Agents of Change: Strategy and Tactics for Social Innovation

Brookings Institution Press
Free sample

While governments around the world struggle to maintain service levels amid fiscal crises, social innovators are improving social outcomes for citizens by changing the system from within. In Agents of Change, three cutting-edge thinkers and entrepreneurs present case studies of social innovation that have led to significant social change. Drawing on original empirical research in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they examine how ordinary people accomplished extraordinary results.

Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit de Jong, and Frans Nauta offer lively illustrations and insightful interpretations of how innovators, social entrepreneurs, and change agents are dealing with powerful opponents, the burdens of bureaucracy, and the challenge of securing resources and support. This book will appeal to anyone who is intrigued by imaginative, cross-boundary thinking and transformative change. It will be of particular interest to those who want to know how exactly innovators pull it off. With practitioners, scholars, and students of public policy and management in mind, the authors dissect the strategies and tactics that social innovators employ to navigate the risky waters of their institutional environments.

Contents Part 1: Introduction: Chess Masters and Acrobats 1. Strategy and Tactics

2. Crafting the Case: The Art of Making a Start

3. Prompting Progress: The Art of Making Things Happen

4. Managing Meaning: The Art of Making Sense

Part 2: Front-Line Innovations 5. Under the Radar: Medical Informatics in Japan

6. Relentless Incrementalism: Financial Literacy Training for Newcomers in Canada

7. Join the Club! Alzheimer Cafés in the Netherlands

8. Just a Tool? Implementing the Vulnerability Index in New Orleans

Part 3: Innovations in Governance 9. The Sun Kings: Solar Energy in Germany

10. Change on Steroids: Public Education in New Orleans

11. The Value of Values: Higher Education in Virginia

12. A Window of Opportunity: Institutional Reform in Denmark

Conclusion: Innovating Strategically

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About the author

Sanderijn Cels is a senior fellow with the Consensus Building Institute and a research associate with the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes program. Jorrit de Jong teaches in executive education programs at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he is a senior fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Frans Nauta is professor of Public Sector Innovation at HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and leads the Dutch Entrepreneurship program of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology's Climate-KIC.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Oct 5, 2012
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Pages
238
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ISBN
9780815722632
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Most contemporary public managers will work in some type of collaborative or networked arrangement at some time in their professional careers. More and more work in public administration and policy is now being done in collaborative formats, and while there are many studies, articles, and cases describing successful endeavors, a good deal of confusion persists about what, exactly, makes them work. What are the best practices? This book focuses on the processes, protocols, and incentives needed for successful collaborative endeavors. Moving beyond new public governance theories and the limits of new public management, Chandler uniquely focuses on the facilitative skills and tools that members and facilitators need for success in collaborative work.

Written by an author with both academic and practical experience in organizing, developing, leading, and facilitating public-private collaboratives, this book has both an academic thrust and an action focus, drawing on case studies from the fields of health and human services to highlight important theoretical and/or practice points. Making Collaboratives Work is required reading for undergraduate and graduate public-administration students of collaborative management, nonprofit administration, organizational theory and practice, communications, public policy, and leadership. The book is also ideally suited to public administrators and nonprofit managers asked to work in public-private partnerships and collaboratives to solve complex problems.

How can we intervene in the systemic bureaucratic dysfunction that beleaguers the public sector? De Jong examines the roots of this dysfunction and presents a novel approach to solving it. Drawing from academic literature on bureaucracy and problem solving in the public sector, and the clinical work of the Kafka Brigade—a social enterprise based in the Netherlands dedicated to diagnosing and remedying bureaucratic dysfunction in practice, this study reveals the shortcomings of conventional approaches to bureaucratic reform. The usual methods have failed to diagnose problems, distinguish symptoms, or identify root causes in a comprehensive or satisfactory way. They have also failed to engage clients, professionals, and midlevel managers in understanding and addressing the dysfunction that plagues them. This book offers conceptual frameworks, theoretical insights, and practical lessons for dealing with the problem. It sets a course for rigorous public problem solving to create governments that can be more effective, efficient, equitable, and responsive to social concerns.

De Jong argues that successfully remedying bureaucratic dysfunction depends on employing diagnostics capable of distinguishing and dissecting various kinds of dysfunction. The “Anna Karenina principle” applies here: all well functioning bureaucracies are alike; every dysfunctional bureaucracy is dysfunctional in its own way. The author also asserts that the worst dysfunction occurs when multiple organizations share responsibility for a problem, but no single organization is primarily responsible for solving it. This points to a need for creating and reinforcing distributed problem solving capacity focused on deep (cross-)organizational learning and revised accountability structures. Our best approach to dealing with dysfunction may therefore not be top-down regulatory reform, but rather relentless bottom-up and cross-boundary leadership and innovation. Using fourteen clinical cases of bureaucratic dysfunction investigated by the Kafka Brigade, the author demonstrates how a proper process for identifying, defining, diagnosing, and remedying the problem can produce better outcomes.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time, as seen in the HBO documentary True Justice

“[Bryan Stevenson’s] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country.”—John Legend

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction • Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize • An American Library Association Notable Book

“Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books

“Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

“You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review

“Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post

“As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times

“Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
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