Visualizing Racism: Five ways to powerfully visualize systemic racism in the United States

From geographical boundaries to powerful fine arts representations, here are just some of the ways that artists, journalists, and data scientists use visualization to communicate the truth about systemic racism in our country. GKI assembled the visualizations below as inspiration and a venue for learning. We highlight 5 powerful ways: 1. Systems Mapping 2. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 3.  Fine Arts 4. Graphs and Charts 5. Graphic Illustration Read the full blog here. […]

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Our Statement on Black Lives Matter

BLACK LIVES MATTER GKI is appalled by the ongoing brutal actions of the police against the African American community and people of color.  GKI supports the view that there is systemic racism in the USA. Policies, practices,  resource allocations, power dynamics, and racist mental models perpetuate inequality and the violent actions of the police.   We stand in solidarity with those on the frontlines working to combat state-sponsored violence and systemic racism. We encourage you to check out the websites of these organizations that are working tirelessly to bring about positive change and support them in any way you can: Black Lives Matter Color of Change Movement for Black Lives As an organization, GKI is committed to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. We are in the process of reviewing our policies and practices to ensure we are adhering to current best practices. Here are some resources we are using to achieve this: Equity in the Center Racial Equity Tools National Council of Nonprofits Equity Meets Design GKI is exploring opportunities to work in partnership with others to support efforts to dismantle the barriers to equality and identify leverage opportunities within the system to bring about positive change. From our work to combat poverty and marginalization in countries overseas, we understand the familiar patterns that lead to discrimination, exclusion, and poverty. Over the next couple of months, as we define actions we will take as an organization, we will reach out to organizations to form alliances to lend our support to the efforts to heal and bring about the shifts that are needed to achieve racial equality abroad and in the United States, and we will use our influence to speak up about how systemic discrimination is present and can be addressed within the impact community.    In solidarity   Global Knowledge Initiative   […]

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New Virtual Facilitation Training Dates Added!

GKI’s last series of Virtual Facilitation Trainings were a huge success! Due to popular demand, we’ve added three more in May and June. Are you trying to sharpen your virtual collaboration skills? Check out three upcoming trainings led by GKI senior advisers Jacey Spratt and Regina Rabenhorst. In this course, you will: Explore virtual facilitation best practices before, during, and after your event Discuss common challenges of virtual facilitation and techniques to overcome them Highlight the facilitator’s many roles in a virtual setting The dates are: May 28th from 3-4:30 PM ET. June 10th 9:30-11:30 AM ET June 23rd 2-4:00 PM ET   Download the  Virtual Facilitation Flyer for more dates and registration links! […]

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GKI Thinks Big: Complexity was the new normal. And then COVID-19 hit.

We are redesigning our services to better support you. Help us by filling out our poll so that we can better know your needs!   The challenges we face in the world are complex, human and dynamic.  This is more poignant today as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are seeing the interconnectedness of things and watching as our economic systems, health systems, environmental systems, and political systems interact as we try to respond effectively. We are experiencing how the actions we each take as individuals can either strengthen our resilience or make us all more vulnerable.  And we are all working to adapt as dynamics change rapidly.  COVID-19 is a global experience and one that will impact everyone on the planet, every organization, and every community. It has exposed the tensions, inequities, and deep vulnerabilities that we have yet to address as a global society. The challenges we have faced up to this point – climate change, food security, poverty, biodiversity protection – may not seem as urgent as COVID-19 does at this moment.  But these challenges increase our vulnerability in times like this.  To address them, we don’t just need new solutions and incremental changes. We need a total transformation to redesign the systems we have built: a redesign to better align our human systems with human values such as justice, compassion, care, and harmony. And we need a critical mass of individuals to lead this transformation. As activists, entrepreneurs, funders, policy-makers, front-line health workers, researchers, social workers, public servants – we lead.  Whatever sector or industry we work within – we lead.  Whether we work within our local communities or at global scale – we lead. This transformation must be driven by how we show up and the actions we each take, big and small.    Now is the time to practice new ways of leading and shaping the systems around us. To learn to:    Embrace complexity by engaging in active sense-making. Recognizing patterns – how the parts […]

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GKI is Hiring!

Are you ready to join a team committed to addressing some of the world’s most pressing development challenges? Are you eager to lead innovation and emergent practice in the social impact sector? Are you a self-starter that enjoys design, facilitation, experimentation, and learning? Do you believe in collaboration and lead with a high degree of optimism, humility, and service-orientation? If yes, you will be a good fit for our team at the Global Knowledge Initiative. Director of Insights & Analysis Director of Operations & Finance To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to jobs@gkinitiative.org with the appropriate subject line for the position you are applying to. The application deadline is November 8, 2019. Due to the high volume of applications, only shortlisted contacts will be contacted.    […]

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GKI and GAIN Jointly Publish Foresight Report on Innovation for more Nutritious, Sustainable Food Systems

Washington, DC USA: The Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), in partnership with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) recently launched a new report, Nutritious Food Foresight, which details the most effective strategies for advancing triple bottom line goals of human, economic, and environmental well-being in emerging market food systems over the next five years. This report is based on the findings of a six-month research journey that engaged more than 50 experts in the fields of food and nutrition to explore where innovation and investment can be most impactful in food systems.  This process highlighted four high potential opportunities, along with twelve specific innovations that map to these opportunity areas, that the development and social impact investment communities should focus on over the next five years. These opportunities are: Sustainable production, Proximate processing solutions, Supply chain transparency, and Adaptive cooling systems.  Together, the innovations highlighted in the report offer a comprehensive approach to investing in improved food systems. We offer insights on how these solutions can be adapted to local contexts, considerations for business models that harness these approaches, and the partnership needs that are needed to achieve impact at scale.  Read the full report here: Nutritious Food Foresight: Twelve ways to invest in good food for emerging markets Read more information about the project […]

