Friday, January 27, 2012

Service-Learning: SEE-PIE SWOT Focus …

This blog explores using the Triple Bottom Line Impacts for examining Service-Learning Projects.  This was discussed in the previous blog A Better Way ... Triple Bottom Line Impacts.  Projects are examined using Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) impacts.

Drawing on the Funnel Triple Bottom Line Service-Learning Projects diagram gives a way to evaluate for Social, Environmental & Economic impacts as illustrated in the matrix rubrics.
This also gives a way to assess the priority of the Impact of interest.  Should the focus be on Social, Economic, Environmental or a balance of alternate Impacts?  Thinking through these priorities in the Design Concept stage should minimize later conflicts of SEE emphasis.

Service-Learning 1
Service-Learning 2

After writing this blog, I discovered that GCS Service-Learning was also using a similiar triad to represent Triple Bottom Line as People-Planet-Profit (PPP).  Where ever I have used Social-Environmential-Economic (SEE) then PPP is equilivant, see diagrams.

Using this and SWOT discussed below should guide in the critical analysis of design path options.  Keeping in mind the balance of SEE during the design funnel path development gives strength to the creation of Goals, Solutions, Products, Services, Processes or Experiences using PIE frameworks.  The January 23  Project Based Learning (PBL) ….. PIE blog discusses PIE frameworks as a Project Based Learning platform.

The Wikipedi article “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis” gives an additional way to evaluate SEE. “ SWOT analysis (alternately SLOT analysis) is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses/Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.

Setting the objective should be done after the SWOT analysis has been performed. This would allow achievable goals or objectives to be set for the organization.

·         Strengths: characteristics of the business, or project team that give it an advantage over others

·         Weaknesses (or Limitations): are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others

·         Opportunities: external chances to improve performance (e.g. make greater profits) in the environment

·         Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs.

First, the decision makers have to determine whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is NOT attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.”

Since SWOT is used in industry, this type of thinking should be beneficial in connecting students to the future economy.
Time spent in up-front SEE-PIE SWOT analysis should give a more robust approach to the Service-Learning Project. 

Post script:
In the October 25, 2012 Piedmont Triad Livable Communities Summit presentation by Bethany Wilcoxon – The Tomorrow Plan slide 7 shows the SEE with Environmental as "natural and built" see image.  This is an interesting way to think about it, with a focus on Human created Environmental issues.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Project Based Learning (PBL) ….. PIE

This blog explores Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) framework as a Project Based Learning (PBL) platform.
This video gives a nice introduction to PBL vs traditional learning styles.  Learn NC has a page on Project Based Learning.
The concepts of Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) frameworks stresses teams as implemented in industry to create new products, services, processes, solutions or experiences.

It focuses on a six hat team as illustrated in the graphic as:
-          Business Hat (Entrepreneur)
-          Customer Hat (Marketplace)
-          Technologist Hat (Production/Service)
-          Engineer Hat (Design & Development)
-          Scientist Hat (Research)
-          Logistics Hat (Global Supply Chain)

In the blogA Better Way .... Triple Bottom Line Impacts” presents the concept of design funnel starting out with wide degrees of freedom and moving from outward thinking to critical thinking to inward thinking to create products, solutions, services with the Triple Bottom Line focus.  This concept should also apply students in their PBL projects.  

Should the focus be on Social, Economic, Environmental or a balance of alternate Impacts? Thinking through these priorities in the Design Concept stage should minimize later conflicts of SEE emphasis. 
This graphic is a 3-D way of viewing Technologies to Product and the continuous improvement associated with creating and refining products. 

In the left it shows a variety of “Y” technologies as input which were culled from the wide design funnel area.  These are then processed in the “X” process into a specific “Z” product.  Note that using the same “Y” inputs and a different “X” process results in a variation “Z” product.  The design funnel shown above can be overlaid on the Technology to Product Example; starting with a wide range of options and then refining them by critical thinking into a viable product.    

Repurposing continued ...Earth Stone Products Blog illustrates the Technology to Product with Earth Stone Processes and Products.  It is interesting that Earth Stone is a Triple Bottom Line company, in that they recycle Granite Counter Tops and also improve the quality of life with attractive products that enhance the livability of homes.
The right diagram focuses on the concept of iteration by building on the previous versions.  An example is the development of computer user interfaces that have evolved over the past decades.  When I started interacting with computers we used switches and then keyboard to type in commands followed by the earliest crude windows point and click to where we are today with touch and speak interfaces.  Each generation raised the level from crude to slick approaches of interacting with computers and communications devices.
When I was working with Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) the program managers had a very effective way of using a five viewgraphs for communicating their project goals & objectives, approach & progress, schedule & budget.  The overview Viewgraph (VG) was a four frame graphic as shown in the diagram; they had backup viewgraphs which expanded on the contents of each of the frames.
The program managers who were responsible for several multi-million dollar projects would come to meetings with a briefcase full of 5 VG sets.  I was impressed with how effective their approach was that when I was teaching at NCA&T in the 90s, I used this approach for students to document their final class project.  I propose these be used in PIE PBL projects.
Another method of managing projects is the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as shown in the graphic.  It identifies the various tasks/costs/schedules and functional organizations associated with the project. A WBS was Required for the NCA&T end course project mentioned above.  The graphic below was extracted from the Work breakdown structure article in Wikipedia.  
It is hoped this blog will be helpful to students and PBL coaches as PIE frameworks is implemented in the Service-Learning project of Guilford County Schools. 

