March 1, 2016

Recommended Reads: March 2016

Here's what we're reading this month, March 2016, on the topic of transformative scale.

We’re constantly looking for resources that bring new insights to the pursuit of impact at a transformative scale. Here are five interesting pieces we came across recently:

How do we achieve impact at a scale that meets today's enormous needs? Explore Bridgespan research, insights from leaders, and more on the Transformative Scale Resource Center.

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1. Announcing Blue Meridian Partners and More: Last month, Nancy Roob of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation announced the largest-ever infusion of private capital to high-performance nonprofits serving disadvantaged children and youth. The $1 billion fund is a collaborative with nine other funders, and represents an unprecedented step toward solving the challenge of how to capitalize transformative scale efforts. Definitely one to watch.

2. Technology as an Accelerant for Change in 2016: Ben Hecht of Living Cities blogs about how technology can accelerate social change. Technology can provide alternatives for delivering solutions (what we normally think of as the role of a platform) and deepen understanding of problems. Bonus technology article: Singularity Hub’s Five Startups to Watch from Singularity University’s 2015 Global Solutions Program.

3. Where Are the Amazons and Ubers of Public Services?: Jen Hyatt writes for the World Economic Forum that the future of public services “requires courage to ‘decommission’ products and services that are past their ‘use by date,’ as well as incentives to stimulate creativity in engaging people directly in responsibility for their own health, wellbeing and learning.” Of course, one of the big barriers to adopting such models is that they often require substantial up-front capital (e.g., it has taken billions of invested capital to build Uber). The social sector will need to think differently about investing in change if we are to pursue these kinds of pathways to scale.

4. How Amnesty International Aims to Bring Technology and Human Rights Together: Two of the biggest levers for impact at transformative scale are government and technology. This interview with Singularity University’s Deputy Director of Global Issues Sherif Elsayed-Ali covers the opportunity and tension that are present at the intersection of the two.

5. Systems Change: More Than a Buzzword: Jeff Edmondson, managing director of StriveTogether in Cincinnati, penned a blog post for Bridgespan on what it really takes to achieve systems change. He draws on his experience working with education, business, nonprofit, philanthropic, and civic leaders who “were tired of taking a programmatic approach to a problem they knew was too complex for turnkey solutions.” An intriguing aspect of StriveTogether’s work is how it is scaling, with different communities adopting and adapting a common process.

Our top five recommended reads from February are available on our blog.

You can always find our latest work toward achieving impact at transformative scale at the Transformative Scale Resource Center. I also regularly tweet about articles on this topic: @JeffBradach.

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