“In the near future the term ‘office’ will be obsolete and the drab surroundings we associate with the executive life will be erased as a new model for work emerges. This emerging vision of the workplace will facilitate flexible working patterns in a society in which nine-to-five working is increasingly the exception rather than the rule.” This opening statement from a new report by Aruba Networks, Workplace Futures, sets the table for an amazing opportunity confronting nonprofits and organizations: How to harness new mobile and cloud technologies to both make how and where they work more productive, efficient, and cost effective.
I just returned last week from vacation with my husband and children at the Jersey Shore where I grew up. It was great to sit on the beach and do nothing, get lots of walking in, and hang out with family. Above all, it is a great escape from your never ending to do list. I did take along a few books, including Ariana Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.
The book is about how to reframe success away from money and power to a third metric. She identifies this as “thriving,” where you get enough sleep, take care of yourself, and work isn’t your whole life. Over the past year, I’ve been trying to incorporate thriving into my life – most recently with integrating “walking” into work and embracing the personal analytics movement to pay attention to health.
When I got back online, I discovered Guy Kawasaki’s excellent visual review of the book on SlideShare created with Canva. I thought he captured the essence of the book’s important message. The first point – redefine success as making a difference in the world – is something that people like us who work in the social change sector have already done. We think about that every day and try to live it. But, unfortunately, sometimes we are so driven by passion and compassion that we don’t follow Ariana’s other tips and end up burning out or a working and living with a high functioning depression.
She talks a lot about self-care and nurturing yourself. Whether this is taking time to meditate, walking, take breaks from the screen, eat healthy foods that don’t promote stress, get enough sleep, spend time with family, or whatever that is besides grinding away at work. The biggest challenge is making this part of your life is doing it before you reach a crisis stage – and not feeling “guilty” or “selfish” for taking care of yourself.
Thriving requires taking a digital detox – going offline and focusing on the other people you are with. I’ve written a lot about mindfulness and managing your attention in an age of distraction, including the use of “conscious computing tools.” But it is also important to just turn off the damn computer and mobile phone and spend time with your loved ones or your own thoughts.
I love the takeaway around “Keep on Learning,” this is what has fueled me over the span of my work. However, after you’ve been working in your field for decades or you are overworking yourself, you can be in danger of reaching a place of ennui – where nothing excites or interests you. I’ve found that one way to avoid this is to find a new perspective on a topic or dip your toes in a completely new topic area. Often, that’s where I discover something that can inspires a whole new wave of learning.
Thriving is about being intuitive and being able t listen to your inner voice and not be so busy that you can’t hear it. Recently, I listened to a Radio Lab episode where they were discussing an experiment where they found a way to take away a human’s understanding of language and making connections by having them shadow or repeat another person’s speech. The experiment subjects could not make good choices. I think the drone of a constant to do list and social chatter, and distraction can take away our ability to listen to our own hunches – and then we get trapped because we’re not making good choices.
Thriving is about finding solitude. More and more in a connected world where the collective is the norm, that is harder to find and make the space. I think that we need to learn the skill of balancing solitude with social connection in order to thrive.
There are many great ideas and takeaways in the book – and well worth reading.
How are you taking care of yourself so you can avoid burnout, be successful, and change the world?
NTEN is pleased to offer 12 scholarships to attend LCS with thanks to the support of TechSoup Global, who is generously providing 10 of these scholarships!
Scholarship covers the the cost of LCS registration (excluding travel and lodging) and they are available to nonprofit staff working in specific areas of the nonprofit sector. NTEN is happy to announce two scholarships for organizations in the following categories:
- Digital Inclusion
- Domestic Violence
- Human Services
- Youth Development
- Applicants must be an employee of a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission that includes programs in one of the above six categories.
- Applicants must be able to describe a technology project or strategic goal related to technology that they plan to design and develop further at LCS and implement in their organization.
- Following the LCS, applicants must be willing to be featured in an NTEN case study on how organizations are using technology to improve their work.
Applications must be received no later than Friday, August 1, 2014. Scholarship applications will be reviewed and scholarship recipients will be notified of acceptance no later than Friday, August 8, 2014.
Know someone who wants to participate in the new Leading Change Summit but doesn't have the budget? Please share this scholarship opportunity with them today!
