Collaborating from the Place of Common Ground

While the news is full of partisan politics, an alternative model is emerging for how to make progress in addressing large scale challenges: collaborative networks. Through network initiatives, parts of a system can come together, find common ground, and pursue solutions and collective action from those points of agreement. The Energy Action Network (EAN) in… Read more

What it Takes to Create Collective Impact – 20 Questions

I recently worked with the Garfield Foundation to design and facilitate a gathering of people who specialize in collaborative networks and systemic approaches to social change. This meeting convened about a dozen experienced practitioners for two days of rich, inspiring, expansive conversations about what it takes to do this work effectively. These insights will inform… Read more

Setting the Table for a Great Meeting

A key part of our work at New Directions is collaborating with our clients to design agendas that lead to great meetings. Developing strategic clarity is the foundation of the fine art of agenda design. Getting to this strategic clarity is an iterative process best done in conversation. As I save and rename an agenda… Read more

The Climate Action Conundrum

Years ago, I was in the audience at a conference of investors and environmentalists listening to a panel of presenters talk about what actions they were pursuing on climate. A speaker from NRDC, who worked in their D.C. office and was all too familiar with the political realities, was talking about their strategy of advocating… Read more

An Energizing Staff Retreat

Kathy Gallant, the owner of the Blue Moon Market & Cafe in Exeter, NH, had run this successful health food store and cafe for 12 years when she recognized it was time for the next phase of the business’ evolution. Last October, the doors re-opened as Blue Moon Evolution, a full-service restaurant featuring organic, locally-grown… Read more

Aligning Work at Various Scales

With Google maps or Mapquest, one can zoom in to the level of a city block or zoom out to see how that place that relates to the geography of a city or a region. In working for change within complex systems, we similarly need to be able to work at multiple levels and see… Read more

New Jobs that Support Collaborative Work

In the late 1990’s, I shifted my work from environmental management consulting towards a focus on sustainability. At the time, most of my friends and family, had not even heard of the word “sustainability” and I struggled to explain it as well as to figure out a way to make a living doing this work…. Read more