Strategic Doing in Flint 2013


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Bob Brown of Michigan State University is using Strategic Doing to assemble a core team of leaders to redevelop devastated neighborhoods in Flint, MI. In this presentation, Bob provides background to this work and explains why Strategic Doing works. According to Bob:

"In neighborhoods besieged by complex, wicked problems, Strategic Doing creates hope through the power of taking action with the assets or gifts that we already possess.  In that moment when we combine assets we begin to tell a new story of opportunity and possibility.  Strategic Doing gives us
the power to change our lives, our neighborhoods, and our communities."

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Strategic Doing in Flint 2013

  1. 1. Strategic Doing September 5, 2013 Bob Brown Michigan State University
  2. 2. The Big Picture
  3. 3. In Battle Creek, People Are Working to: • • • • • • Improve education and cut dropout rates Create a zero tolerance for violence Eliminate blight and create healthy green spaces Help people achieve financial stability Promote healthy behaviors Reclaim neighborhoods and increase their vitality
  4. 4. All of These Efforts Run Smack into Messes The educational mess The poverty mess The healthcare mess The public safety mess
  5. 5. What’s a Mess?
  6. 6. Complex Messes A system of interacting complex problems
  7. 7. The Long Standing Violence Mess Battering of Children Increase in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by witnessing acts of violence Insensitivity of court personnel (towards battering) Sense of isolation Felonies Historic underinvestment in poor neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color Rape and sexual assault Poor Housing Fear for one’s personal safety (inability to resolve conflict without violence) Economic flight from distressed neighborhoods Alcohol and violence Misdemeanors Overburdened hospital emergency rooms Little or no Arts & Culture Feelings of inequality and powerlessness brought on by racism, classism, age discrimination, ethnicity discrimination, cultural background discrimination Physical and psychological abuse Depressed economic conditions Mass media sensationalizes violence Unsafe Neighborhoods Youth bitter and hopeless about future Domestic Violence No Jobs and Money
  8. 8. New Understandings: Complex problems behave in ways that make more straightforward programmatic solutions less effective The past does not necessarily predict the future. Small changes can create large and sometimes unanticipated effects Preskill and Tanya, 2012
  9. 9. New Understandings: Producing specific outcomes at a pre-determined time (a grant period) is difficult Predicting all possible outcomes that might occur (United Way funding proposals) is difficult Sequencing outcomes in the same way that a welltested, stable program intervention can (Logic Model) is difficult Preskill and Tanya, 2012
  10. 10. A Challenge However Remains Even with this increased understanding, the challenge of working in messes remains: Getting from here to there without getting lost or overwhelmed along the way
  11. 11. But Here Where It Gets Tricky Within the pathways of dealing with messes not only do we take action to address: • • • • simple situations complicated situations complex situations And potentially chaotic situations
  12. 12. Those taking the actions live in: – – – – simple situations complicated situations complex situations And potentially chaotic situations
  13. 13. Chaos
  14. 14. In chaotic situations people are just trying to survive, we do whatever it takes
  15. 15. Complicated
  16. 16. In complicated situations things are either socially complicated or technically complicated When things are socially complicated we build relationships and create common ground to increase our social agreement When things are technically complicated we experiment and coordinate expertise to increase our technical certainty
  17. 17. Simple
  18. 18. In simple situations we just trying to follow the recipe – evidence-based practices.
  19. 19. Complexity – the land of Messes Characterized by high uncertainty and high social conflict (high uncertainty about how to produce a desired result fuels disagreement, and disagreement intensifies and expands the parameters of uncertainty.)
  20. 20. Complexity Causal connections are intertwined, entangled, and overlapping
  21. 21. Complex Situations cause-effect relations are unknown and, in principle, unknowable before effects have emerged.
  22. 22. Complexity Uncertainty and unpredictability are part of the innovation process •
  23. 23. Living in the Land of Complex Messes: Flint, Mi
  24. 24. The Zone of Complexity in Flint Starting in the late 1960s Flint has suffered from 50 years of disinvestment, deindustrialization, depopulation and urban decay, as well as high rates of crime, unemployment and poverty.
  25. 25. The Zone of Complexity in Flint • 1978: 80,000 GM employees • 2010: 8,000 GM employees
  26. 26. The Zone of Complexity in Flint • May 2002, Ed Kurtz appointed as the city’s st Emergency Financial 1 Manager
  27. 27. The Zone of Complexity in Flint •2010 Headline: Flint still is number one for violent crime in the nation
  28. 28. The Zone of Complexity in Flint • November 2011: Governor Snyder appointed Michael nd Brown as the city's 2 Emergency Financial Manager