After writing this blog, I discovered that GCS Service-Learning was also using a similiar triad to represent Triple Bottom Line as People-Planet-Profit (PPP). Where ever I have used Social-Environmential-Economic (SEE) then PPP is equilivant, see diagrams.
Feedback is welcomed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Big is Your Spiritual Fish?

When I was preparing my Sunday School Lesson plan somewhere around the turn of the century, there emerged in my mind a visual of two arcs; the Human Domain as a downward cupped arc and the Spiritual Domain as an upward cupped arc.  The graphic illustrates this concept.  

What struck me was that where the Human and Spiritual Domains overlap there is a Fish outline.  Reflecting upon this, the concept of a Spiritual Fish evolved. There is an ebb and flow of the size of this fish; large when we have a close relationship with God and small when we have a distant relationship with God. The question is “How big is your Spiritual Fish?”

Around 2001 I shared this diagram with my 11 year old grandson, Travis Camp.  While we were walking over a sandy loam field on the family farm in South Carolina, I sketched the fish outline where two arcs overlapped and described to him the concept of a spiritual fish.  He grabbed the drawing stick and started running sketching a large fish which was probably about 10-15 feet in length.  He said “Grandpa that is your spiritual fish!”  I was blown away by his response, which I have treasured every since. 

These are some ways I have found useful to express the concept of Spiritual Fish:

·         As a farewell - “Have a Big Spiritual Fish week!”

·         Welcoming – “I hope you have had a Big Spiritual Fish Week!”

·         When inquiring about a person’s spiritual situation - “How Big is your Spiritual Fish?”

·          After attending a memorial service - “They must have been a Big Spiritual Fish person!”
The size of a fish can be expressed as a mathematical function as alpha = function (prayer, worship, love, service ....). 

I am greatly appreciative of two items which I have received related to the Spiritual Fish.  The picture shows a fish made from nails which I carry on my key chain and fish shaped candies.  These were given to me by special friends.

During my visit to the Ukraine in 2004 I discovered a fish symbol over the door of a Kiev homeless children’s ministry center (see graphic).
These are a few of the approximately 20,000 homeless street children that were receiving the love and care of the UCCC Ministry Center for Kiev Street Children.  It was rewarding to experience the work of dedicated Christians caring for the children.  Our team from Greensboro, NC were one of many teams that were volunteering on the Village of Hope project to build a facility that will enable these children to have a home environment and get an education.  The facility was a restoration of an old Communist Youth training Camp on a beautiful 17 acre tract of stately pines.   CBF of North Carolina has information on this project on their website.

While on the Ukraine trip I had the opportunity to share the Spiritual Fish with several people.  It is a metaphor that gives a new dimension to the experience of Spiritual Faith.

In October 2004 a presentation “SIN à HEAVEN” in the Christian tradition was shared with the Southeast Baptist Youth. This is available as a Power Point Presentation and as a PDF document with 6 slides per page. It discusses SIN-ACTS, How Big is your Fish, and SINàHEAVEN. The graphic shows the concept of a spiritual fish, spiritual destinations and the critical decision point. 

A previous blog SIN vs ACTS discusses the Selfish Insensitive Nature (SIN) as related to the spiritual perspective as well the business perspective.   If we exclude or ignore the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking it seems this is the Selfish Insensitive Nature dominating. However, if we include the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking then Service will dominate.

Later the youth gave a demonstration which is included in the power point presentation as a post script.  They used two facing chairs and a board to demonstrate the crossing over from unsaved to saved condition.

It is hoped this new way of thinking outside the box will be beneficial to the reader. Feedback is welcomed.

May you have many Big Spiritual Fish experiences!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Better Way .... Triple Bottom Line Impacts

This blog attempts to shift the paradigm of thinking from a single bottom line to triple bottom lines. 
Too many businesses focus on making money at the expense of other areas of importance. The graphic here attempts to show a more balanced view of bottom line impacts and associated metrics. Rather than focus on the almighty dollar, a balanced focus is advocated which include Economic, Social and Environmental. 

This concept was primarily triggered by an article in December 2011 Forbes.  The front cover focused on Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund. The section of Impact 30 has been compiled into a Mindjet interactive format and word document with information on the 30 funds.  These are available at these links:
IMPACT 30 (1-15) Mindjet Player PDF
IMPACT 30 (16-30) Mindjet Player PDF
(Note the Mindjet Interactive Player uses Adobe PDF Reader which may not be available on some browsers or smart phones, therefore a word document export from Mindjet in PDF format is provided for access to the links to the IMPACT 30 related companies.)

