A new publication from the ‘A Better Way’ network deserves our serious and critical attention. Entitled, Insights for A Better Way: improving services and building strong communities it is a thought-provoking mix of stories, ideas and case studies.
The group explains:
Communities could be so much stronger, services so much better and this collection of insights lights the way. Individually, the contributions flesh out our Better Way propositions (see below). Collectively, they develop four themes that take us a further step toward our ultimate ‘call to action’, providing rich ideas, practical experience and inspiration.
First, we’ve started to demonstrate the value of stories that move hearts as well as minds, bringing the propositions alive and giving ‘ideas friends’. Take this story by Julia Unwin, one of many that will inspire you. Second, these essays tell us what we mean by ‘shared leadership’, a concept that lies at the heart of our belief in collaboration rather than competition. Sue Tibballs invites us to be bold in taking social power and Cate Newnes-Smith calls on us to become ‘systems leaders – two of many powerful essays on this theme. Third, the rich potential of communities, people and organisations is really brought home here, with writers such as Karin Woodley advocating organisations that practice ‘radical listening’ and Sona Mahtani and Olli Batchelor, to name just a few, writing about places and institutions that give people power, voice and agency. Finally, there’s ideas and experience in this volume for putting all of the Better Way propositions into practice, avoiding lip-service, from Rich Wilson’s Good Help, David Robinson’s Warm Web, to Matt Kepple‘s Wikipedia for the social sector – just three examples out of very many thought-provoking pieces.
If you’d like to read the whole collection, it’s available here, including an introduction which gives more details about these themes and how they are brought out in the essays.
Some individual pieces can be found on our blog page, including contributions by Polly Neate, Julia Unwin, Graeme Duncan, Kathy Evans, Alicia Moore, Sona Mahtani and Colin Falconer. A number are being featured by Civil Society news: essays by Caroline Slocock, Chris Wright, Matt Kepple, Karin Woodley, Mark Johnson, Sue Tibballs, So Jung Rim and Steve Wyler.
Or if you’d like to focus on the essays that shed light on a particular Better Way proposition, you can find them here:
- Prevention is better than cure.
- Building on strengths is better than focusing on weaknesses.
- Relationships are better than transactions.
- Collaboration is better than competition.
- Mass participation is better than centralised power.
- Local is better than national.
- Principles are better than targets.
- Changing ourselves is better than demanding change from others.