Thoughts, Perspectives & Ideas

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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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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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Leadership and the Suspension of Disbelief

By Christina Bath Collosi   I am not a runner. Somehow though, I am running a half marathon tomorrow. It all started three months ago when I wanted to visit my former adopted hometown of Santa Barbara and I could not justify the travel expense without a really good reason. As I scoured the Internet…

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Disruptive Innovation in Public Agencies

Public agencies today are faced with a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Safety net and anti-poverty services are high stake and have little margin for error. When services are done well and in optimal conditions, public agencies are the unsung heroes. When mistakes occur, or are perceived to occur, they are hashed out and…

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Wonk Talk

By Christina Bath Collosi     Do you remember how all adults spoke on Charlie Brown? “Wonk. Wonk. Wonk.” I increasingly find that wonk-talk has reached new heights in the circles of VIVA’s work. I can see lips moving but murky faces of others trying to decode the jargon. Boards of Directors are confused. Commissioners…

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