After writing this blog, I discovered that GCS Service-Learning was also using a similiar triad to represent Triple Bottom Line as People-Planet-Profit (PPP). Where ever I have used Social-Environmential-Economic (SEE) then PPP is equilivant, see diagrams.
An interesting presentation at TEDxPhilly by Jay Coen Gilbert on the bcorporation website (IMPACT 8) discusses the Shareholder vs Stakeholder viewpoints as shown in graphic at left. Anyone interested in the concepts of this should view the video.

In the Forbes issue the Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter 2012 Roundtable on Impact Investing  the  panel provides interesting take on their experiences on theme of Triple Bottom Line impact investing. Below are selected extracts from this panel discussion.
 Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund: My biggest concern is that the proposition for impact investing ends up being more about the potential financial returns on capital than about why the capital is being invested in the first place.  The risk is that the focus is more on financial return as an end in itself rather than as a tool and a means to solve big intractable social problems. Right now the debate is often framed by the financial return an organization can make rather than by the goals of that organization and the best capital structures to realize those goals. I think the debate would be more effective if we framed it around the latter.”

Update 4/7/13: Jacqueline Novogratz has an excellent book on their work "The Blue Sweater", I highly recommend it. Acumen Video. 

Iftekhar Enayetullah of Waste Concern: I find that the perspectives funders have on these issues really vary. There is a fundamental difference between dealing with donors and dealing with investors. When we are dealing with UNDP [the United Nations Development Programme] or UNICEF [the United Nations Children’s Fund], they look first at the development impact of the project. When we sit down and negotiate with them, before they look into the financials they first want to look into the development impact, such as whether the project is fulfilling the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Once it is clear that the project meets the development goal, then they look into the financing issues. But their entry point is development impact.  When we discuss the same proposal with investors, they will first want to dive into the numbers and the business plan. They want to understand how long the payback is, whether my assumptions are right, and what risk mitigation plans we have looked into for the project. If the project involves carbon credits, they will want to know what our plans are if the Kyoto Protocol falls apart. It’s only after looking at these financial issues that they want to look at the project’s social and environmental benefits.  So there is a basic difference in the way each type of funder approaches these investments, and we have to take a different approach when we discuss the same project with different investors.”

Asad Mahmood of Deutsche Bank: “What distinguishes social finance from regular finance is two additional risks. One is the risk of failing to innovate— failing to push the envelope to meet the needs of the client and integrating the social impact into the business. It can’t be an afterthought—“We’ll make money and then contribute some of it to improve people’s welfare or set up a foundation”; that is not, in my mind, a social business. By labeling that a social business, we create a risk to the fundamentals of how this industry needs to develop. If our focus becomes making money and giving it away afterward, then we are not achieving the potential. The social and financial aspects have to be intertwined, like DNA.  If we don’t focus on the customer and if we don’t innovate to meet and service the needs of the customer, then we will create a bigger risk in the sector because the expectations of the sector are far different than a normal business. It’s important to distinguish these risks from normal business risks. They are far more exaggerated for social enterprises because we have positioned this sector as being beneficial to the poor and beneficial to society. To me, one of the greatest risks in the sector is that it pumps up all its potentiality and then fails to focus on the customer, thereby creating no loyalty to the business and none of the social outcomes that were promised. How do we define the social finance industry? How do we avoid making it so commercial that the customer and the social service become secondary? That to me is a primary risk." 

These three panelists give clarification to the Triple Bottom Line concept and hopefully emphasize in the reader’s mind the importance of the balanced concept depicted in the diagram above.

A regional approach to sustainability is an objective of the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Project. In their Overview PDF document the “What is a Sustainable Region?” visual a Venn diagram identifies the Triple Bottom Lines as  Social, Environmential and Economic Equity.  It identifies a Sustainable Region as "An urban, suburban or rural community that has more housing and transporation choices, is closer to jobs, shops and schools, is more energy independent and helps protect clean air and water."
The Southeast Guilford Community Alliances, a local community in the Piedmont Triad Region  focuses on enhancing the Quality of Life, strengthening community both now and for future generations, encouraging growth and financial support of community and businesses. They work independently and collaboratively toward that end. Both the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Project and the Southeast Guilford Community Alliances are examples where regional and local communities align themselves to create a healthy paradigm for their citizens.

The August 2010 blog "Design Funnel ... Fish-Hook-Fry Metaphors ...." discusses an approach which starts with a wide funnel with many options and narrows to Goals, Solutions, Products or Services.  When the design process focuses on a balanced Tripple Bottom Line the typical emphasis on almighty dollar is enhanced to include the social and environmental aspects.

 The graphic "another way of visualizing" extracted from The Center for Creativity Economy gives an alternate concept of the design funnel showing breadth versus time.

In the November 2011 blog  I-STEAM PIE Engine connects future economy to jobs …  I-STEAMSS was introduced which reflects Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Social Studies. I now promote the I-STEAMSS concept, in fact this blog brings strength to the Social aspect.

Hopefully this blog will give the reader a new set of eyes of “New Ways of Thinking Inside and Outside the Box” and enable a more comprehensive understanding of how a balanced Triple Bottom Line is “A Better Way” toward a healthy paradigm.  Feedback is welcomed.
“lhb: Quality comes from Ownership with Integrity and appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm”