 behind me. Mental visibility remains near zero. I am absolutely exhausted from the GTD “experiment.” I’ve resigned myself to the fireplace with s’mores on one hand, and on the other, a new book cracked open titled Making Ideas Happen. All paths to a mind […] Read more – ‘Practicing the Action Method: One Year Later’.
GTD: Seek Complexity to Reach Simplicity?
Flickr: lipjin This is Part II of Dethroning GTD: 2011 in Review. Read Part 1 here. I return to David Allen’s quote in the book about having a “Mind like Water,” the metaphor from which the GTD philosophy springs forth: In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind […] Read more – ‘GTD: Seek Complexity to Reach Simplicity?’.
Dethroning GTD
Flickr: PixelPlacebo I’m a refugee of GTD. Believing that I could surpass the honeymoon phase, I had to end the experiment abruptly after many trifling months of trial and error. Processing everything through the GTD lens had become too taxing to endure. It took some chaos and mental debugging to shake off the fascination. When […] Read more – ‘Dethroning GTD’.
Using Empathy Maps
We previously revealed to nonprofits and social enterprises that psychographics coexist with demographics. They’re like distant cousins, but an inseparable pair for audience segmentation, and still integral in unearthing your donor, customer, or constituent needs. Going the demogprahic-only route would just be a half-hearted endeavor. Empathy maps complete the picture. They’re like extra sensory perception, visually mapping out […] Read more – ‘Using Empathy Maps’.
A Maverick Approach in Choosing the Best Project Management App Part 2
Part 2 of the series reviews apps with unique ways of attacking fundamental problems in project and task execution. Click here for Part 1. Part 1 reviewed some crucial things about project management: Project Management is about getting something done as smoothly as possible from start to finish. Doesn’t matter if you’re coding, building a rocket, […] Read more – ‘A Maverick Approach in Choosing the Best Project Management App Part 2’.
December Link Drop 2011
Link Drops are monthly dossiers of links related to nonprofit operational trends around the web. It’s OK to indulge. Again. Ah yes, more parfaits. You can’t skip desert, so here’s more important stuff floating around the web. December’s theme focuses on two fantastic startups: DigMyData and Quipol. I’ve blogged about their web apps because they do […] Read more – ‘December Link Drop 2011’.
Quipol: Say Hello to Social Polling
In reference to a previous blog post, try voting on this poll. Say hello to Quipol, people. Read more – ‘Quipol: Say Hello to Social Polling’.
DigMyData: The One Analytics Tool You Really Need
Can you link your social media activities to real solid outcomes? Interpreting analytics is already something that eats up so much staff time. Very often those new to it can collect the data but can’t readily turn their observations into something actionable. Everyone will have a different toolset that combines listening, monitoring, and engagement, but what if […] Read more – ‘DigMyData: The One Analytics Tool You Really Need’.
November Link Drop 2011
Link Drops are monthly dossiers of links related to nonprofit operational trends around the web. Autumn segues into wintry slumber as 2011 reaches its end. For some nonprofits, the fiscal year is around the corner. How has 2011 treated you? Speaking of treats, this chocolate parfait (パヘー ) looks delicious, doesn’t it? Here’s what’s happening in our […] Read more – ‘November Link Drop 2011’.
Cloud Security: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud
Cloud security can keep people up at night. Anxiety about migrating current data amidst the onslaught of downtimes and breaches can be daunting to imagine. Because what if it happens to you, the nonprofit? Here’s a recent comment I made on Tech Soup’s “Security: The Scary Part of Cloud Computing:” …The cloud can make good business […] Read more – ‘Cloud Security: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud’.
A Maverick Approach in Choosing the Best Project Management App Part 1
Choosing a project management app is a serious affair. This is about melding disorganized workflows into one, centralizing communication and collateral so that people can get it together and get it done. For the nonprofit, it’s tougher. It takes lots of time and energy to sandbox it, judge it, and decide whether the application is […] Read more – ‘A Maverick Approach in Choosing the Best Project Management App Part 1’.
Social Media for Nonprofits: What the C-Suite Should Know
Social Media for Nonprofits: What the CSuite Should Know View more presentations from Skylance “Nonprofit leaders of the round table: before engaging on social media, plan smarter and strategically first. Know the myths and blasphemies, as well as sacred realizations before considering social media in your campaigns.” Saucy sub-topics include: What Social Media is, and […] Read more – ‘Social Media for Nonprofits: What the C-Suite Should Know’.
The Simplest Way to Understand the Cloud
Credit to Silverlighthack.com It’s the first cloud illustration I’d show to the nonprofit C-suite. If we must reduce the non-hyped what of the cloud computing stack into its lowest common denominator — again, it would be this. Mr. Czernicki at Silverlighthack nabbed this screengrab from this video series. He praised it as a clever way to take […] Read more – ‘The Simplest Way to Understand the Cloud’.
Buy the Solution, Not the Cloud.
“Who uses cloud computing?” Admittedly, it elicits the sidewise puppy stare. You can’t really blame the curious exec about these kinds of questions. The fog of war between the accuracy and years of hype has stifled the road to enlightenment on the subject. The smokescreen is quite heavy. Even some enterprises remain dazed. Answer: “Anyone trying to solve […] Read more – ‘Buy the Solution, Not the Cloud.’.