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Flipping orthodoxy By Guest author / October 2013 / 1 Comment

By Curtis Ogden (originally published on the IISC blog)

During his presentation at this week’s Council of Foundations Conference for Community Foundations, Monitor Institute’s Gabriel Kasper talked about the need for innovation in community philanthropy. This included a call to examine orthodoxy in our organizations and communities, that is, the behaviors and procedures that we often take for granted with respect to the way we go about our business.  This notion of orthodoxy was developed by the innovation firm Doblin and is further outlined in an article in Rotman Magazine.  Gabriel then encouraged attendees to, essentially, “steal like an artist.”  So in that spirit, I wanted to share the plenary exercise he had participants go through that I am particularly interested in bringing to some of the networks with which I work:

  1. Identify an orthodoxy in your organization or community life. (Examples: We make grants.  The community comes to us. We lead by being out in front.  Money is our important asset.)
  2. Ask yourself if this orthodoxy still holds true.  Does it align with intended purpose and/or mission?
  3. What might it look like if this orthodoxy were flipped?  Do you know others who are challenging that orthodoxy? (Examples: We do advocacy.  We go to the community.  We lead by getting behind others.  Impact is our most important asset.)

Gabriel had everyone write answers to these questions quickly on cards and then “play” them at their table.  The table then voted on the one orthodoxy that the table felt most compelled to challenge.

Any orthodoxies come to mind that you would like to flip?

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1 Comment to Flipping orthodoxy

Ellia Ryan
October 23, 2013

Great exercise – thanks for sharing! This is a nice baby step to helping community organizations think more creatively, which I find that many are reticent to do. I’ve done similar exercises with nonprofit groups and when they experience this shift, willingly in a ‘fun’ exercise, they really get the impact of what *could* be created.

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