SOS Children’s Villages is a large international children’s charity helping orphaned and abandoned children in 133 countries around the world. SOS Children’s Villages Canada’s role is to raise funds in Canada to fund programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dan Loftus shares how SOS Children’s Villages Canada put its website back on the SEO map, without adding any new content.
This post was also appeared on the MarketsforGood site as part of my regular column, “Between the Dashboard and the Chair.”
How Human-Centered Design Methods Can Help You Design A Better Dashboard
Take a look at any nonprofit dashboard and the most effective ones probably have an organizational process that lies beneath. Dashboard design is more than simply clarifying outcomes and key metrics. Dashboard design should also inspire buy-in and continuous improvement by using “human centered design” methods.
But shouldn’t dashboards be designed by data scientists and graphic designers? Yes they can be part of the team, but anyone can be a designer! These are methods for developing solutions (any type) in service of people. By applying this approach to any program development or strategy and even your organization’s dashboard, your nonprofit can more innovative and get more impactful results.
Many times dashboard design is focused on “getting it done efficiently” and graphs and does not address the human side – buy-in, learning from data, and consensus on metrics. A focus on the bar charts without taking the time to understand the challenges and open up creative thinking will not inspire organizational buy-in which is so important.
Here are two stories about two very different nonprofits and how they approached designing their dashboards with human-centered design techniques.
Tracking for Impact and Learning
Edutopia, a project of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, is an online web site that creates and curates content that is distributed through mobile, social media, video, and offline channels. They also have a robust online community. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of education. Their theory of change is about raising awareness of the issues and then inspiring, engaging and encouraging their audiences to take actions around this goal.
Their dashboard already did a great job at tracking impact metrics about the reach and size of their audience, but they wanted to go deeper in tracking engagement and taking action. With a large staff producing and marketing content, they also wanted a way to capture data for ongoing feedback to improve their content.
Again, using design-thinking facilitating methods, the process started with a presentation from the executive director on the strategy for the year and measurement. Staff were asked to use a technique called “Rose, Bud, Thorn” to identify strengths, challenges, and opportunities for change. They created a concept map of the different themes that emerged. While technical topics such data and measurement processes emerged, so did a lot culture change issues.
Next staff identified key impact metrics by creating a paper prototype of the dashboard on the wall, with sticky notes. Using a sticky dot voting process to identify metrics most important to senior management and the board and those most important to different staff departments, they were able to design different “views” – a high level for impact and more detailed version for “learning.”
What emerged from the conversation was a plan for impact reporting, but also a process for more intentional experimentation and learning linked to key metrics.
Metrics for Movements
GivingTuesday, a philanthropic movement to promote a national day of charitable giving that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, organized a convening of key stakeholders called “Measurepalooza.” The gathering followed on the heals of the “Best Practices Summit” where partners and participants came together to share and learn best practices and identified the need for the movement to also capture metrics beyond “dollars raised on the day” numbers.
In particular, they were interested in looking at transformational metrics such as donor engagement, building nonprofit capacity, and global reach.
As a movement, GivingTuesday needed to address and get consensus on two big measurement questions: What metrics should the movement as a whole measure? What should participants each measure for their individual campaigns?
The session started with setting context on the accomplishments of the past year’s campaign and a summary of what was learned during the best practices summit. This lead to a discussion about the need to capture both “transactional” and “transformational” metrics related to specific outcomes as well as what and how to effectively use both quantitative and qualitative data for both movement level learning and for participating partners.
Through a facilitated design thinking process, small groups of participants created a draft of the Giving Tuesday movement level and partner level metrics. As a consensus building process, participants used “sticky dot” voting to identify the most important metrics (green for partners; red for the movement as a whole). This allowed everyone to see visually what the group consensus was and hone in what was most important.
Whether you are using data to inform a digital content strategy or to build a philanthropic movement, it is important to remember that effective measurement begins with people.
How has your organization achieved buy-in from staff or senior leaders about what data to collect for impact tracking? What are the processes that your organization is using to help ensure that data is used for decision-making and learning and not ignored?
Every successful project starts with a solid plan. In my experience, solid planning can be attributed to two factors: Educating decision-makers and accurately setting expectations.