Thoughts, Perspectives & Ideas

Creative and Strategic Approaches to Early Learning Systems-Building

There is an overwhelming unmet need for quality early learning access and supports for young children in California. To support the development of a high quality early learning system, First 5 Association of California contracted with VIVA to research and understand how states have built and expanded early learning systems. As part of this research, VIVA developed…

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Developing a New Website: It’s Not as Daunting as You Think

Here is a fact we all know to be true: technology is always changing. Did you just buy the latest iPhone? Don’t get attached–something newer and better is inevitably going to come along within the next six months. Websites are no exception to this ever-changing landscape. Websites we visit on a daily basis are constantly…

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QRIS Communications: Keep It Simple

QRIS is undeniably complex – and with reason! Quality rating and improvement systems assess, improve and communicate the quality of early childhood programs, and can be thought of as a framework for improving quality in the early learning system overall. However, this complexity makes it a very hard concept to explain to parents and providers,…

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The Blind Men and the Elephant: Analogies for Change

I was recently sitting in a VIVA project team meeting, strategizing about how to best move forward a client’s complex, multi-party system. As with any undertaking that has many players working on different moving parts, it runs the risk of becoming fragmented without a well-designed system that supports collaboration and information sharing. To illustrate this,…

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Build Trusting Partnerships: 5 Starting Points

As a child, it was easy to make friends. In the 4th grade, we were assigned seats and my classroom neighbor became my lifelong friend. As adults, we can’t necessarily count on assigned seating in our personal or professional lives, but there are other ways to forge successful relationships and partnerships. Embarking on a new…

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5 Tips to Cure Your Strategic Planning Hangover

By Christina Bath Collosi Do you hate strategic planning? Or perhaps find it devoid of strategy? You are not alone. In exploratory strategic planning conversations, we often find that our time is spent unwinding previous bad planning experiences that were spent drowning in process paralysis. Call it a hangover effect of bad strategic planning. Are…

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Boldly Leading for Social Good

By Nicole Tanner When Christina and I made the decision to focus the core of VIVA’s work on large-scale community impact projects, we knew that the work would never be boring. Facilitating multiple partners to address complex social issues, designing new systems and initiatives, bringing key stakeholders to the table to create a shared vision,…

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Social Media for Social Good

By Annalise Stromsta   Just a couple of weeks after starting my job at VIVA last summer, I found myself standing outside on a sunny afternoon, holding a camera as two coworkers poured a bucket of ice water onto one of my colleague’s heads. Not usually a part of a typical workday, but it was…

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Data in the Social Sector: Crunching Numbers to Challenge Assumptions

By Peggy Chang    There are two types of people when it comes to data: the type that gets excited, delves into details, and eagerly plows through spreadsheets, and the type that groans and goes to pour another cup of coffee to make it through the meeting. It is completely natural for us to have…

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Spinning Out of Control? A Communications Strategy Can Help

By Laura Bowen   Sometimes communications work, especially for organizations focused on positive community change, can feel like being on a hamster wheel. Limited resources, limited time, and lots of demands means staff are constantly on the go, moving rapidly from one task to the next. This is often the case when an organization has…

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