Friday, August 21, 2015

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Are you leading youth serving organization in Chicago, or another location? Where do you get the ideas that guide your efforts?

Over the many years I've led a tutor/mentor program in Chicago I've come to believe that volunteer-involvement in the life of young people is a good thing for the youth, and the volunteer. In order for such programs to reach kids in big city neighborhoods, organized programs are needed. Since there are nearly 200,000 kids living in poverty in Chicago, many programs are needed, which requires new forms of leadership and resource distribution. I show this graphic in this Logic Model PDF.

I did not know much about what I was doing when I started to volunteer in 1973, but I began to seek out ideas. I did not know much about leading a program when I became the leader of the program at Montgomery Ward in 1975, so I began to seek out ideas from people who were leading programs in other cities. Over the years, I expanded my search for ideas into wider and wider categories of information.

A few days ago I began to think of how I might share the spaces where I connect with people and ideas. While taking the train to the city, I scratched out this graphic on my notepad.

I was going to try to create a version of this using PowerPoint, or a Drawing program, but then I attended a data visualization workshop at 1871 in Chicago, and was inspired by slides shared by Steven Franconeri, a Professor at Northwestern University, to create the graphic below to communicate this idea.

This is color coded so the light blue boxes are areas where you'd expect leaders of tutor/mentor programs to be going for information. The green boxes represent categories of potential resources and volunteers, so you'd expect leaders to be visiting these sections, too. However, the chart shows sections with research on poverty, inequality, health disparities, social capital, etc. which I hope programs, volunteers and leaders are looking at. Then to the right side of the chart I point to categories that I'm not too sure others are looking at often. These are web sites with information about process improvement, collaboration, visualization, knowledge management, etc. This also points to a section with links to social entrepreneurs around the world, who are innovative problem solvers that don't all depend on charity for revenue (though many do).

I think this graphic helps you understand the spaces I'm looking at every day, but it's not interactive. You can't click on a box and dig into some of the information I'm looking at.

So, I used my concept mapping tool and created a version of this graphic, with links to some of my sites. You can view it at this link.

Last January one of my interns from South Korea, via IIT in Chicago, created the video below to help guide people through sections of my web library.

So, now you've some visuals to guide you into this vast library of people and ideas. Spend some time each week looking at this, and sharing what you see with people in your own network. After a while, you might even be inspired to create your own visual guides through this information. Good luck!

No comments: