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Reading List

The biology of business: Homo administrans

An interesting article on the science of management

The Zombie Workplace Survival Guide

Just in time for Halloween, the Harvard Business Review blog offers tips for combating the four contagions that create a zombie workplace — “where creative people and good ideas disturbingly molder.”

Exploring and Defining Influence: A New Study

These survey results show that influence (particularly online) has less to do with the size of your audience and more to do with the value of the content you are providing

Creating a Customer-Centric Business

Professor Ranjay Gulati of Harvard Business School discusses how organizations can become more customer (or audience)-centric and why this is a critical time for them to do so.

How the Magazine Industry Can Save Itself

This is an interesting piece from FastCompany about the challenges of content providers, which I think has important implications for arts organizations.

To Get Paid What You’re Worth, Know Your Disruptive Skills

An interesting thought on what you’re selling (and therefore emphasizing) to your organization. Are you trumpeting the right things?

What Can Baseball Tell the Nonprofit World About Measures and Measurement?

A fresh look at empirically driven outcome measures; from the “moneyball” guys. What do you think of the lessons they take away from the example?

What’s an organization for?

With many folks talking about the need for new business models to make arts organizations more sustainable, The Artful Manager’s Andrew Taylor takes the discussion a bit further.

Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice

A workbook designed to help organizations assess and strengthen their governance practices.

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

Steven Johnson is an amazing thinker and this book raises intriguing questions for how cultural programming might be designed in the future.

Why Bosses Ought to Be More Interested in What is True Than What is New

With the ever-increasing temptation to focus on what’s new, it’s important to remember that most of our challenges (and their solutions) are not so new.

Mapping Business Models

This post introduces an interesting, knowledge-game approach to understanding and developing an organization’s strategic direction. It includes a mapping tool and suggestions for how to create a team session which can be focused in any number of ways.

If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more

A post on the choice facing so many arts and cultural organizations today- whether to change to continue to be relevant.

Will the recession mean theatre takes fewer risks?

As an arts leader, how do you balance financial and creative risks?

Diane Ragsdale on Surviving the Cultural Change (Version 4.0)

This transcript is of Diane Ragsdale’s keynote “Surviving the Cultural Change (Version 4.0)” at the Arts Alliance Illinois Members’ Meeting on June 21, 2010. In this speech she challenges arts organizations to adapt to the cultural changes that have been taking place.

How Can You Attract New Audiences Without Alienating Your Base?

Nina Simon discusses difficult decision making with visitor experiences on her blog Museum 2.0.

A Social Competitiveness Index

A global discussion to define and track the things that make a society capable of social innovation.

How to Translate Training into Results

A brief but interesting note regarding justifying the expense – and evaluating the effectiveness of – leadership development programs.

Agnes Gund: Taking the Arts Seriously

The piece reminds one that the construct of “the arts” marginalizes artistic and creative activity. It makes the end product the focus of attention, rather than the role artistic activity is playing in society, the process of creating and participating in art, and the affect on people engaged through the work.

How to Save the News

An article on the future of journalism.

Your Brain on Computers – Attached to Technology and Paying a Price

Another brief read (I wouldn’t ask you to concentrate at length) on the false economy of multitasking – including the price paid even when offline…and interpersonally.

The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse

In this article Clara Miller, President and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, identifies nonprofit best practices and assumptions which have amplified the impact of the economic downturn on many organizatio

The New Work of the Nonprofit Board

This article describes how to leverage the collective knowledge and networks of your board of directors so they are able to provide your organization with the strategic direction and support it needs.

How Hospitality Companies are Using Social Media for Real Results

An interesting look at how a few smart organizations have integrated social media into their work.

Nonprofits, Innovation, and Performance Measurement: Separating Fact from Fiction

A recent study from Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies on constraints on innovation in the NP sector (incl. arts specifically).

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering, 2009

This brief highlights trends in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities, as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, two vital resources to the nonprofit sector.

Happiness Around the World: The paradox of happy peasants and miserable millionaires

A friend in the banking world recently gave me this book, and as we consider why the arts are so essential to healthy societies it makes for interesting reading.

Nonprofit Reserves Workgroup

A great resource for board members and staff members to test knowledge and learn more about operating (sometimes called cash) reserves.

Our Business Model is Outdated and Harming Us

A thought provoking article on business structure.

A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing

Assessing its impact as well as its volume will help organizations take better advantage of ‘buzz.’

Motivated Multitasking: How the Brain Keeps Tabs on Two Tasks at Once

For those convinced they are adept multi-taskers, a slim line of defense against the prevailing wisdom that it can’t be done.

How Cultural Groups Can Use Social-Media

This podcast features Nina K. Simon, author of The Participatory Museum, and Rob Stein, Chief Information Officer at the Indianapolis Museum of Art discussing how cultural organizations can use social media and social-media-type interactions (such as building a community of interest) to build more robust experiences and relationships.

Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and psychologist Gary Klein debate the power and perils of intuition. An interesting analysis of the role of intuition in decision-making.

Monitor: The net generation, unplugged

An interesting article challenging the oft-received wisdom that millenials/gen y need to learn in a fundamentally different manner than their predecessors: “…there may be ‘as much variation within the digital native generation as between the generations.’ ”

Engineering Design – The Kano Diagram

This is a quick video outlining the relationship between customer satisfaction and product design.

Why Businesses Don’t Experiment

A great column that talks about the common organizational bias toward answers rather than questions… even though asking the right questions will ultimately lead to the best answers.

The Case for Behavioral Strategy

A really interesting interactive feature from McKinsey Quarterly on the cognitive biases that most impact decision-making in organizations

Start With Why, Simon Sinek

I recently heard Simon speak at a Dance NYC conference, and his book is as good a review of the importance of mission (although that’s not what it is about) as any I have ever read. You can watch him on TEDx and get a taste of his thinking.

Mission Unaccomplished

A paper on the role of education in defining the purpose of the arts in society.

Design Thinking for Social Innovation | Stanford Social Innovation Review

An article on the use of design thinking for tackling systemic social problems.

The Cost of Information Sharing in Philanthropy

What is the “right” way for not-for-profit professionals to balance their commitment to achieving a vision and their need to care for themselves, their employees, and their families?

The Outside-In Approach to Customer Service — HBS Working Knowledge

An interesting Q&A in which Harvard Business School Professor Ranjay Gulati describes how companies can evolve through four levels to become more customer-centric.

Making Emotional Case for Change: Interview with Chip Heath

An interview with Chip Heath on bringing about change in your organization by appealing to more than just logic.