News/Events

22 May 2014

Announcing Workshop on Hosting Sustainability Conversations

Posted in News/Events

June 26th, 9am - 2pm at UMass Lowell

Learn how to design engaging meetings, conferences, and conversations that access the creativity and great ideas of a group. Success in advancing sustainability and social change comes from getting all minds working on what needs to change. Engaging people in meaningful conversations generates shared vision and creative solutions; and builds motivation to act.

6 conversationsIn this interactive and experiential workshop, you will learn simple yet transformational techniques from the Art of Hosting to convene meetings and conversations that access the wisdom of a group in more powerful ways. Join peers who are sustainability practitioners to learn about and experience the following practices as you discuss challenges and ideas relevant to your work:

        • Strategic Questions – frame open questions that inspire movement, challenge assumptions, open new possibilities, and/or enable reflective learning
        • World Café – bring diverse people together to innovative ideas and or reflect/learn together in a short time
        • Open Space – enable participants to self-organize and connect with each other in conversations most relevant and meaningful to them
        • Pro-Action Café – create ways for people to share ideas, learn together, and identify actions for current challenges of participants

The workshop will include time for reflection on how you can use these practices in your work.

Facilitators

• Madeline Snow, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, UMass Lowell

• Beth Tener, Principal, New Directions Collaborative

Registration Fee: $45 ($25 for students)

Please make check payable to UMass Lowell and send to Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, UMass Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell MA 01854

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 617-817-5111 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 617-939-3601

Click here for registration form and full flier.

25 February 2014

Strategic Planning for Networked Collaboration - Our Approach

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After years of work consulting within organizations, it has been a new challenge to help networks of many organizations define and refine their strategies. Strategic planning for networked collaboration, and particularly in the context of creating systems change, has complexities and unique challenges compared to creating a strategy for one organization. Our thinking and techniques keep evolving as we work with clients, see what is needed, and pull techniques from our "tool box" and refine them for networks. We are pleased to share this latest summary of the techniques we have found most useful in approaching strategic planning in networks. Click here to learn more.

13 November 2013

Hear the Energy Action Network (Vermont) Story: Dec. 13th in Boston

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Leadership Learning Community's Boston Learning Circle

The Energy Action Network (EAN,) based in Vermont, offers a leading-edge case study of how to enable fragmented parts of a system to collaborate toward a bold shared goal. In a field where divergent forces often work against each other, EAN supports over 70 non-profit, business and government leaders in working together toward to the goal of providing 90% of Vermont's 2050 energy needs from renewable energy and energy efficiency. Join us at the December gathering of the Leadership Learning Community's Boston Learning Circle to learn about how EAN created a process to engage leaders across the state and develop a collaborative network focused on large scale system change.

We'll hear the story from two experienced "network weavers" who have been deeply involved in the process:
  • Jennifer Berman, formerly the Executive Director of Maverick Lloyd Foundation, the founding funder, will share how EAN used systems mapping and convenings to build trust, and agreement on common goals and commitment to joint action.
  • Andi Colnes, Executive Director of EAN, will share how a collaborative network structure was created and how it works, as well as the successes and challenges EAN has experienced along the way.
EAN logoThe EAN story will serve as the spring board for conversations exploring leadership skills and processes for enabling diverse organizations to align their work for greater impact, including:
  • What it takes to get people fragmented parts of a system to the table and create alignment around a vision
  • How to create the context for "a-ha" moments that enable people to work together in new ways
  • How to cultivate shared leadership in a decentralized structure where people can own the work and move forward with it
  • How to use a network to add value and deliver outcomes and action
The event will be held Dec. 13 from 10:30am - 1pm at the Non-Profit Center in Boston (near South Station) and will include lunch. Click here to register.

24 October 2013

Leading Change with a Network Mindset - New Workshop Offering

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As more initiatives and organizations adopt network strategies and collective impact structures, they are recognizing that you can't expect people who have worked in Industry mappingorganizations for their careers to know how to “show up” to work in networked ways. Seeing this need with multiple clients, New Directions Collaborative has recently developed a training workshop called Leading Change with a Network Mindset. The workshop explores how a network mindset differs from traditional leadership approaches and reviews key principles and tools for putting this into practice. Interactive exercises help participants learn tips for how to design meetings that create conditions for diverse groups to discover innovative solutions and strengthen network connections. This workshop can be done as a half-day or full-day workshop, or we offer shorter versions for conferences or brown-bag lunches.

We will be offering it at the MA Association of Community Development Corporation's annual conference on November 15. 

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about this training.

23 August 2013

Join us at the New Hampshire Social Business Innovation Challenge with Muhammad Yunus Sept. 30th

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The University of New Hampshire will be hosting the first statewide New Hampshire Social Business and Microfinance Forum and Social Business Innovation Challenge in September. We are honored to be invited to be on the judging panel for the Innovation Challenge, which is designed to be an “innovation accelerator” awarding the winning businesses with cash prizes and other technical assistance. Participants propose designs for innovative, business-oriented solutions to pressing social and environmental issues at the state, national or global level. More details, including entry format and registration for the competition are available here. The deadline for registration is September 13, and deadline for submission materials is Friday, September 20.

The Forum is a state-wide economic development conference focusing on social business and community development and featuring Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus. Professor Yunus is best known for his pioneering work as the founder of the Grameen Bank, as the “father of microcredit,” and more broadly for the movement to create social businesses. The day’s activities will include panel discussions on social business, and a keynote speech by Professor Yunus. He will present the winners of the Innovation Challenge competition. Click here to register.

“Students coming out of universities … have an obligation to solve the problems facing their communities and the world … This generation has a power that no other generation has had …. You need to use that power to start solving problems.... Anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing; even if it takes five people out of unemployment this has helped their lives.”   - Muhammad Yunus
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We need not only do things better than we have in the past; we need to link them in smarter and more effective ways.

- David Bornstein