In a healthy democracy citizens are engaged as mature equal partners with government. They recognize government’s limitations and pitch in to compensate. They pursue solutions while also improving the overall decision making capacity of government. They take care not to … Read More
After decades of community organizing I've learned that extraordinary acts are not reserved for the special few and that everyone’s actions are necessary to transform our world. The vast majority of people want to make the world a better place. Magnificence occurs when we sprinkle our work with beauty and love. I am optimistic about what we can do together. ~ Al
Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation
Impact explores the difference between short term success and lasting impact.
Ready to Improve Your Impact?
Between them Vickie Cammack and Al Etmanski have successfully launched numerous social enterprises, organizations, social purpose businesses, coalitions, advocacy and funding initiatives.
There is no mistake they haven’t made and few scenarios they haven’t experienced.
Along the way they have observed six deep patterns of change-making which are described in Al’s book, Impact. They are keen to share their experience with groups ready to think and act like a movement.
Latest Blog Series
Lessons from the World of Disability
If we are to prevent our dear world from cascading out of control we had better make sure everyone’s gifts and talents are welcomed. In fact the collective wisdom, insight and engagement of people with disabilities may just be what will save us.Read Posts
Confessions of a Non Swimmer in the Currents of Culture
All my life I thought that the way to solve social problems was to make a big splash. To protest unjust ways of doing things, change laws, secure large sums of money, elect sympathetic politicians, mount popular public education campaigns, invent and spread innovative solutions. In preparation for approaching change differently, I’ve taken lessons from some of the strongest cultural swimmers I know. If I can keep my head above water long enough I’ll keep you posted on what I’m learning.Read posts
People who are poor never get to be in charge of ending poverty Even though they know more about poverty than anyone. Here are ten good reasons why they should be. Every percentage point of the Canadian population represents 360,000 … Read More
“I wonder what they think about climate change?” That question contained the most compelling vision of inclusion I have ever encountered. It was offered by a speaker in Scotland a number of years back. She asked us to imagine a … Read More
Katheren Szabo knows how to make peace with her fears. Which is something most of us aspire to. Especially during these outrageous, topsy turvy times when a low level state of fear hovers like a dirty cloud. For many good … Read More
Partisan politics continues to disappoint. Regardless of which party is elected, promises are broken. When decisions are made they are usually incremental. Never going as deep and substantive as promised. Even when bold decisions are made, bold implementation remains elusive. … Read More
My Polish ancestors used to say: “If you don’t know there are potatoes in the borsch there could be orphans working in the mine.” In other words if you don’t know what’s going on in your own backyard there could … Read More
The world needs more peace makers not social innovators. Why? Because there are already tens of millions of social innovators out there. Maybe more. There always have been. There always will be. People are very ingenious about inventing themselves out … Read More
The headline of a recent Medium post, “The Age of the Imbecile” caught me at a bad time. I’m immersed in examining the harmful impact of words on people who experience a disability. “Imbecile” is one of the terms developed … Read More
Dear readers – you may have noticed that recently I slyly inserted a second weekly post. It is distributed, like this one, every Monday evening. They are excerpts from a new book I’m writing. The book, not yet named, will … Read More
Dave Barrett and his 1972-75 government is the answer to people who assert that, once elected politicians lose their boldness. His government passed 357 bills in three short years. Including the Agricultural Land Reserve a bill to preserve farmland that … Read More
( first in a new series.) All my life I thought that the way to solve social problems was to make a big splash. To protest unjust ways of doing things, change laws, secure large sums of money, elect sympathetic … Read More
Those words from Bob Marley’s Redemption Song were birthed in Nova Scotia. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” was part of a speech delivered by Black rights activist Marcus Garvey in Sydney Nova Scotia in 1937. Marley likely heard about the … Read More
Lucas Warren, the current Gerber baby, is delighting mainstream and social media. Of course he’s cute. And deserves all the oohs and ahs he is getting. The big deal is that he has down syndrome. Which to some people should … Read More
Government innovation isn’t your main problem. It’s government’s. After many years of unsuccessfully peddling the processes of social innovation to governments across Canada I’ve learned: Not to peddle process. Instead to focus on proposing bold, workable solutions to problems they … Read More
Vancouver artist Carmen Papalia’s adventures in darkness refreshes the practice of democracy. And illustrates yet again the depth of wisdom within the world of disability. His views on agency and accessibility are influencing art galleries around the world, including the … Read More
Canada’s federal government seems to have forgotten the other social innovators. They are not the only jurisdiction doing so. These forgotten practitioners are the ones who everyday, everywhere invent themselves out of adversity. They are the original hackers whose solutions may be worthy of … Read More
One of the world’s best hockey players, Ken Dryden wants to eliminate concussions from hockey. There are two key rule changes that he’s certain will do it: 1) Ban all hits to the head (head shots) and 2) Penalize players for … Read More
You may have a great solution to a social challenge. Something that you are certain will be beneficial to thousands, maybe more. However, unless you have the right container, package, framing or metaphor your proven innovation may linger in isolation … Read More
Uproar, anger and righteousness are flourishing. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Idle No More are three examples. You may have been on the receiving end of their concerns directly. Or felt the insinuation indirectly via mainstream or social media. You may … Read More
The Harper government dimmed the lights at Statistics Canada and the National Council of Welfare in 2012. Into that darkness stepped the Caledon Institute, who committed to continue collecting, analyzing and publishing data related to poverty and welfare in Canada. … Read More
There are times when you manage to open the door to the status quo ever so slightly. By status quo, I refer to those organizations and institutions (foundations, big budget non-profits, universities, government ministries, health systems, police departments and so on) … Read More
People are inherently story driven. Therefore an important aptitude of successful movements and change-making efforts is aligning with the powerful and shifting cultural stories that are already out there. You can, of course, learn about storytelling, narrative principles and effective … Read More
What do Cindy Blackstock, Martin Luther King Jr., Barb Goode (disability leader), Emily Murphy, Nelly McClung (plus other members of the Famous Five), Cicely Saunders (founder of hospice), Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Yunus, Ann Livingston (co-founder VANDU), Rachel Carson, Chief Big … Read More
The promise of Adam Kahane’s latest book Collaborating With the Enemy is a stretch for me. First, there’s my preference for collaborations that I’m in charge of and partnerships that report to me! Then there’s my tendency to slam my … Read More