Archive for the ‘Chad Lubelsky’ Category

Lessons From the Sandbox

By Jakob Wildman-Sisk, Social Lab Manager, UNB’s Pond-Deshpande Centre and Chad Lubelsky, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. This blog was originally published on the RECODE website. It was republished here with the author’s permission. 

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Building an entrepreneurship ecosystem is a tall order. Yet in nine years, the community of Hubballi, India has been transformed through exciting investments in education, innovation, and collaboration. What can we learn from them?

 

The Deshpande Foundation creates entrepreneurship ecosystems by supporting and harnessing the power of financial capital and educational opportunities. In doing so, they hope to lay the groundwork for more robust and sustainable communities.

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Deshpande calls this support work building “sandboxes.” These sandboxes have expanded to New Brunswick and Massachusetts, however, they found their start, and their inspiration, in Hubballi, India. Recognizing that building ecosystems is difficult work, and in the spirit of continual learning and improvement, Deshpande hosts an annual Development Dialogue at its Hubballi sandbox.

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RECODE: One year in, and we’re learning a lot

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This blog post was originally published on the RECODE website. It has been reproduced here with the author’s permission.

A few months ago I posted our initial thinking and plans for evaluating RECODE’s systems change work. The post describes the complexity of evaluating systems change, and you can see our first steps here. And if you want to dig a bit deeper, check out Kathryn Meisner’s post about the site’s development.

So what are we learning about how to effect change? Even in these early days, we’ve started to see some patterns.

 

Plan for your plan not to work – at least not how you planned it

 

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Good planning is helpful and necessary, but when planning for systems change, system entrepreneurs would be well-served to read Henry Mintzberg and his writings on Emergent Strategy. “Instead of the deliberate approach, the emergent approach is the view that strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with, and accommodate, a changing reality” (Karl Moore, Ivey Business Journal).

Given that our very activities bring about a constantly changing reality, we need to concurrently and constantly adapt our actions and plans. Success in this context is deeply connected to our capacity to adapt, even if in the particular moment when nothing is going according to plan, it might not feel like it.

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Pollinating systems change in higher education through evaluation

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Chad_Blog AuthorThis is an exciting time for RECODE. As the work on campuses across Canada continues to ramp up, we are developing ways in which we can effectively evaluate and measure the impact of this work. Our guiding question has been “what will success look like?” To help us answer it, we have developed anticipated desired outcomes, but we also recognize there will be many unknowns. RECODE is working within a broader system of higher education that is also complex; accordingly, our evaluation framework has to be designed and adapted in consequence.

Tim Draimin, Social Innovation Generation‘s Executive Director, recently suggested that I read The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley. The book explores the role of human nature and human networks in creating change and innovation, positing that to truly affect change we need to better understand the role of ‘keystones’. In biological systems, whether a rainforest or an ocean, keystone species often act as central supporting hubs. They interact in so many valuable ways with so many other parts of the ecosystem, that their presence has a disproportionate impact on the system (pg. 70). Think of the role of the pollinating bee in our food system, and you’ll get an idea of the importance of keystone species.

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