Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Take Heart - Confessions of a Change Agent

Today is a good day so I am not feeling like the woman in the picture above at the moment, but I have been there. Being a change agent is part choice and part obsession. The commitment has been a choice for me, but the drive to part of leading change has been a life long obsession - it is a core part of who I am. I honestly can't say I know how to be anything other than who/what I am and I wouldn't be happy being otherwise.

Now having said that, let me confess something to you - it can be exhausting, not just for me but for people around me. That's because I eat, sleep and breath Art Based research (Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy) and Community Change Management.
I talk about it, I read about it, I dream about it...

But life work balance is something we all have to pay attention to if we want to avoid burn out. Before I embraced this reality, I experienced burn out when I was working as a community development consultant. The main reason was that my obsession was tainted by persistent frustration. For me the solution was to break free of the community development box, although I am still very much concerned with community development I found that sphere as a sector to be very resistant to change because of its entanglement with politics.

Coming back to my first true love, art was healing for me. Developing Cultural Fusion as an A/r/tographic model for community change answered a call from my soul - it expresses my deepest calling to serve and create. It puts me pack in touch with the way of being that I find is most conducive to supporting those interested in and willing to change.

Re-Thinking the Way We Think About Social Impacts

People who know me are aware that I have been exploring linkages between CRM (customer relationship management) Strategy and CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs for a number of years. Mostly I have met with a good deal of frustration but I’ve come to far to give up now, so when I find enlightening or encouraging news it helps put the wind back in my sails. Lately my attention has been on programs to assist survivors of violence but I also remain engaged in crime prevention and reducing recidivism of ex-offenders.

Recently I was introduced to Social Impact Bonds and it is definitely an encouraging step in the right direction. The paper I am going to link you to shows how the model can be applied to reducing recidivism and government spending. What is inspiring here is the financial investment model – certainly helps address parts of the problem, risk management for socially motivated investments. What they’ve done right….There is no doubt that employment and community support are huge issues in reducing recidivism. In addition to the model discussed in that paper, there is also a need and space for broader understanding based on open research (such as Art Based research) and event sponsorship funding models are worth considering as a less restrictive alternative. Is there an opportunity here for new approaches that tackle multiple dimensions of the problem to be explored and developed? I find that what is missing is support of innovation whereby there is space for discovery and open participation of those impacted.
Read the rest of this post here

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