Clarity First Newsletter, October 28, 2016


Leadership, at its best, is intensely personal. And the people who follow you, they can tell.*

Problem-solving in a living system is about communication

Niels Pflaeging is optimistic that we can learn to create organizations that are both robust enough to handle complexity and fit for human beings. He’s written a ”textbook for thinking about organizations, a source of inspiration, a dictionary, and a workbook”.
Book Review: Organize for Complexity

Don’t settle for changing minds. Change systems instead.

EducationSuperHighway (ESH), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing broadband internet access to every U.S. public school classroom. They’ve raised tens of millions of dollars, helped drive reforms in the FCC’s “E-Rate” policy, and, since 2013, the share of U.S. school districts with access to 100 kbps connectivity has more than doubled from 30% to 77%. How’d they do it? By stepping back and looking at the full scope of the system they were trying to change, and to identify its pressure points.
Article: Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking

Practical tools to trigger & support social innovation

Want to develop a clear plan, clarify your priorities, collect input from others and/or generate new ideas? Here’s a whole website of tools that will help you do so.
Website: DIY. Development, Impact & You.

Usability engineering is good business. Very good business

A good website UX is a lot like a good marriage. It’s part appeal and part how it works. Clarity colleague Deborah Mayhew has written a good introduction to how to design as if users matter.
Article: Every dollar invested in usability engineering returns between two and 100 dollars.

Organizations can become more agile, more adaptable, and more innovative by adopting communication and collaboration practices inspired by nature

In her new book Re-Aligning With Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, Denise DeLuca explores how true change, on personal, company-wide, and societal levels, can’t happen unless we “realign what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, with nature and with our own human nature.” Great interview with her about what she is learning:
Interview: A Q&A with author Denise DeLuca


He sings, plays guitar and violin, is a master of loop effects, and he whistles. His music evokes deep memories, yet it’s a sound you’ve never heard before. This week we’ve been luxuriating in Andrew Bird, and his streaming web series Live from the Great Room. We started with he and the National’s Matt Berninger covering Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”. Then we found his duet with Fionna Apple. In hindsight it’s amazing we got anything else done. Soulful.

Images of the week

The drawings in the headers represent just two of Gaping Void’s daily blog posts. *The subject line, the teaser at the top, the “Leadership, at it’s best…” and the “Leadership starts when you realize…” lines of this week’s letter all come from the same source. Subscribe to the blog. Bookmark it. Evernote it. Put it in your RSS feed. Whatever you do, don’t miss it. Inspirational reading.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the agency that helps mission-driven companies use their purpose, values, and stories as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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