Getting Beyond Incrementalism

June 30, 2020SICI News, Blog

As part of the Social Innovation + Change Initiative, I am frequently asked how I can tell if a social impact effort is “truly innovative” (interestingly, far fewer people ask the same question about “true social change”). My response, though perhaps disappointing for some, is that most of the ideas we study and support at … Read More

New Beginnings

May 31, 2020SICI News, Blog

For those who work in higher education, it is almost impossible to be on campus in May without thinking about graduation. Soon the people we’ve come to know, learn from, and care for will move on to other places and roles. While no one was sure how the virtual version would go this year, in … Read More

Charting a Sustainable Future

April 30, 2020SICI News, Blog

Earlier this month, April 22nd, marked 50 years since the very first Earth Day, a day when 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — mobilized to raise awareness about mankind’s ongoing environmental destruction and called for a new direction with respect to global environmental policy. For many of us, … Read More

COVID-19 Update From SICI

March 31, 2020SICI News, Blog

I am sitting in front of my living room window as I write, looking onto our neighborhood in Cambridge, astounded by the change that has transpired on Harvard’s campus, and in our world, in six weeks time. It is my deepest hope that, as a part of our cherished community, you are reading this in … Read More

Proximate Work Is Effective Work

February 28, 2020SICI News, Blog

This week I had the profound privilege of sitting with Ms. Tarana Burke, the original originator of the #metoo movement, as part of a day-long series celebrating her accomplishments and contributions as well as her receipt of the Center for Public Leadership’s Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award at Harvard Kennedy School. [If you have 6 minutes … Read More

Navigating Through Complex Problems

January 31, 2020SICI News, Blog

While the start of the academic calendar for most students begins in late summer, the start of the year for Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) begins in January. For those who don’t know yet, ALI is worth checking out. It is a University level, year-long, third stage, higher education program designed to organize and train … Read More

Committing Fully

December 31, 2019SICI News, Blog

In San Antonio, on the day before his death, President John F. Kennedy described in detail a boyhood story by Irish author Frank O’Connor. Adventuring through the countryside, O’Connor and his friends established a practice of tossing their caps over high walls—walls oftentimes higher than ones they had scaled in the past. They knew they … Read More

Small Acts of Change

November 30, 2019SICI News, Blog

In his 1984 paper, “Small Wins: Redefining the Scale of Social Problems,” organizational theorist Karl Weick observed that social problems are often so complex and grand in scope and scale that simply thinking about them can overwhelm and paralyze even the most dedicated social changemakers. His proposed strategy for handling this psychological obstacle is to … Read More

Codifying SICI’s 3P Pedagogy

October 31, 2019SICI News, Blog

Three years into the Social Innovation + Change Initiative and, like the early-stage social innovators we support, our team has grown, our activities have found a certain rhythm, and we are seeing signs of positive impact. A new, more focused institutional phase is emerging now and we are currently undertaking a project to codify our … Read More

Who Is a Social Innovator?

September 30, 2019SICI News, Blog

Hello from the Social Innovation and Change Initiative (SICI) offices at Harvard Kennedy School! This note marks the first of what I expect will be monthly roundups about our work and our growing community. Our hope is that these recaps encourage you to stay in touch with us and connect with each other. For those … Read More