Organization Unbound is an attempt to re-imagine the way we think about and engage in social change.
The current disconnect
Many of us involved in social service and social change work have been frustrated by the incoherence that can exist between our organizations’ overarching visions and their internal cultures and practices.
How many community organizations have we encountered that don’t feel like communities? How many advocacy groups that forget to practice the things they themselves advocate?
Our experiences and early research suggest that the distinction between serving the world and nurturing our organizations is a false one.
Some of the most vibrant and socially catalytic organizations we have seen are places where there is a promising confusion about who is serving whom- schools where teachers learn and grow, food banks where staff and volunteers are nourished, hospitals where doctors are healed, social justice groups where activists are surprised to find their vision of a better world taking root in their own offices.
These organizations are invoking the power of something we might call expressive change – a pattern of change rooted in who they are as much as in what they do. They ask themselves: “How can we become what we seek?”
Organization Unbound is an exploration into the specific practices of expressive social change. How, for example, does a community organization become a vital, teeming, celebratory democracy, not just in governance structure, but in daily life? How does a school become a learning center for everyone it touches – teachers, staff, students, parents, and neighbors?
What are the relationships, structures, and intentions that allow these kinds of transformations to take place and to be sustained over time?
Join the conversation
We have begun to explore answers to these questions and are learning more every day through conversations, site-visits, presentations, and workshops with all sorts of social purpose organizations.
This blog is a way for us to regularly share what we are hearing and seeing and to extend the conversation with new people and in new directions. If you are new to Organization Unbound, we suggest you read these foundational posts to start and watch the video below:
(FOR THOSE WITH LOW BANDWIDTH: Try viewing it through Project Feather, the no-frills version of YouTube. Go to http://www.youtube.com/feather_beta (and then type in “Social Innovation From the Inside Out” in the search bar at the top of the page)
If you have practices, ideas, or challenges you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment or drop us an email.
Tana Paddock :: tana(at)organizationunbound.org
Warren Nilsson :: warren(at)organizationunbound.org
Jonathan Glencross :: jonathan(at)organizationunbound.org