The Closeted Optimist's Guide to Change


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My short talk on the nature of change and foundations as changemakers for the GEO National Conference in Seattle on March 13, 2012.

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The Closeted Optimist's Guide to Change

  1. 1. The Closeted Optimist’sGuide to ChangeFoundations as ChangemakersGEO National ConferenceMarch 13, 2012, Seattle, WAEugene Eric Kim <>@eekim on Twitter
  2. 2. We are all trying to change theworld for the better. How do we do this?
  3. 3. Change starts with the individual.We all want to facilitate change,but in order to do that, we mustchange ourselves.
  4. 4. How many of you have made amemorable, lasting change inyour life in the past three months?
  5. 5. Change is hard.
  6. 6. ―Almost always the menwho achieve thesefundamental inventions ofa new paradigm havebeen either very young orvery new to the fieldwhose paradigm theychange.‖ —Thomas Kuhn Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  7. 7. People don’tchange. The oldguard dies... ... and the new guard’s mindset takes over.
  8. 8. Meyerowitzs (Suggested) Hypothesis
  9. 9. Meyerowitzs (Suggested) Hypothesis Applied Today
  10. 10. Change seems to happen in generational increments. Will this be fast enough?What if there’s no new guard?
  11. 11. What does this allmean forinstitutionalphilanthropy?
  12. 12. How does changehappen? 1. You need to want it. 2. You need to practice it. 3. You need structures that support it.
  13. 13. The Mont Fleur Scenarios (1992) Helped guide the peaceful, economically successful ANC leadership transition in post- apartheid South Africa
  14. 14. What would happen if foundationsaligned around a common visionfor how to change themselves andthe world?
  15. 15. What would happen if, in additionto planning, foundations played, inaddition to analyzing, foundationsexperimented?
  16. 16. What would happen if there werestructures in place that supportedthese experiments in changinghow foundations work?
  17. 17. ―It is far too late and things arefar too bad for pessimism. Atsuch times, it is no failure to fallshort of realizing all that wemight dream; the failure is to fallshort of dreaming all that wemight realize.‖ —Dee Hock
  18. 18. AcknowledgementsThanks to Kristin Cobble for her thought partnership, to Amy WuWong for her delightful drawings, and to H. Jessica Kim for herhelpful feedback. / @eekim on Twitter @groupaya on TwitterPhoto on slide 3 by nattu (CC BY 2.0). Photos on slide 10 by David Shankbone (CC BY 2.0) andPhoto on slide 6 by Raymond Larose (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). from Al Jazeera English (CC BY-SA 2.0) and WikimediaPhoto on slide 7 from HiLoBrow. Commons.Photos on slide 8 by aussiegal (CC BY 2.0) and Eugene Eric Image on slide 11 by José-manuel Benitos (GNU FDL 1.2).Kim (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Photo on slide 12 by Trey Ratcliff (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).Photos on slide 9 by Paul Townsend (CC BY-NC 2.0) and Photo on slide 13 by Adam Baker (CC BY 2.0).from NASA and the National Archives. Photo on slide 14 by World Cup 2010 – Shine 2010 (CC BY 2.0)