“Ana Barroso: Thanks for agreeing to do this Brazil – New York conversation. Every now and then, while reading a design or innovation related article, I find myself thinking “what would GK say about this?” Humantifichas been in the sensemaking / strategic design business a long time and there are a number of questions that I want to ask you including what you think of this article by Mercin Treder entitled “Why everyone is a designer… but shouldn’t design“.“ Continue Reading..
We were delighted to see the recent news that Bloomberg Philanthropieshas launched the “What Works Cities Initiative”a three-year, $42 million (USD) effort to support mayors and local leaders in 100 mid-sized U.S. cities with the goal of helping city leaders “use data and evidence in decision-making”.
The orientation towards “decision-making” (convergent thinking) is one that is often seen in the still emerging civic innovation arena today. As innovation practice leaders we notice that such terminology is not exactly on-target from a methods and skills perspective. As practioners working with organizational leaders everyday we recognize that decision-making and innovation-making are not the same thing. Lets not assume they are. Decision-making is only one part of the changemaking/innovation cycle.Continue Reading..
Civic innovation is a subject that is near and dear to us at Humantific and we digest a lot of material being generated in the media on a regular basis. There is no question that interest in the subject of civic innovation continues to rise. As practitioners working in the real world with client organizations we don’t always get a chance to comment on everything we see in the media.
We do see momentum building towards a better understanding of the many challenges surrounding civic innovation and thats good news. As various interest groups weigh in to contribute perspectives the landscape of what is known and what is in progress, ie not yet resolved becomes more clear.
Often being presented under different themes, one common thread across many civic innovation initiatives are the stated goals of achieving/building adaptability, agility, flexibility, resilience, fluency, fluxability, adaptive capacity. As an objective this is not so different from many large business organizations today operating in a continously changing world.Continue Reading..
Founded in June 2015, the HumanCities Collaborativeis an international team of leading multidisciplinary practitioners dedicated to helping city governments power their civic innovation initiatives.
Our Mission & Approach
We are here to help civic leaders operationalize human-centered civic innovation in tangible, understandable and scalable ways.
We bring a diversity of skills to the table that includes: innovation strategy cocreation, design thinking, change-making, custom data analytics, design research, visual-sensemaking, custom city data analytics platforms, custom mobile applications, community engagement, civic innovation team skill-building and civic innovation lab building.
Our hybrid approach is human-centered in orientation and focused to assist both the internal staff within city agencies as well as the people that governments ultimately serve.Continue Reading..
Building on our work in progress Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter shares insights on operationalizing civic innovation capacity building today. Humantific is proud to be a founding member of HumanCities Collaborative a new multi-firm consortium created to help civic leaders operationalize human-centered civic innovation in tangible, understandable and scalable ways. Continue Reading..
Measure of America pioneered shifting the focus in the United States from asking the old Gross Domestic Product (GDP) oriented question of “How is the economy doing?” to the more relevant human centered question of today: “How are people doing?”. Authored by Sara Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis Measure of Americais widely recognized as a ground-breaking initiative.
Momentum continues to build around many dimensions of the social changemaking movement and its great to see others picking up on and extending this significant human centered paradym shift around how we look and see societies today.
Of course using more human centered viewing lenses tends to change the picture of how well the United States is really doing. That data-driven change of perspective will hopefully continue to help drive change at the level of city, state and federal governments.
From the Humantific perspective, what is often missing from articles such as “Is GDP Dead?” is mention of what happens after the new data-driven sensemaking pictures have been created. After significant challenges have been unearthed how are they to be addessed? We know from our real-world experience that simply putting new data-driven pictures in front of leaders is, most often, not by itself enough to drive real change that sticks.
As part of this movement leaders are beginning to realize that “Asking the right questions” is useful but no where near robust enough. Awareness is rising in the social change arena that without cocreated changemaking the best of data-driven intentions will often fall short. Linked together SenseMaking and ChangeMaking can provide the robust , adaptable and learnable tools to get the job done.
Today the goal of the data-driven social progress movement has many permuations but generally drives towards creating a more human-centered, life-centered world in the present and for future generations. It is a SenseMaking and ChangeMaking movement that Humantific is happy to be part of…:-)
Ten Key Quotes from Is “GDP Dead?”:
The Old Way of Seeing:
1. “Gross Domestic Product (GDP); what has become the official, if flawed, measure of a nation’s standing in the global economy.”
2. “By focusing exclusively on economic growth, GDP misses – or worse still, externalizes –the costs and value of a number of critical elements of well-being…”
The New Way of Seeing:
3. “a new trove of data offer[s] a holistic snapshot of the health of societies across the world.”
4. “…the [Social Progress Index] SPI offers a rigorous, granular and more meaningful alternative to the gospel that is Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
5. “The United States, the world’s wealthiest country in GDP terms, ranks 16th in “social progress.” Compared to our economic peers, we underperform on a number of dimensions, particularly those related to health: life expectancy, premature deaths from diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory failure, fatal car accidents, and even maternal and infant mortality rates.”
6. “This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first UN Human Development Report, created by Mahbub ul Haq and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and informed by Sen’s work on human capabilities and positive freedom.”
8. “…it is important to note that “social progress” does not always correlate with higher GDP—sometimes even when we get richer, things can get worse.”
9. “The SPI is a measure of inclusivity and distribution; as with other alternative indices, a country cannot improve its progress score by simply boosting GDP.”
10. “The SPI is also part of a larger revolution – across business, civil society, and government – to measure what matters. Asking the right questions is a critical step towards getting us to better answers and social outcomes, which would be progress indeed.”
This is essentially a survey of 1500+ CEOs worldwide regarding their perspectives on the subject and how they are addressing it inside their organizations. Published in 2012 these IBM CEO surveys are typically relevant for 5+ years depending on how fast or slow the economy and your organization are moving..:-) The Complexity Crisis remains front and center for many organizational leaders today.
It is interesting to see that this IBM report touches on and interconnects several different subjects that tend to be nested inside the Complexity Crisis.Continue Reading..
The Humantific Academy team is delighted to be back in Austin Texas working with the forward thinking City of Austin’s Civic Innovation Team on building adaptable civic innovation leadership capacity.
Many cities are realizing that there is a role for city governments in inspiring, supporting and leading innovation in their local communities. One result is significant interest from city government leaders in acquiring next generation innovation leadership skills for the specific context of complex civic challenges.
In Texas the City of Austin is moving rapidly to become a civic innovation leader. Within the City of Austin government multiple groups are enrolled in Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program. In this unique hybrid program we combine the best aspects of Design Thinking, Applied Creativity Thinking and Information Visualization.
These are advanced participatory innovation leadership skills that allow graduates to help others navigate all kinds of fuzzy complex internal and external civic challenges without preconceived outcome assumptions. These next generation innovation skills benefit from the integration of data/information visualizations and other forms of up-front sensemaking.
If you are a civic innovation leader and you would like to chat with us regarding your innovation leadership capacity building challenges feel free to send us an email: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com.
Humantific is deeply involved in the civic innovation arena and what we see generally speaking is significant interest from numerous organizations in onboarding new forms of civic innovation leadership skills.Continue Reading..
Humantific works with organizational leaders in numerous industries to build team-based innovation capacity so we were naturally interested to see this article appear recently in BloomBerg BusinessWeek directed at its MBA audience.
“We surveyed recruiters in two dozen industries, from consulting to consumer products, so while we asked specifically about their preferences in MBA recruiting, their feedback likely applies to a wide pool of applicants for the same types of jobs.”
Data from this survey showed that Strategic Thinking*, Creative Problem-Solving* and Leadereship Skills* are not only in high demand but are also “the hardest to find”!
In the context of organizations this 10 skills list translates into need for investment in innovation capacity building, in innovation skills, in a new generation of adaptability skills.
Many organizations are already hard at work on building such innovation capacity. Today a new generation of adaptablity skills have taken shape in this “big data era” where making sense of complexity is now often key.