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Thinking While Doing: What We’ve Been Reading, Round II

Because we read quite a few interesting articles, books, and reports while going about our work, we thought it would be nice and potentially helpful to share now and again. In the last few weeks, many members of the GKI team have spent substantial time poring over research on dynamics of successful teams, how design thinking can be used in development, and other areas that inform our capacity building programs. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Article: McNeil, D. Jr. (April 22, 2013). “Another Scourge in his sights.” The New York Times

Why we liked it: “This is an interesting profile on Dr. Donald Hopkins, a man who has led the effort to eradicate Guinea worm.  The eradication effort takes coordination on many levels and Dr. Hopkins is noted as being a great builder of networks of health workers, local stakeholders, and governments.”

– Courtney O’Brien, Program Officer

Book: Carleton, T., Cockayne, W., and Tahvanainen, A. (2013). Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation. Tekes & Lappeenranta University of Technology. Available at:

Why we liked it: “It really is super simple to use, beautifully done, and quite comprehensive.  It should be a primer for anyone asking what kind of foresight tools could offer some value for specific strategic exercises.”

– Sara Farley, Chief Operating Officer

Article: Siebdrad, F., Hoegl, M., and Ernst, H. (2009). “How to Manage Virtual Teams.” MIT Sloan Management Review. 50:4. 62-68. 

Why we liked it: “Many of the articles I read on network management and metrics are very technical. This one, however, is both robust and accessible. It also validates what we have seen throughout our work: Networks need strong organization and management, and the people who work in them need the training to do so effectively.”

– Andrew Gerard, Program Officer

Podcast: National Public Radio. (April 9, 2013). “Bitcoin Goes to the Moon.” Planet Money.

Why we liked it: “The past month has been a tumultuous one for the online currency Bitcoin—a major speculative bubble spiked and popped. This podcast does a good job of documenting the bubble before the pop, the whole topic has me thinking about idea of currency as type of network.”

– Peter Glover, International Program Intern

Article:  Miemis, V. (2010). “When Futures Thinking Meets Design Thinking.” Emergent By Design. 

Why we liked it: “A fairly brief article about how to bring futures thinking into the design thinking approach. The author makes a particularly nice point about making foresight part of the iterative design process, and thinking not just about the needs on the ground, but how those needs and preferences could or should change once a design rolls out.”

– Andrew Bergmanson, Program Associate

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