Monday, March 08, 2021

Movement Building - It Takes a Village

Last Friday, March 5, 2021 I watched a series of Poverty Narrative panel discussions hosted by the Poverty Solutions program at the University of Michigan.  Their commitment is to "provide rapid response data and analysis to community stakeholders and policymakers who want to enhance economic mobility and decrease poverty." At the link shown above you can see descriptions of all four panel discussions and find links to the recorded events.

The above photo is from the final panel titled: Confronting Inequity in Public Health 

As panel members described the massive effort to find a cure for Covid19 and then build a distribution system to get the vaccine to millions of people, I thought of the concept map I'm showing below

This includes my "mentoring kids to careers" graphic showing 12 years of support needed to help kids from first grade through high school.  At each stage a wide range of support is needed.  I've created a concept map to visualize some of these supports. I hope you'll look at it.
To the right of the "mentoring kids to careers" graphic is a visualization of the many challenges kids and families living in high poverty areas face as they make this journey.  Public health issues are just one of those.  Each one of these challenges represents an ecosystem of people from around the world who have expertise or are working to solve that piece of the problem. 

I'd love to find others creating concept maps for each of these challenge areas.  I'd add a link from my map to each of those, providing a much deeper visualization of the complex challenges. 

The UN's Sustainability Goals website does a good jobs showing the ecosystem around each of it's 17 SDG goals.  The World Economic Forum (WEF) also has an extensive library, organized by issue.  

The "challenges map" also includes a small map of Chicago, with high poverty areas shaded. Each of these areas needs a full set of birth-to-work supports that address each of the challenges facing kids and families. Maps of other cities would show similar concentrations of poverty. 

As I watched the final panel another one of my concept maps came to mind. This one is a worksheet, showing "talent needed".  

Building and sustaining organizations and movements requires an ability to recruit people with needed skills and talent, who represent a wide range of stakeholders.  If you're missing some of these the work will be much more difficult, if not impossible.

In the blue box at the top of this concept map are links to another maps, showing "network needed"

As I watched the panel discussions I shared what I was seeing and what I was thinking with a series of posts on Twitter.  Below is a Tweet where I highlighted the use of maps in communicating information. 

You can see all of these if you search #PovertyNarrative then look at the latest posts. What depresses me  is that less than 100 people were watching the live panel discussions last Friday and fewer than a dozen were posting introductions, comments or ideas to the PovertyNarrative Twitter feed.  Thus, the number of people connecting to each other was too small to do much with the information shared.  

However, that's how movements get started. 

As you look at these ideas think about the work needed to build networks of people who focus on solving big or small problems in one or more specific places.  I've used the graphic at the left for more than 20 years to show how one person, with a vision, starts sharing that vision with others, hoping to build a team of people who will embrace it and share the work needed.  If that team has the mix of talent shown above, and can stay involved for many years, great things can happen.  Here's one article that I encourage you to read.

However, depending on the level of resources you have, and the power or influence of the people in your network, this can be just a really difficult process, or an almost impossible one. 

If you share this article with others, you're helping me build the network. If you write your own article and interpret what you're reading, and how it applies to a piece of geography that you care about, you are doing even more.  If you reach out to me with a "how can I use my time, talent and knowledge to help you do this work, you become one of the people in that small first group on the far left of the graphic. 

I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites. Find links on this page.

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