Poverty—This lens was and can be used in the future to explore definitions
of poverty for the purposes of expanding our thinking to encompass a broader set
of elements that more accurately describe conditions of impoverishment. Since
definitions lead to strategies, it suggests that if we are interested in
changing the way we address poverty, then we must change the way we define it.
Solutions—This lens was and can be used in the future to explore ways to
support, enable, and empower all communities to address issues of poverty
locally in ways that make sense for their unique circumstances.
Economic Security—This lens was and can be used in the future to explore
key areas that impact families’ economic security, such as basic income
(including work supports), acquisition and growth of assets, mainstream goods
and services, and public policy.
Technology—This lens was and can be used in the future to explore ways
that technology can be used to more significantly impact individual and
lens was and can be used in the future in two ways. One, as a thread throughout
each area of inquiry to understand what leadership and leadership development
work would be necessary to create and sustain the new approach envisioned
through each lens. Second, as the development of a group of advisors/champions
who can provide feedback and guidance on the construct and the strategies as
they were developed, and serve as ‘communication ambassadors’ in their
spheres of influence.
Any time people are faced with large, complex, systemic endeavors, the natural thing—and perhaps the only thing—we can do is to simplify it into manageable conceptual chunks. Once more manageable conceptual chunks exist, manageable operational chunks are easier to identify, develop, and sequence in a strategic way. The project team spent considerable time and energy gathering information and trying to make sense of the many components of Mr. Carter’s “vision.” In so doing, new components were brought to the surface and added to the emerging construct. At some point during this process, the first key conceptual simplification emerged.
As the project
team learned more and more about the components of the initial vision during the
early stages of its work, it became apparent that, although the topic was
poverty, the project was fundamentally about change. Realizing this was key,
because it meant that the initiative could draw upon a rich knowledge base of
organizational and systems change in order to form a high-level framework for a
long-term change effort (Fig. 1). The rationale was that if that knowledge base
provided a framework for the fundamental characteristics of successful change,
and the initiative mapped its approach and activities to that framework, then
the journey into the unknown could at least be based on a known set
of success factors. This discovery provided a sense of confidence that, despite
the real uncertainty involved in exploring uncharted territory, the project
could remain on track if its activities were mapped to this framework.
Figure 1. Overarching
change model used to map current and future strategies for creating the 21st
Century Model to Address Poverty.
framework of the overarching change model is useful in developing and organizing
strategies to a common, proven framework, it does, however, oversimplify what is
a complex, iterative, and messy process of change. No model, in its two
dimensions, can represent a complex human/ systemic endeavor, and acknowledging
that creating the 21st Century
Model to Address Poverty will be neither linear (as the arrows suggest), nor
clean (as the boxes suggest) was an important starting assumption.
While the framework of the overarching change model is useful in developing and organizing strategies to a common, proven framework, it does, however, oversimplify what is a complex, iterative, and messy process of change. No model, in its two dimensions, can represent a complex human/ systemic endeavor, and acknowledging that creating the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty will be neither linear (as the arrows suggest), nor clean (as the boxes suggest) was an important starting assumption.
Despite the limitations of the model, it can be used for both short- and long-term planning at least until another construct emerges as a better alternative. For now, the framework provides what is needed at this early stage of the work—an organizing principle upon which to plan current and future work (see overlapping timeframes represented in the graphic). A description of each of the model components is provided below; application of several of them within the project and construct can be seen throughout this blueprint:
* Determine the Need for Change (Assess Current State)—Knowing that there is a need for change is obviously a prerequisite for any change to occur. There must be something about the current state of things that is no longer sufficient in some way. We need to know enough about our starting point—current reality—to know that a change is needed in the first place, and then build a more solid, specific case for change with data that describes aspects of the current state in more detail.
* Determine Desired Future State (Gap Analysis!)—In order to plan for and implement change, we have to know what we are working toward. The more descriptive we can be in communicating the desired future we are seeking with the change, the more urgency we create and the more clarity we have for understanding what needs to get done in order to achieve it. Using what we know about the current state and what we envision as a desired future, we can begin to identify strategies for filling the gap.
