Program for a Sustainable Environment
The best hope for a sustainable environment lies with organizations that are focused on that problem. These organizations have impact as shown in the illustration above.
These organizations also provide direction for a very large percentage of the overall resources available for sustainability. So the effectiveness of these organizations is critical to the overall sustainability effort.
Accordingly, a major leverage point for supporting to the mitigation of climate change impact is to improve the processes in those organization.
A major part of improving those processes is increasing shared understanding among stakeholders of those processes.
The Human Element of Environmental Work
Staff, members, volunteers and leaders in environment-focused organizations put their hearts into this work. They are literally trying to save the world. They can never do enough work to accomplish that. They are often continuously stressed by the magnitude of the job and the enormity of the obstacles.
They deserve to have the most effective organizational processes in which to pour their energies and commitments. They deserve to have the best possible shared understanding of the processes through which they make their contribution, enabling them to make greater contribution.
The Need for a Process-Oriented Approach
The folks that are engaged in environmental organization may not have come from commercial/industrial backgrounds where there is a large emphasis on process optimization.
And people in all organizations frequently overestimate the amount of shared understanding that exists among stakeholders, and frequently underestimate its importance.
Also, social enterprise organizations are not generally a focus market for people with process improvement methods and skills (which when effective involve increasing shared understanding). So social enterprise organizations may not have access to those methods and skills.
The reality is that social enterprise organizations can very often benefit from process methods and from increased shared understanding among stakeholders.
At the same time, those results are rarely achieved unless they are deliberately pursued.
If staff, volunteers, donors, and leaders are going to put their hearts into the work, they deserve to have the broadest shared understanding of the overall delivery of value, and to have their efforts put to the best possible use through effective processes.
The purpose of this program is to:
The purpose of this program is to:
Increase operational effectiveness at the largest possible scale for organizations focused on a sustainable environment, through:
- Process optimization, supported by
- Increased shared understanding AND scalable process methods.
The shared understanding includes:
– the physical, social, economic and political systems involved in climate change
– the events within the systems and activities within the organizations, and
– people’s interests, concerns, ideas (referred to as “evaluations”) and plans with respect to those systems and activities.
The approach to achieving this goal is to establish a mechanism for broadly distributing tools and skills for conducting online and in-person workshops using a particular methodology (described below).
The purpose of the workshops is to create both:
1) strong shared understanding among the workshop participants and
2) high quality work products that can be used to:
a) extend the understanding to other people outside the workshops
b) support action planning and implementation, for purposes ranging from fundraising to community carbon-reduction to voter mobilization.
The work products include graphic models of the systems and activities along with goals, issues, ideas and plans that people have with respect to these systems and activities.
Tool and Method
The primary tool for this approach is a software application from ActionMap Inc, called the ActionMap® Toolkit™ (or “ActionMap”, or “the Toolkit). The author, Jim Johnson, founder and CEO of ActionMap Inc. has developed and proven this software in extensive use.
The software is based on a flip chart/whiteboard-based method that is still effective without= the software. Compared to the manual versions, the software is faster and less work to “operate”, and easier to use in virtual meetings.
Examples of the work products produced by the proposed method are shown here.
Testimonials to the impact of the proposed method are provided here.
Free training in the manual method is provided at actionmap.com/freetraining.
Tool and Method Distribution
ActionMap currently has the capacity to provide scores of free subscriptions and trainings for the software, on a pro bono basis, in order to get the Program started.
High level phases of the Program
1. Proof of concept
a. Workshops conducted pro bono by Jim Johnson, principal consultant and founder, ActionMap Inc.
b. With a core group of people committed to seeing if the Program can be made to work
c. On both environmental systems and climate change organizations
First Step: Identify and conduct one such workshop. Then do a few more.
2. Initial trainings
a. Free training an additional group of other software users, to conduct further workshops, by Jim Johnson
b. Pro bono co-facilitation with Jim Johnson (unless we can get paid!)
c. Free use of an online community provided by ActionMap Inc. to support learning and knowledge sharing
3. Track impact
a. Survey workshop participants.
b. Follow up to see if action items are pursued.
c. Follow up to see if action items are being effective.
4. Ongoing Impact
a. Establish governance and processes for continuing operation
b. Solicit ongoing funding for training trainers and providing subscriptions more broadly.
Key Features of this Approach
There are several key features to this approach, including:
Scope of application: Any organization, initiatives and movements that are focused on climate change. The ActionMap method can also be applied to environmental systems.
Scale: the scale of impact in terms of numbers of people acquiring the understanding; as broadly as possible within the criteria of quality
Quality: the quality of the shared understanding among the parties involved; sufficiently detailed and integrated to motivate people to take action.
Call to Action
If you are interesting in exploring the development of this Program among climate change communities of interest, please email me or direct message or connect with me on LinkedIn to arrange a conversation.
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