Bear hunt

We can rarely go around – or over, or under – the big, difficult things. If we could they wouldn’t be big or difficult. The only way is through.* *Hopefully with a minumum of “Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip!”

Competent

Maybe you think of yourself as competent, or maybe you don’t. Self-talk I tend to say things to myself like: I can do this. I could do that. I could do that, too, if I spent some time learning how. I understand how this works, even if I’m sketchy on the details. I’m not doing this very well in this…

Bill Gates’ onion

This is a nice illustration of a set of nested problems (a.k.a. “The Onion“) in development from Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic work. Often – most of the time? – the technical solution is only a small part of a whole system needed to bring about change. See also The Wrapper. … In the case of global health, I thought…

Lant Pritchett on reducing learning poverty: targeted interventions vs systemic change

“… when the whole system is producing weak results for nearly every child, then “inclusion” is a false premise. In this situation, it is necessary to fix the whole system and increase performance across the board in order to reduce the number of children stranded in low performance. Lant Pritchett – Tackling Education poverty with system-wide improvements Lant Pritchett is…

The next shell up

As your organisation grows you’ll discover yourself passing through awkward, vulnerable seeming inbetween stages, like when you’re… Too big to operate out of your house but too small to afford an office; Too big for everyone to be involved in everything but too small for truly specialised teams; Big enough to need a good accountant / media person / office…

Any given day

On any given day, it’s quite possible that you’ll wonder if this is the thing you should be doing. You might be bored, or aimless. You might be stressed and struggling. Something else might look easier or more attractive: more lucrative, more fun, more popular. Any and all of these feelings are quite possible on any given day – which…

No finish line (2)

“No finish line” applies to most of our work too. There will be tasks to tick off and projects that we complete, but most of the important stuff – helping people who need help, making something important available, working so that things get better rather than worse – doesn’t stop. Won’t stop. This means: That projects and milestones become more…

The Life You Can Save

Singer’s work triggered the Effective Altruism movement, and his hugely influential book is now available as a free download in multiple formats – and as an audiobook – at thelifeyoucansave.org. I’m adding it to my reading list. This interview on The Ezra Klein show is a good place to start.

No finish line (1)

Most of the important things in life don’t have finish lines. This is fairly obvious for personal things like feeding your family – or simply being family – and things like staying healthy, maintaining your house, and looking after your garden. Most of the jobs we do, the tasks we tick off as finished, are actually done in the service…

Worse than this change

Change – especially change that feels beyond our control – is often unsettling. Will things ever be this good again? When people talk about change being the only constant,* it isn’t just change in the world around us and in the culture that we’re talking about: at an individual level, change is written into our DNA. The clock is ticking.…