Throughout this year, Kettering has been reflecting on what we are learning about ways the work citizens do—through informal networks of associations—and the work professionals do—through more formal forms of organization—can be more effectively aligned. Answers are not obvious because historically, professionals have thought of themselves as serving public needs, not joining in public initiatives. Attempts by professionals to serve have generally put their organizations at the center of the work. And efforts to decenter the work can appear counterintuitive to professionals, who are pressed to demonstrate direct lines of impact from their initiatives and to quickly scale them up.
The 2018 issue of Connections takes up experiments in organizational innovation. The experiments are motivated by professionals who recognize citizens and their associations as assets and see that by working in concert with others, more could be achieved. Some authors describe attempts to change the protocols of existing institutions, and others describe the designs of new forms of organizations.
As David Mathews notes in an article that opens the issue, “Because Kettering’s research is done with not on others, our first priority is always to find allies.” We hope that Connections continues to extend this invitation.
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