* Establish a Sense of Urgency—No change can occur without a sense of urgency. Without urgency, it is difficult to pull people together to guide the change or to even convince others to spend the time or energy needed to begin the work of change. Urgency is needed to counteract the sources of complacency—the force behind keeping things the same—such as the absence of a visible crisis, structures that focus people on narrow goals, too many visible resources, too much “happy talk,” and human nature of engaging in denial, especially when people are already busy and stressed.
* Create the Guiding Coalition—No one individual has the influence, stamina, knowledge, skills, time, etc. to create the change or to monitor progress toward it. A group of people with enough position power, expertise, credibility, and leadership must be mobilized as a team to carry the change through all of the inevitable obstacles and forces of inertia.
* Develop the Change Strategy—The strategies that will create the actual change are developed based on the analysis of the gap between the current state of ‘what is’ and desired future state of ‘what could be.’ Areas for potential strategy development include the work itself, behaviors, systems, structures, customers, culture, etc. It is important to develop at least some ‘quick win’ strategies to demonstrate that the endeavor is worth the effort and to create commitment for continuing.
* Communicate the Change Strategy—While a great vision can serve a useful purpose if it is only understood by a few key people, its real power is unleashed only when many stakeholders have a shared understanding of its goals and direction. Communicating the vision and strategy simply and clearly in multiple venues is key to creating a shared understanding among the very people who will further develop, create, and implement the change.
* Empower Broad-Based Action—Existing systems or structures that may have made perfect sense in the pre-change environment often emerge as obstacles during the change process. Empowering broad-based action means eliminating those obstacles, changing systems or structures that undermine the change, and encouraging risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.
* Consolidate Gains/Produce More Change—Once the change process is well underway, its progress starts to shake things loose enough to create more change. The credibility gained with each element of progress can be used to begin aligning more systems, structures, and policies with the vision than first attempted. In addition to the new projects these consolidations spawn, new people are added to the mix, creating more intellectual and emotional energy toward the vision.
* Anchor New Approaches in Culture—If all else has occurred with relative success, the new approaches, behaviors, etc. brought about by the change begin to anchor themselves into the culture. This only occurs if the new ways of doing things work and provide results superior to the old ways.
* Evaluate Change—Evaluating the change simply means knowing the extent to which the change has produced the results sought. It is important to consider this early on so that baseline data can be gathered to compare with the data to be collected after the change strategies have been implemented.
the project as an effort to develop a construct that could be used to establish
a long-term, sustainable social change movement, and knowing that the many
dimensions of the initial vision made it difficult for others to digest or to
repeat for purposes of action, the project team set about refining and
organizing the various components into a single theoretical construct (see
Chapter 3: Theoretical Construct). The process of sorting, organizing, and
refining the individual pieces resulted in a construct with the following
Understanding the project as an effort to develop a construct that could be used to establish a long-term, sustainable social change movement, and knowing that the many dimensions of the initial vision made it difficult for others to digest or to repeat for purposes of action, the project team set about refining and organizing the various components into a single theoretical construct (see Chapter 3: Theoretical Construct). The process of sorting, organizing, and refining the individual pieces resulted in a construct with the following components:
* Mission—what Creating the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty is meant to do,
* Vision—to what end,
* Imperatives—why it should be done, and
* Principles—on what foundation it should be built.
These high-level construct components correspond to
the overarching change model elements of Determine the Need for Change (Assess
Current State), Determine Desired Future (Gap Analysis), and Establish a Sense
· Short theme papers in each area of inquiry to inform and ground the initial working sessions (see “Working Sessions”) in “what is,”
· Key questions for discussion in the working sessions,
· The basis for a presentation of the current state relative to the topical lens of each of the working sessions,
· Comprehensive, stand-alone environmental scan products in each area of inquiry to ground the overall initiative, and
· “Hybrid papers” in each of the areas of inquiry that provide the key themes, along with the supporting details (Appendix B).
activity corresponds to the overarching change model elements of Determine the
Need for Change (Assess Current State) and Establish a Sense of Urgency.
