What a tumultuous time on the planet! In our communities, people are experiencing what happens when the old social and economic systems just don’t work anymore. New Stories, a nonprofit corporation established in 2000 and based outside of Seattle, WA, works with a range of people and organizations around the world who are building healthy, resilient communities. We are community-based innovators, doing local work, and connecting translocally to support and strengthen our efforts. Since last year NewStories has been in a number of conversations talking with those in our networks about coming together to develop more disciplined and rigorous approaches to evaluating and communicating the results of our work. In those conversations we realized that we wanted to form a Community of Results -- not just a Community of Practice.
A little over two weeks ago we discovered this IDEO challenge and in kicked our efforts into even higher gear, in part because we saw many offering their ideas on this platform who also seemed like potential participants in this Community of Results.
We are of a growing a Community of Results with participants from North America and around the world.
In the last week we’ve reached out to many of our colleagues about the idea offered here. You’ll see video clips from these conversations at the top of this idea. Those we’ve talked to and recorded include:
- Maaianne Knuth and Jackie Cahi, Kufunda Learning Village (Zimbabwe)
- Mike Brumage, MD, Director, Kanawha/Charleston WV Regional Health District (US)
- Jessica Jensen, Outreach Coordinator, New Mexico Health Equity Partnerships (US)
- Ben Roberts and Leslie Meehan, Stewards, Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (US)
- Carolyne Stanton, Executive Director Transition US and Tom Llewellyn, Director, Sharable (US)
- Takahiko Nomura, FutureSessions, Inc (Japan)
- Dorah Lebelo Marema, Johannesburg GreenHouse Project (South Africa)
- Vanessa LeBourdais, Executive Producer&Creative Director, DreamRider Productions (Canada)
- Our colleagues from the Living Wholeness Institute in Greece, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and Post Carbon Institute based in the US have all voiced their support and interest in involvement -- but we’ve not been able to do videos with them.
NewStories video partners are on the road this week, so these are rough -- but they give an idea of the enthusiasm for a Community of Results.
NewStories and our colleagues are doing work that engages others in creating sustainable replacements for the collapsing social, environmental, political, food/resource and economic systems. Like many who responded with great ideas to this IDEO challenge, the organizations we’ve reached out to use participatory approaches in the complex intersections of peace, prosperity and planet at the local level. We call ourselves Community-Based Innovators (CBIs), and what we have in common is that—while the old is breaking up and the new is not yet here, and even though we can’t see the future – we begin anyway. This idea will help us to become, in fact, a Community of Results.
As Community Based Innovators, we don’t give up, nor do we simply cope with the collapse with band-aids and emergency responses. We work with curiosity, respect and generosity to reimagine and then co-create human lives and human settlements where we prosper as part of our lovely planet -- not apart from it.
Even as eternally optimistic innovators, we often find ourselves despairing and burning out because belief in what we do is not enough. We actually need to know that our work has results. Not only because our funders are asking us to prove that what we do has impact, but because in order to go on, we need to see that we are making a difference. We must see the difference we are making and courageously, honestly and rigorously check to make sure that we are having the difference that we hope for.
We must continually improve our practices, amplifying what’s working and letting go of what’s not. We need a clearer focus on results. It is time to form a Community of Results.