Archive

For May, 2012

For nonprofits of the health safety net, the times they are a-changin’

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The times are definitely a-changin’ for the leaders and the nonprofit organizations making up the health safety net.  As moderator/facilitator for Day #2 of the 2012 Healthy Safety Net Symposium of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) which just completed on Thursday, I learned more about their commitment and challenges of delivering on this mission of quality healthcare for all. This variety of nonprofits from across the State provide quality preventive and primary healthcare to anyone regardless of income or insurance. My respect for this experienced group dedicated volunteers, board members and staff (including many health providers) grows only larger.

The first day of the 2012 HSN Symposium provided an update on federal healthcare reform which largely consisted of many experienced and educated professionals concluding that we really don’t know what the US Supreme Course will do with the Affordable Care Act of 2010. My work on the 2102 HSN Symposium focused on the second day and our planning team decided to focus on things more in our control, that is, organizational sustainability and transformation of the health safety net organizations.  I served as moderator and facilitator for three panels of experts, practitioners and stakeholders who engaged the audience of about 250 for the entire day.

I started the day with some context on the topic of organizational sustainability. What it takes to sustain any nonprofit organization has been heavily examined, written about and discussed with some areas of consensus emerging. Though there is no one methodology coming forward, there is clear consensus that it all starts with leadership at both the executive and board level. A good example of a model for nonprofit sustainability comes from The TCC Group , a nationally recognized nonprofit consulting firm. The TCC Group has done extensive research on organizational sustainability at nonprofit organizations and developed what they refer to at The Sustainability Formula. In its simplest form, they present their formula as this:  “Leadership + Adaptability + Program Capacity = Sustainability”.

Leaders of healthy safety net (HSN) organizations know full well the realities of sustaining and transforming their nonprofit organizations however the pace of the real-time decision-making they engage in has exponentially increased.  Along with restructuring that all U.S. nonprofits today face (For nonprofits, time to end business-as-usual ) , the leaders of these safety net organizations have the added dynamic of operating in the midst of the historic change in healthcare reform. Given the lack of clarity on many key issues, they are in need of relevant, timely information to inform their vision and planning. This was an over-arching goal of the 2012 HSN Symposium.

A tour of the Detroit Veterans Housing Program

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by Amanda Falkenbury

Dr. Richard Bush, Director of eLearning Services, and I visited the Detroit Veterans Housing Program this week.  We were invited for a tour by Volunteers of America Michigan.  This program offers two-year transitional housing for homeless veterans.  The facility houses 60 beds and is currently filled to capacity – only six months after opening its doors (November 11, 2011).  In addition to housing, the program provides veterans with counseling, employment training, and job placement assistance.  Leading the tour was Emilie Rohrback, Director of Community Engagement for Volunteers of America (Southeast Michigan).  She showed us around the common areas as well as the living quarters.  Upon visiting the living quarters, Dr. Bush, an army veteran himself, commented on the neatly made beds and the perfectly aligned shoes (heel to heel) sitting under each bed.  “It never leaves you”, he said, referencing the neatness required of military personnel. 

The facility is located on the outskirts of Detroit’s New Center area.  The program is housed in a building on East Milwaukee and offers a spectacular mural of Detroit at first view when you walk through the entrance.  When leaving the building I took one last look at the mural; it reminded me that Detroit is home – even to those who are homeless. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Detroit Veterans Housing Program, here is their website:

http://www.voami.org/Services/Veterans-Programs/The-Detroit-Veterans-Housing-Program

 

Healthy Safety Net 2012: A Blues Symposium

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Jerry Lindman, Director of the Nonprofit Management Center at LTU, along with Mike Montgomery and I are in Michigan’s beautiful capitol of Lansing attending the Healthy Safety Net 2012 Symposium.  This symposium is hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield and is a highly interactive symposium for teams from Michigan’s free clinics, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, rural health centers, and other safety net health care organizations to learn about the changing health care environment and best practices for organizational sustainability.  Jerry is on the Planning Committee and moderating Day 2 on organizational sustainability.  Mike is speaking at the event and we are here to promote LTU’s academic programs to include the Nonprofit Management and Health IT Management programs.

