Inspire to Change Newsletter | March 23, 2020

#newsletter Mar 23, 2020








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Navigating Together: Ask a Doctor about COVID-19

#webinar Mar 20, 2020

At Inspire to Change, we’ve been working to adjust our practices to novel coronavirus / COVID-19. We’re developing ways of conducting everything from small meetings to large facilitations remotely. But we realized that what we miss - what everyone misses - is connection to one another. So we’ve lauched the Navigating Together series. Navigating Together will be a weekly vlog, Wednesdays from 12 - 2 pm, hosted by Inspire to Change. Each week we’ll talk about how we support our clients, our communities, and ourselves during a pandemic. Participants can ask questions and exchange ideas. 


If you missed the live vlog, you can see the recording here

The first webinar, Ask a Doctor about COVID-19, featured Julie Graves, MD, MPH, PHD. Dr. Julie Graves is a family medicine and public health doctor. She is the former Regional Medical Director for the Texas Department of State Health Services in the Houston and South Texas area, where she guided...

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Developing evidence-based principles: Helping Youth Overcome Homelessness by Nora F. Murphy Johnson

#howto #principles Feb 21, 2020

Developing evidence-based principles is an emerging approach that is in contrast to the more traditional method of developing evidence-based best practices. Evidence-based practices and evidence-based principles make different assumptions. Best practice models assume that there is a best way to do things, regardless of context. Effective principles provide guidance for effective action in the face of complexity (Patton, 2010). They assume that while elements of the work are shared, there will necessarily be adaptations across settings and contexts.

People ask me, "How do you develop effective and evidence-based guiding principles?" There are many starting places, ending places, and paths in between. Here is one example.


The Setting

The Otto Bremer Foundation's Youth Homelessness Initiative was a commitment by the Otto Bremer Foundation to fund six agencies (three emergency shelters, two youth opportunity drop-in centers, and one street outreach organization) in support of...

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A Valentine's Day Gift for You!

Uncategorized Feb 14, 2020

Dear friends:

It's valentine's day here in the states. If you don't know, it's a day to make sure you tell your loved ones how much you care. So if I haven't told you lately, I love you.

I couldn't send everyone I love chocolate or flowers, so I did the next best thing. I started working on the Inspire to Change resource page!

I know, I know. I am a hopeless romantic.

Check it out. Bookmark it. Come back weekly for new goodies. Share it with your networks. Spread the love. Tell us what works and what's missing.

I also collect ideas, images, and art on Pinterest and Instagram.

If you follow us, be sure to send a note so we can follow you back.


Happy Valentine's Day!


Nora Murphy Johnson

President & CEO

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Navigating Uncertainty: Theory + Practice = Praxis by Wendy Morris

Last month I was in London at Roffey Park Institute, a research-based center for leadership and organizational development, as part of the facilitation team for the 54th cohort of the Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) certification program. In these increasingly unpredictable and complex times, when the chaos can feel bigger than we can handle, it helps to have a solid praxis – an integrated base of theory and practice – that enables us to more effectively adapt and innovate. Rooted in chaos and complexity theory, HSD offers models to recognize patterns in the midst of the mess, and methods to act and shift systems that we can’t predict or control.


Our HSD Institute team convened in the UK with 31 participants from 18 countries for the foundation week of a four-month program of face-to-face and online learning. Through this program we support those in the work of making change, resolving conflict, or helping groups and individuals thrive in uncertainty.



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Inspire to Change’s 6 Favorite Event Venues: SouthEastern USA Edition

Recently, a new client asked us for a list of suggested event venues for an upcoming convening. Their criteria included BIPOC-owned, reasonably priced, retreat-like feel, grounded in place and/or history, and environmentally friendly.


This brought up a larger question for us: what does it mean to host and be hosted? When we plan events (from internal team meetings to multi-day international conferences) we think about how space becomes a container for possibility. Content matters, but so does the ability to feel comfortable and relaxed, to meet in small groups and large, to connect with nature, the arts, and community, sustainable practices, and support for like-minded businesses and organizations. While this sounds like a tall order, it’s really an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is - to leverage our collective economic power towards our guiding principles. 


Since this particular client also asked for a warm-weather venue, this post will focus...

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What is Creative Engagement? By Sandra Agustin

How do people interact with a curious spirit of play? How do people learn and stay open to multiple perspectives? How do we remember?

These are questions I've posed ever since being a solo professional dancer and choreographer. I knew creative play and movement had immense potential to get people out of their usual habits and to breathe deeper, and I had a theory that engaging mind AND body would help us remember better and perhaps longer. 

Trained in the Alwin Nikolais aesthetic of modern dance, a major theme was improvisation, taking ideas from the audience to inform the dances, on the spot. I appreciated these exercises so much more than just performing as it left people seemingly more engaged, remembering what happened and more likely to have enjoyed the experience of this thing called 'dance'. Performing for other people over time seemed less and less interesting or impactful. 

All of my produced events would from then on incorporate folks engaging with movement,...

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Inspire to Change: What's On Our Mind? Part 1


With December 6's global youth climate strike in mind, we started our new video series, "Inspire to Change: What's on our mind?" with a short video of our social media manager, Abbey Ogg, talking about why she cares about environmental justice. Abbey is a freshman at St. Paul Central High School who participated in the strike and loved it! She is excited to further her social justice work with our new series. 

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Coaching for Change By Wendy Morris

#change #coaching #wmorris Dec 02, 2019


I recently returned from the launch in Los Angeles of National Arts Strategies’ inaugural leadership coaching cohort. Over the next 12 months, I’ll be learning alongside 20 seasoned arts and culture leaders who are committed to co-creating a community of practice that supports change at individual, organizational and systemic levels. Our learning approach involves taking a deep dive into the core coaching competencies as defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. In October 2019, ICF announced an updated model of 8 core coaching competencies based on a 24-month analysis of coaching practice with input from 1300 coaches across the world. 

As coaches, we partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process designed to inspire and...

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Inspire to Change: How we think about data and data use By A. Rafael Johnson

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2019

The conventional way of looking at data is very effective at keeping the complex and messy lives of people as far from power as possible. It says that the highly educated and wealthy define the problems, solutions, and measures of success. Everything that falls outside of these pre-definitions is unreliable, un-measurable, unverifiable, or untrustworthy. That way keeps wealth in the hands of philanthropy and industry, decisions in the mouths of policymakers, and knowledge in the academy. That way maintains the status quo.


But what if we don’t maintain the status quo? What if we challenge these ideas about data? What if, instead of using our methods to create and use reliable datasets so people can trust in our analyses and make data-driven decisions, what if we start with trust and see what happens? What if we start by trusting the people in the communities we work with, and then create the conditions that lets them trust us? What if they're the ones making decisions...

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