The lesson that took 30 years to uncover
In my thirty years of working on social issues at a local, national and international level, I have had the privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the very best leaders from the private, public, and NGO sectors. During that time, I have shown this picture to over 500 people because the key message hits home for each and every person:
When we look at the large brick path, we think about all the ‘answers’ we have designed to pressing problems — education, health care, transit, water, and housing to name a few. Yet too often the organization, the program, or the money became the core focus. Very rarely did we put the person we were trying to serve squarely in the center. In almost every case, the brick road solution didn’t deliver the desired results and often the work was difficult to scale or sustain.
I want to be clear. There are powerful and beautiful examples of high impact work taking place in all corners of the planet. But at the end of the day, we aren’t experiencing as much progress as one would expect from the level of resources being applied to the problems. Moreover, we don’t see progress happening for all.
When you get leaders to a quiet and safe place, they will often admit a few things:
- the complexity of the problem has gotten bigger than their ‘tool box
- the progress being made isn’t enough — nor is it possible to scale
- they don’t know how to create the ‘new’ while running the ‘now’
- they feel stuck and alone
Civilla got put into the world to tackle these challenges. We are here to design solutions that begin and end with those we are serving. We are here to create a space of oxygen for leaders. We are here to offer the capacity of an R&D team for the social and civic sectors. And we are here to build a network of change makers who, together, can find a new way forward. We hope you’ll join us.