As the research and theoretical construct were being developed, a strategy was developed to convene working sessions in which people from a variety of backgrounds and sectors could bring their expertise to bear toward creating a fundamentally different model for thinking about and addressing poverty. Four sessions were developed and convened around the topical lenses of Redefining Poverty, Community-Based Solutions, Family Economic Security, and Maximizing Technology (see Appendix C for specific session descriptions). These sessions would:
· Serve as the first opportunity to begin the change “conversation” with a broader participant group.
· Serve as the first opportunity to test the draft theoretical construct with stakeholders from various sectors and worldviews and get their feedback.
· Be specifically designed as working sessions wherein a small number of people from various sectors would engage in strategic discussions and, in so doing, advance the work of the initiative. Success for all of the sessions was defined as walking away with:
o A set of components that describe the desired future relative to the session topic.
o An understanding of what needs to change to realize the desired future.
o A start on specific strategies that will get us there.
o Some kindred souls in this effort moving forward who can help make real change.
o Use a common design, aligned with the overarching change model (see next bullet), to provide consistent and comparable results.
o Solicit ideas for a desired future, identify gaps between the current reality and that desired future, and to create a brainstormed list of potential strategies that could be undertaken to begin filling the gap, all of which would be used to inform this blueprint for change.
The goals of the session described above correspond to the overarching change model components of Determine the Need for Change (Assess Current State), Determine Desired Future State (Gap Analysis!), Establish a Sense of Urgency, Create the Guiding Coalition, and Develop the Change Strategy.
Since these sessions were designed as working sessions, the number of participants was limited to 18-25 for each session. While the final numbers were to remain limited, the goal was to invite participants from a wide variety of sectors. Therefore, a wide net was cast to identify participants that have significant influence, expertise, and knowledge.
Potential session participants were identified using the following methods:
|A web site was established to collect recommendations from various groups and venues visited by Mr. Carter. Ultimately, over 500 names were submitted.|
|The project team broadly communicated the existence of the web site and encouraged his network to make recommendations there.|
|The project staff, with its collectively broad professional networks, was asked to nominate potential invitees and to encourage their respective networks to nominate potential participants.|
|Mr. Carter and the lead subject matter expert from the project staff reviewed the compiled lists and decided on a pool of approximately 30 people from which to pull the invitees.|
sessions were held in late summer 2004 and met all of the project team’s
criteria for success. This blueprint draws on much of the learning from the
from each of the working sessions were compiled and served as the official
records of the convenings (Appendix E). These records were distributed to
participants, who were asked to review the records for accuracy and to provide
feedback if what was captured was not an accurate reflection of what happened
during the session. The records serve as reference and launching pad for
potential future collaboration with participants. They also provide raw material
to mine for developing this blueprint and for specific insights, strategies, and
enhancements to the conceptual framework that can be incorporated into future
Proceedings from each of the working sessions were compiled and served as the official records of the convenings (Appendix E). These records were distributed to participants, who were asked to review the records for accuracy and to provide feedback if what was captured was not an accurate reflection of what happened during the session. The records serve as reference and launching pad for potential future collaboration with participants. They also provide raw material to mine for developing this blueprint and for specific insights, strategies, and enhancements to the conceptual framework that can be incorporated into future plans.
1 Chapter 2 Chapter
3 Chapter 4 Chapter
Appendix A (21st Century Model to Address Poverty)
Appendix B (Poverty Programs Summary and Matrix)
Appendix C (Issue Papers)
Appendix C1 (Initiative context presentation: Characteristics of Successful Change)
Appendix D (Income and Work Support Policies and Strategies)
Appendix D1 (Working Session Descriptions)
Appendix D2 (Working Session Descriptions, continued)
Appendix E (Working Session Descriptions, continued)
Appendix E2 (Current state presentation: Highlights from the research)
Appendix F (Participant List)
Appendix G (Project Staff List)
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