Back in 2007 when we created the
first plan for the nascent stages of Creating the Future, one of the goals of
that plan was this:
- Use demonstration projects to prove
that visionary change is both possible and practical.
During the term of that plan, we
kept an eye out for demonstration projects that could provide evidence of the
results that happen when work is rooted in The Pollyanna Principles.
The more we sought such projects, though, the more it became clear that
most logical first demonstration project would be the development of Creating
the Future itself.
As we build both the infrastructure
and the programs at Creating the Future, the Demonstration Project will
therefore have us asking:
If every bit of our work is done in
alignment with The Pollyanna Principles, what would that look like? If
we are to walk the talk of our values, and those values include trusting the
wisdom of those affected by all our decisions, what would it look like if
everyone affected by our work added their wisdom to what we were building?
The answer is rooted in transparent
engagement - modeling what it looks like to be as open and inclusive as
possible in all the decisions that most people make behind closed
How do we ensure our vision and
values are infused into every action and decision, large and small, this new
organization will make?
If one of the prerequisites to
attaining our vision of a healthy, vibrant, humane community is that people are
more connected (assuming that organizations are simply groups of people),
and if one of the prerequisites to great connections is trust,
and if one of the pre-requisites to trust is openness and
...then what would that openness and
authenticity look like in action? If our organization were being open and
authentic in its work, what would that mean we would do? How would it
That led to even more questions.
What does it mean to build open,
transparent, engaged governance?
To recruit transparently?
To make "branding" decisions
To build bylaws by engaging the
wisdom of others?
To do all aspects of fundraising and
business development openly, for all to see?
To make choices and operate by
To develop partnerships and form
collaborations in full view of the world?
Over the next several years, we will
be exploring all our organizational options, decisions and actions openly, on
the blog and in social media and wherever else
makes sense to do so.
Being our own demonstration project
infuses every action we take, no matter how seemingly internal or
non-mission with the knowledge that those actions indeed have
consequences for our mission and our vision. In reality, that is already true
for each and every organization in each and every community. We are just vowing
to consciously and mindfully remind ourselves that to be as effective as
possible in creating healthy, vibrant, humane, cooperative communities, we need
to do our work in ways that would make it perfectly fine if everyone in the
whole world were watching. Because they are.
The bottom line for any
demonstration project is that it serve as a learning tool - a case study for
others. What we are learning already is that when the subject of the case study
is "operating transparently," we all learn together about both the transparent
approach to a decision as well as learning about the content of that decision!
As a result, in the first year of
this transparency effort, the project has served as an open learning
environment about fundraising, branding, board development and program
We will continue to share all we are
learning from this effort, as it appears this will be less a "project" and more
an "ongoing way of being" here at Creating the Future. And if that helps model
for others how they, too, can aim every bit of their work at the difference
they want to make in the world, it will be well worth the