  29. 29. • But we are numb to words and stats • Here is the Zone of Complexity in Flint – my city in pictures
  30. 30. But Most of Us Are Overwhelmed With the Sheer Scope and Complexities of These Issues So we fall back on a set of rules and standard operating procedures that predetermine what we will do Effectively short circuits our ability to work across simple to complicated to complex situations or messes Patton, Developmental Evaluation, 2011
  31. 31. So What’s the Response – Is There a Key?
  32. 32. • We can address messes • But traditional programmatic approaches aren’t creating impact • We need Social Innovation to impact messes Preskill and Tanya, 2012
  33. 33. What is Social Innovation? Novel solutions to social problems that: • Are more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions • Creates value that accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than individuals • Crosses sectors, • Involves changing the dynamics, roles, and relationships between many players, • Challenges conventional wisdom about the nature of the problem and its solutions Preskill and Tanya, 2012
  34. 34. Your Social Innovation: Project 2020 • Working together, we champion ideas and initiatives that move this community toward excellence. • We exist to create a coalition of groups and individuals who are connected, coordinated, mutually supportive and working toward the greater good.
  35. 35. Project 2020 – a network of people • Getting on the Same Page • Moving Levers • Changing Outcomes
  36. 36. Achieving Your Vision Will Require: • Thinking Differently • Behaving Differently • Doing Differently
  37. 37. Strategic Doing
  38. 38. What is Strategic Doing? used to develop & implement strategy based on collaboration and open networks asset based (using what you have) leads to shared, measurable outcomes and a roadmap to follow Strategic Doing is being taught across the nation
  39. 39. The background and theory of change
  40. 40. Hierarchies are limiting
  41. 41. Networks can help get things done
  42. 42. Networks are all around us Who makes the iPhone? Wizard of Oz made in 1939 by ONE company Spider Man 3 made by 56 companies in a network A network made by Apple
  43. 43. Moving from old to new
  44. 44. Strategic planning
  45. 45. Link, leverage and align
  46. 46. Paradigm shift
  47. 47. New ways of thinking
  48. 48. New thinking: the two economies
  49. 49. New thinking: the two economies
  50. 50. New thinking: understanding networks
  51. 51. Network structure & combining networks
  52. 52. How networks emerge and grow over time
  53. 53. New networks can move older assets to new opportunities
  54. 54. The network effect
  55. 55. New ways of behaving
  56. 56. Growing trust takes time
  57. 57. Balance leadership and direction
  58. 58. We move in the direction of our conversations
  59. 59. Developing a civic space important
  60. 60. New ways of doing
  61. 61. Strategy
  62. 62. Strategic Doing
  63. 63. Managing a network and getting things done
  64. 64. Build a strong foundation with a balanced civic portfolio
  65. 65. Choosing a strategy, evaluating complexity and payoff
  66. 66. Using Networks in Flint “A partial solution to a whole system of problems is better than whole solutions of each of its parts taken separately.” (Ackoff, 1999, p. 324)
  67. 67. Elements of Healthy Neighborhoods • According to the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, “Neighborhoods are complex systems that require many elements to work well, from decent housing and safe streets to employment opportunities, good schools and access to shopping, health care and other services.
  68. 68. Responding to the Mess of Flint Neighborhoods • Use a new, more holistic approach to community and neighborhood development. – Blends human, community, and economic development – Provides the supports needed for healthy transitions from birth to adulthood – Is grounded in research – Acknowledges the natural challenges to healthy development but recognizes that these challenges are more difficult without the proper supports – Offers guidelines for realigning investments for collective wellbeing • Facilitate a process that creates action based on available resources and assets
  69. 69. Goals 1.Improve communication among and between stakeholders at all levels. 2.Proactively address conditions in Flint neighborhoods that give rise to crime, social disorder and fear of crime. 1.Re-establish a city-wide sense of community with a shared responsibility.
  70. 70. Working to impact the lives of youth, and families by “Creating Community with a ZERO Tolerance for Violence” in neighborhoods of high need
  71. 71. Neighborhoods Without Borders (NWB) We are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers, business people and pastors, educators and students, administrators and workers coming together in a grassroots and community effort to significantly improve the overall quality of life in Flint neighborhoods.
  72. 72. Flint Lifelines Building Neighborhood Capacity
  73. 73. In Flint, We Work to Link, Align, and Leverage Across Networks Lifeline Ceasefire Building Neighborhood Capacity Community Action Edible Flint Flint Neighborhoods Neighborhoods Without Borders Flint Neighborhoods United Flint Area Congregations Together