Vibrant Communities: Reinventing an Economic Development Organization

This past winter, M&B principal and Northeast Economic Development Association (NEDA) board president, Abby Straus, appeared in the annual journal of the Kettering Foundation, Connections 2018: Experiments in Organizational Innovation. In…

Complex Adaptive Systems & the Myth of Control

This post, originally from January 2013, highlights one of the key frameworks in the M&B toolbox.  We use the features of complex adaptive systems to create tools, methods, and frameworks that allow us to be more agile and realize greater…

"Cozby Library Reaching New Levels of Success"

M&B recently wrapped up worked on the COZBY LIBRARY AND COMMUNITY COMMONS, STRATEGIC PLAN 2017-2020 in Coppell, Texas. Check out this article, from the local Coppell Gazette, highlighting the new energy and excitement around the library!   Cozby…

Carnegie 2.0: Re-inventing Communities

Just when some pundits were announcing the demise of the public library, and politicians are trying to defund them, libraries are undergoing a major revival as centers of community re-invention. You can call it Carnegie 2.0. It is 88 years…

"Join in" Instead of "Buy in"

In our work in economic development and complex project management, we often encounter failed projects and programs, that came to grief due to community opposition to the proposals, and which we are sometimes asked to  resuscitate. One of…

Missing: A Good Model of the System

Two hugely influential leaders in economic affairs, on opposite sides of the planet seem to be lacking a good model of the system to help us navigate more successfully to a brighter fiscal future. Nobel prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman,…

Good Governance and Democracy: Diverging

Democracy of the people, by the people, for the people seems to be failing us. Politicians elected to make decisions on our behalf seem to listen more to their political supporters than the experts. Climate change is a perfect example…

Turning Risks into Products and Services

Anyone looking for ideas for new products and services need look no further than the World Economic Forum, Global Risks Report. Each year a group of experts get together and work out which risks are the most threatening to our existence. Once…

Fair & Reasonable

As a visitor to the USA, I have often been puzzled at how US businesses both large and small are unable to see the folly of paying wages that are insufficient for people to support themselves and their families. Some Americans have to work…

Beyond Lean: Optimal ways to Eliminate Waste

What was originally known as the Toyota Production System (TPS) has evolved into a management philosophy and set of production practices that focuses on the use of resources to create value that a customer is willing to pay for. As Toyota…

Interaction & Intervention Innovation (i2)

Meet Interaction & Intervention Innovation (i2), a new type of process improvement, which has joined the ranks of proven innovation methods like product, service, business process and business model innovation. This one helps people experience…

Deliberate Team Formation

Organizations around the world will spend $US3,300 per hire (Forbes, 2013) on recruiting yet spend just a few hundred dollars, a small fraction, on the equally important task of setting up their teams for success. Mostly the on-boarding process…

Democracy in Unusual Spaces

As the facilitators of community meetings that require the use of technology many of the rooms are too big, too small, too constrained or just plain weird. The venues are often a challenge. Maverick & Boutique use the Zing collaborative…

New Partners in Economic Development

There's a revolution underway in economic development across the USA. Inching its way out is the traditional real estate-focused approach to economic development and some of the $80 billion in tax breaks (NY Times, December 1, 2012) and other…

Viva la Difference! How diversity makes us smarter

It can be challenging to interact with people whose perspectives and opinions differ from ours, but there are many benefits, including making us smarter. In this Washington Post entry, Gregory Rodriguez explains why this is so.   …

Everything is a Major Project

Once upon a time, we thought of major projects as space exploration, new warships, armored vehicles or fighter planes, and infrastructure investments in roads, electricity and telecommunications. Now we must add to that list just about everything…

The Big Bang of Social Innovation

What does it take to be a leader or entrepreneur in the social innovation field? To find  the secret to such success, 200+ people came together at the bigBang! event in Cleveland, Ohio on October 28. The event was hosted by Cleveland Social…

Managing Complex Projects in Uncertain Times

The task is to harness the collective brainpower of the military and their suppliers on three continents to work out how to better manage complex projects in a more uncertain, ambigious and rapidly changing world and to publish the recommendations…

Good Morning StarShine!

It's a brand new day at the three StarShine Academies in Phoenix, Arizona and CEO Trish McCarty and Principal Jan Shoop are a long way from home. Back in Arizona, the children are all learning, the teachers are teaching and the sun is shining…

Goodbye "Cowboy Culture"

In the backwater we call local government, in what we used to call the 3Rs - "roads, rates and rubbish", change is happening, but not the kind of change we like. All across America, for example, local governments are struggling to pay the bills,…

The Dawning of the Wisdom Age

What if the explosion in the economic activity and knowledge work we regard as the Knowledge Age (1980-2010) was almost over and a new economic imperative was suddenly upon us? The Wisdom Age (2010-)? The weak signals from the future…

A New/Old Kind of Connectedness

So much of what we do as organization leaders is the old command and control model. Decide the strategy and cascade the plan to every level. Some staff, customers and suppliers buy into such plans, but many do not. But what if it was possible…