Nonprofit collaboration in the cloud

The Brief
This post comes from the RelSci 5, our weekly newsletter for and about nonprofit leaders. Its curated articles and insights revolve around a different theme each week and will help you do your job better. This week’s theme is Across the aisle

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1. Cross-sector lessons. Nonprofits, whether new or established, are a lot like for-profit startups: full of passionate, bright people with a lot of creative ideas who are looking to make a difference. In fact, NPOs could stand to learn a thing or two about flexibility, branding and the marketplace of skills from fledgling companies. Foosball table not required.

 2. To a T. When building your team, take a page from Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford and look for “T-shaped” staffers. These are people who have deep knowledge in their own field and a broad curiosity about its application in terms of the organization as a whole. Think “big-picture type” meets “subject matter expert.” Enough of these, says Harford, and you’ll “get a force multiplier in terms of innovation.” 

 3. The Google way. The folks over at Google Ventures have devised an ingenious if, er, complex system for eliminating the noise, tension and inefficiency of groupthink during meetings. Get your notebooks—you’ll want to take this down.

4. Cloudy days ahead. More and more companies are moving to cloud-based computing, which has changed the way coworkers interact. Face-to-face collaboration, long the bedrock of coworker relationships, is fading away. For those who prize a human touch, is this necessarily a bad thing?

 5. Speaking of the cloud. The Pew Research Center has released the results of a new study, which found that social media users are much less likely to talk about controversial issues in person than non-social media users. So, if you’re looking to host a public forum anytime soon and you want a real discussion, invite those two people you know who aren’t on Facebook yet.


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