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Congratulating Sara Farley and Welcoming Our New Staff

It’s incredible to look back at the first quarter of 2019 and reflect on the transformation taking place here at the Global Knowledge Initiative. First, GKI announces the departure of Sara Farley as Chief Operating Officer. A co-founder of GKI, Sara served as an exemplary leader of the organization for nearly a decade. Under her tenure, thousands of partners across the globe learned to transform themselves and their organizations into “Super Collaborators” — people, institutions and networks adept at uniting disparate ideas and resources to solve challenges in complex systems.  We are grateful for her courage, vision and contributions to the organization and wish her the very best as she joins The Rockefeller Foundation to continue to lead transformation in food systems. Meanwhile, we are thrilled to announce that the GKI team is growing. Sona Gandhi, formerly part of the FINCA leadership team, brings a decade of executive expertise in international non-profits to her new role as interim Chief Operating Officer. Tom Derr joins GKI and brings to the organization his experience in community-driven systems thinking and participatory action research. Prior to joining GKI, Tom served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and researcher in Uganda focused on community-based adaptation to climate change. Christine Geers joins GKI after four years at USAID as an Innovation Advisor in the Global Development Lab. In addition, she served as a Global Innovation Science and Technology Advisor at the AAAS. Both experiences contributed to her passion and experience in designing programs that empower development organizations, local communities, entrepreneurs and innovators around the world to deliver better solutions for complex challenges. Under the leadership of our new CEO, Seema Patel, GKI is growing its network of partners, co-conspirators, change agents, advisors, problem solvers and facilitators.  We are seeking to grow the community of people and organizations that want to harness the power of collaborative innovation to mobilize systems change and solve the complex challenges of our time.  Please feel free to reach out at seema@gkinitiative.org if […]

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Announcing Our New CEO: Seema Patel

Photo of Seema Patel

We are pleased to announce Seema Patel as the Global Knowledge Initiative’s new Chief Executive Officer! “Ten years into our journey since starting the Global Knowledge Initiative we needed to increase the size of our leadership team and so we sought a tested leader endowed with a clear sense of scale strategy and growth,” said Sara Farley, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of GKI. “Seema’s enthusiasm and vision are infectious!  I trust her ability and hunger to take what we’ve built to the next level and I join the entire team in warmly welcoming her.” Sam Pitroda, chairman and co-founder of GKI echoed this thought and said, “We welcome Seema to GKI and look forward to her leadership, talent, and expertise to help take GKI to new heights.” Seema started her early professional career as an investment banker, where she advised and raised financing for technology startups and large multinational companies to support their growth strategies. During this time, she discovered her passion for achieving social impact through innovation and private sector business models and transitioned into this space shortly thereafter.  She served as a Policy Advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she worked to empower citizen voices in designing solutions for economic recovery in postwar environments. After that, Seema served as an advisor to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and helped to pioneer the Agency’s open innovation efforts, which have successfully channeled more than $250 million in investments into promising social innovations around the world. Most recently, she established the Innovative Design and Advisory practice in the U.S. Global Development Lab, working to foster a culture of innovation in the Agency and empowering development professionals to integrate innovation practices in projects and initiatives across the world. Through her courage and vision, Seema has demonstrated an outstanding track record of strategic leadership, design excellence, and a passion for leading entrepreneurial teams in the social sector. “I am extremely excited to lead the team at the Global Knowledge Initiative […]

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Systems Change and Leading in the Land of Complexity

Photo of a complex road system made up of many lanes and offramps

In this three-part series GKI’s Chase Keenan shares some of the thinking that emerged from a piece of research done by Chase, Sara Farley, Renee Vuillaume, and Glen Burnett. The aim of this research was to further GKI’s understanding of how systems change, and the role that leadership can play in catalyzing that change. You can read the final output of the project here.  The financial system. The justice system. The education system. The healthcare system. The “insert system here” system. Go into any coffee shop in my neighborhood, Shaw, here in Washington, DC — or any other beacon of gentrification from the Mission District to Moscow or Johannesburg to Williamsburg — and you may overhear a hipster waxing philosophically about needing to “change the system.” But in my experience, when pressed, there’s a limited number of people who can explain what they’re referring to with the term “system.” For most, systems are simply some vague notional construct to lean on when speaking about things that are wrong with the world. That doesn’t mean those hipsters are wrong. It’s often true that those systems they’re speaking out against desperately need to change. However, if our understanding of a system only comes from our recognition that change somewhere on something is needed, how can we ever hope to actually achieve sustainable change? While countless definitions and interpretations exist, at the Global Knowledge Initiative we understand systems as a set of actors, including both individuals and institutions; interactions between those actors; and, an enabling environment that effects those actors (consisting of infrastructure, laws, cultural norms, etc.). All of these ingredients (actors, interactions, and enabling environment) are bound together in a distinct way that makes it (the system) perform specific functions and sets it apart from the rest of the world. With these four components — actors, interactions, enabling environment, and boundaries — we can analyze and understand any type of system under the sun. We also start to see that systems are all around us, manifesting in all sorts of ways, from very […]

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