Resource of the Week: NY Times’ Fixes Column

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At seToolbelt, we are all about solutions to problems. That’s why we provide budding and established social entrepreneurs alike with the tools, skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed.

That’s also why we are so excited about this week’s resource:

The New York Times’ Fixes Column

Each week, this column explores solutions to major social problems by examining and showcasing creative initiatives that can tell us about the difference between success and failure. Written by David Bornstein, author of “How to Change the World,” and founder of dowser.org, and Tina Rosenberg, contributing writer for The New York Times magazine and author of “Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World.”, this online resource aims to highlight approaches that are working, and engage readers in critical discussions related to the world’s most pressing problems, and their “fixes”.

What we love about Fixes is that its authors don’t get hung up on definitions or jargon–they simply focus on highlighting strategies that work. Whether they come from the public or private sectors, from government offices or social enterprises, Fixes wants to get the word out about approaches that have the potential to take on big challenges in the hope that those approaches might grow, spread, and influence large-scale systemic change.

A few weeks ago, Fixes focused on using prizes and challenges as a catalyst for innovation. This article reviews the Obama Administration’s efforts to boost innovation in government programs by engaging the creativity, ideas, and already proven approaches of non-government contestants. From the Air Force to the Department of Health and Human Services, this is truly an example of “not-business-as-usual“.

Before that, Fixes‘ Tina Rosenburg looked the work of the Posse Foundation, and its innovative approach for getting disadvantaged kids into and graduated from some of the best colleges in the US. By using the “posse” approach (in which kids are paired with 10 students from the same city and apply and are accepted to colleges as a unit), the Posse Foundation is seeing remarkable outcomes: ninety percent of Posse Scholars graduate, half of them on the dean’s list and a quarter with academic honors! While most of these students wouldn’t have been accepted on their own, both high schools and participating colleges are seeing the benefits of supporting student “posses”.

Another great thing about Fixes is that the authors themselves respond to reader comments on the column. If you have ideas about solutions that should be included in the column, or opinions about the strategies they’ve highlighted already, drop them a line at fixes (at) nytimes.com and get involved in the conversation!

 

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay leads seToolbelt.org, a free open content resource hub that helps social entrepreneurs plan, start, manage, and grow successful social enterprises. She has worked as a consultant to social enterprises and nonprofits in the US and abroad, served as the Programming Lead for the Skoll World Forum, and studied as a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford's Said Business School. She lives in Hood River, Oregon.

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