Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Strong headwinds swamp efforts to help kids in poverty areas

 I created the graphic below after reading this blog article by Terry Elliott. 

In Terry's article, he points to essay by Venkatesh Rao, titled “Coordination Headwinds”.   And that essay points to a  management presentation titled Coordination Headwind by Stripe’s head of strategy, Alex Komoroske. That's where I got the cyclone graphic.

It was in the solutions section of Alex's slide deck, at the end of the presentations.  After seeing so many reasons why projects fail, especially as they involve more people and more ambitious goals, I can understand why America has not solved its racial wealth gap, inequality, structural racism, or urban violence problems, after many decades of attention being given to them.  

Here's another graphic highlighting the graphics to the left and right of the cyclone.  This is in the "What to do about it" section starting on slide number 139. (Don't worry about the number of slides. They are all images with a few phrases in them.)

The slide with the arrows pointing at the moon is number 164 and says "If they're all sighting off the same moon, over time they'll tend to naturally converge". 

I've used versions of this #BirthtoWork graphic since the 1990s to provide a vision that many could share, guiding their own efforts to help kids in high poverty areas move from birth-to-work.

You'll see many examples of this in articles I've posted on this blog since I started it in 2005. Before then you could see examples in printed newsletters that I distributed from 1993 to 2003.

Since the mid 1990s I've used the two graphics below to show that people from every industry, civic and education group need to adopt this birth-to-work commitment, helping more people get involved every day and every year.  View this PDF presentation to learn more about this idea.

We need many leaders pointing at the same long-term goal. 

The problem is. I'm just a whisper in this wilderness. Too few know I even exist. That's why the next graphic is so important. 

Many leaders need to be sharing this birth-to-work vision every day, in order to build and sustain public will, and a flow of talent, ideas and dollars that fuel the efforts of the "boots on the ground", the people working directly with kids.

Anyone can put themselves in the middle, drawing people they know to information they can use, and places where help is needed every day. Maps are essential tools in this strategy since they can point to every place where help is needed, and every organization in each zip code needing constant support to become great at what they do to help kids.

Are you taking this role?  Do you know of any elected official, business leader or celebrity who uses maps and graphics in weekly blog articles that describe the goal and encourage people to get involved?  

I don't, and that's part of the headwind that's keeping us from doing more to help kids or solve any of the other complex problems we're facing.

Note: this thinking applies to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Climate Crisis, public health issues and many others. 

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