Fall 2016 into 2017 with TechSoup Global

Literally all over the world, civil society — and the non-profit / non-governmental organizations that serve it — works intensively, 24x7x365. The broad mission is easy to state: Do Good, Better.  

The sweep of the work is staggering: to provide the means, skills and commitment that people need to cultivate their own security, freedom, quality of life, and creativity, all too often against daunting odds.

Of course there is the omnipresence of resource-provider institutions ranging from private sector competition to public sector services. But in a staggering number of situations there are factors including geography, age, value systems,  and others that mean people don’t get enough of what they need when having it would matter the most.

In July, notably right before both politics and Wall Street simultaneously achieved complete escape velocity, I was able to begin working with TechSoup Global – a unique organization making it possible for modern information technology to be accessible to NPOs and NGOs virtually everywhere.  TechSoup Global creates working partnerships that provide for technology companies to confidently identify NGOs and NPOs, and support them — with donated or discounted technology and the means for them to understand it, deploy it and even create it.

For those organizations at either side of the relationship, the key characteristics of the current millennium obviously (and globally) include:

  • a dazzling rate of change,
  • a pronounced challenge in converting cross-cultural complexity into agility,
  • and the paradox of intentionally increasing mobility while trying to make location-specific problems into beneficial opportunity for resident citizens.

TechSoup Global is fiercely dedicated to making these issues manageable and to make that manageability an outcome of self-empowered constituencies.

Beginning late December, I am extremely proud to commit to TechSoup full time as a member of its staff’s strategy, design and change teams for TechSoup’s own technology, used to develop the relationships and provisioning that empowers validated NPOs and NGOs in well over 120 countries around the world. In this new role, I will be pursuing some of what I think and hope will be among the most important work I have ever done, at an enormously critical point in time for both US and non-US societies.

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Recent Notable Works – summer/fall 2016

Knowledge and Content Management is a critical area for businesses to address.

These areas are where the meaning of a business idea must be successfully communicated before it’s importance can be appreciated by sponsors, partners, employees, customers, or other target stakeholders. The combination of meaning and importance is what creates intellectual capital from the exchange of information, learning, and communications.

In 2016, we worked as a content contributor, editor, and/or subject matter expert in crafting several important new publications and communications portfolios.

These include commercially available work:

  • the #1 new release in New Business Enterprises on Amazon.comThe Purpose is Profit: the Truth About Starting and Building Your Own Business, by Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
  • the ground-breaking new Innovation Strategy Development release on Amazon.comFuture Value Generation: Do You Need to Create New Business Logics?, by Daniel Egger

as well as corporate operational work both external-facing and internal-facing:

  • strategic marketing collateral and positioning briefsInsights Without Borders, LLC  (www.insightswb.com)
  • Business & Technology strategic requirements alignmentTechSoup Global (www.techsoupglobal.org)

A Quick Review Of Services – Going Forward with IT

Archestra Research continues a high-level study of how management methodology co-operates with technology development.

Management increasingly focuses on customer-centricity where the Business is the customer, and business demand is the dominant driver behind opportunities that get investment.

Technology development continues to uncover new ways of automating functionalities that reduce the complexity of user experience with interfaces and interoperabilities (integrations).

As a result, services are the primary IT “product” for business. IT management continues to evolve by understanding how to respond to business demand with manageable services, and the portfolio of services is the most explicit representation of the current target business value of IT.

That explains a bundle of key high-level themes within which IT makes strategic decisions about:

  • data and mobility;
  • sourcing and innovation;
  • security and performance;
  • user experience and requirements.

The ongoing study themes are represented by the following perspectives and some of the related Archestra notebooks (all of which are “live” works in progress).

Services as Products

Service Design

Pragmatic management of Products (Services)

Transformation through Delivery 

Business Fusion of  Development and Operations

Archestra themes generally come with research frameworks.  To explore, modify, or co-create a particular research framework, go to www.archestra.com, and contact Malcolm Ryder directly from there or from this website to arrange a meeting.

The People Side Of Change

Who Should Be Responsible For  Managing The People Side Of Change?

I’m breaking the question down into its answerable parts.

First, “Responsible” should be, as famously seen in RACI charts, distinguished from “accountable”. Responsible parties are the actual causal actors of an event, presumably by assignment (if looking forward), and regardless of the outcomes.

Manage” should be an articulated idea as well. The purpose of management is to:

  • support progress explicitly
  • by keeping resource expenditure intentionally aligned, effectively,
  • to the current path of opportunity for a targeted effect,
  • continually throughout the effort.

We might think that appointing a responsible manager is  at least something that we can do as a decision based on assessment of skills.

But with the manager in place, the obvious question becomes, what is it about people that now gets applied management, and therefore, what manager ought to be applying it?

People side” should be called out as meaning:

  • the understanding, willingness and exercise that are contained in…
  • people’s inclusion, role and impact actually (not theoretically) obtained in the effort to change.

Change” itself should be called out as meaning transition; that supplies the perspective for calling out the two overriding issues of change:

  • risks to completion, and
  • risks to adoption.

The existing size and existing complexity of an organization typically dictates a lot of the factors that go into deciding the “5 Ws” about managing: the Who, What, Where, When and Why. From considering the meanings above, each of these five factors is clearly a variable in the overall equation for change.

That’s why the answer to the original question cannot just be declared. It actually has to be discovered by thinking through what the question means in the given organization.

How Learning Happens

Anyone looking for knowledge now likely views the web as an indispensable source, even given the challenges of navigating its endless variety and volume. This places the highest possible priority on how we decide to accept what we find: its authenticity, credibility, and utility.

Some of the acceptance must be based on proof-by-experience, from the results of applying what we believe is knowledge. Meanwhile we have completely unprecedented exposure to information that is presented to us as transferable knowledge, which makes us reliant on the criteria we use to select the presenters. Additionally, we choose from various processes that intend to convert ideas into new knowledge, or derive new ideas from existing knowledge.

Giving and receiving knowledge is now a more openly diverse set of efforts and options than ever before, yet the basic underlying mechanism of going from not knowing to knowing has not changed. in the Archestra notebook Big Learning, we have done a sweeping survey of what goes into the before-and-after changes. why it does, and how the teaching-learning relationship is now structured.

Click here to go to the Slideshare posting of Big Learning.