Yesterday, NTEN;s Holly Ross hosted an online conversation with Seth Godin and me, along with Roxy Allen and 100 plus NTEN members. These "Ask the Expert" chats take place on the phone with a online chat back channel.
This conversation came about after Seth's provoking post "The Problem with Non" took a swing at nonprofits for lack of adoption of social media, saying it was all due to fear. This caused an angry uproar on nonprofit blogs and Twitter from nonprofits saying there were plenty examples of nonprofits using social media effectively!
Seth quickly reached out to me via Roxy Allen suggested that I do an interview. In turn, I suggested that we have a conversation with the nonprofit technology community with Holly Ross at NTEN as host. This conversation took place yesterday.
Holly started with a great question, "What's in the DNA of each of these orgs that allows them to embrace this change and experiment?"
Seth told a story about men's shavers that illustrated his key point about innovation:
- Innovation isn't always about the product, it's about the marketing and communications around the product.
- Some organizations looks at landscape changes as opportunities, and others look at them as threats
- Our patience with the lack of innovation that is the problem
Participants in the chat shared their impatience with the pace of organizational change, acknowledging that "All NPO's grow from experimenting, they just get freaked out by the tools."
It made think of one of his recent posts about "Asking Why," but while he was talking about shavers, it made me think of hair, and naturally that made me think of hair shirts and quote from Rob Stein about transparency as a hair shirt.
My answer to Holly's question was that organization's that are innovative have leadership that is open to public learning and models that in the organization. There's no better example than the public dashboards of the Indiana Art Museum - Innovation is about opening up and letting the outside in.
Roxy Allen mentioned in the chat that one of the biggest changes will be branding "from the inside out" - employees have a mouth piece - which is hard to control and a culture change. She recommended a book from the HR perspective called Brand Inside Essentials. Rekha, shared this essay about the generational differences in public media organizations when it comes to innovation.
The back-channel had a poll feature and one of the questions about change agents inside of nonprofits. One point that Seth made that really stuck with me was about leadership. That it doesn't matter what role the change agent has - but they put on a good show, model passion, and inspire people to change.
We covered a lot of topics - for culture change within nonprofits, nonprofit innovation, transparency, leadership, and the importance of storytelling. We discussed the findings of some recent studies about nonprofits and social media adoption.
If you participated and wrote up a post or have some takeaways, leave them in the comments.