 

True healthcare reform calls for transformation of leadership and management

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This article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review captures the current thinking on the transformation needed in the US healthcare “system” if we are serious about improving health outcomes and bending the cost curve. It calls a broader definition of what we consider “providing healthcare” to include consideration the environment and community we live in. It goes on to identify communities in the US which are making progress on such transformation and demonstrating valuable outcomes. All this has significant implications on the leadership and management at healthcare organizations.

http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/realigning_health_with_care

Intellectual Property Law: Special Topics Course This Summer

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I am looking forward to teaching a special topics course this summer on the topic I personally find most special — intellectual property!

Here is the course description: Examination of foundations of intellectual property laws and types of intellectual property. Analysis of IP business strategies including enforcement, licensing and competitive strategy. Includes global protection and enforcement, and technology transfer in academia.

It’s not just lawyers who need to understand IP law. IP protection is a big part of a business’ strategy. We have witnessed instances where, even after a company folds, its IP remains a very valuable asset. For example, the Sharper Image trademark was purchased for $65  million even after the company itself ceased to exist. Understanding what IP is (and what it isn’t!), how it can be protected and its value to a business is a skillset valuable to all business professionals.

If you’re interested, some of the first readings (related to the background of IP law) are here and here.

 

Sir Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

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The keynote speaker at the ICAM conference was Sir Ken Robinson and quite possibly one of the best presenters I have ever heard.  He presented for two hours and had the entire audience captivated with his skillful presentatin and dry wit.  His British sense of humor was well received and presented a very powerful message about educating students on creativity, imagination, and innovation.

His presentation was focused on  his books, “The Element,” and “Out of Their Minds.” No! I don’t get commission on marketing his books:-)

The following are some of the quotes from his presentation:

“Diversity is the pulse of human achievement.”

“Life is not linear.”

“We need people who can think differently.”

“We live in a world that is culturally challenged.”

“Imagination is the root of innovation.”

“Anticipate the future: don’t predict it.”

“We are born with a capacity to be literate and creative.”

“If you’re serious about leading a culture of innovation, everyone and everyting need to be involved.”

“It’s not HOW creative you are, but how YOU are creative.”

“The role of a leader is not about control, it’s about climate control.”

Source: Sir Ken Robinson, 2012 ICAM Conference, San Diego, CA., May 2, 2012.

 

It’s worth taking a look at the following link for one of his presentations:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

 

AACSB 2012 International Conference & Annual Meeting-San Diego

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Al and I (Nadia) are currently attending the 2012 AACSB International Conference and Annual Meeting in lovely San Diego, CA.  Although the weather hasn’t been that great, the conference has.  The conference is the largest gathering of deans, associate deans, department chairs, faculty, program directors, and business school teams.  The networking opportunity at the AACSB annual meetings is absolutely wonderful.  There are members from all over the world covering all continents sharing their thoughts and experiences on something common to all: management education.

 

Inspiring Creativity in Nonprofit Management – Josh Linkner

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Today in the Executive to Executive Speakers Series for Nonprofit Leaders at Lawrence Tech University, Josh Linkner, CEO of Detroit Ventures Partners/Founder of ePrize, provided very valuable insight on how to inspire creativity at nonprofit organizations. He presented his “Disciplined Dreaming” approach in a very engaging and relevant style. Though he is used to speaking to business audiences on creativity, he tailored his innovative ideas and strategies to speak directly to core nonprofit management issues (e.g. fundraising, volunteers, social innovation).

He summarized his Disciplined Dreaming approach by reviewing  5 steps to inspire creativity in your organization:
1.Get curious: ask why, what if, and why not?
2. Encourage courage: embrace the idea that mistakes are the portals of success
3.Challenge assumptions: do not let imaginary barriers impede progress
4.Think small: embrace risk, be nimble, generate a fire-in-the-belly culture
5.Stand out: allow yourself to be different from all others

For more about Josh Linkner and his Disciplined Dreaming approach to inspire creativity in organizations see this YouTube Video: Josh Linkner

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