Thursday, June 12, 2008

Experimentation: Key to Happy Nonprofit Tech Adoption, and Life?

"Tools come and go, but a strategy based on experimentation sustains."--Beth Kanter

Although I've known Beth Kanter for a long time, and we write for BlogHer and NetSquared together, I've never heard her present until today when she gave the keynote at the 2008 Making Media Connections Conference. The biggest takeaway I got from her talk, and a recurring theme to my conversations with organizations at the conference who are successfully adopting social web tools, is experimentation.

When asked how she stays ahead of the curve on the latest tools, and figures out how to use them effectively, Beth answered:

  • Make time to learn something new each day.
  • Decide what you want to learn.
  • Try it.
  • Figure out what you don't know.
  • Find someone who knows what you don't know.
  • Learn what they teach you.
  • Share your knowledge with someone else.
  • Repeat

The steps are simple and may seem like common sense, but how many organizations do you know that ask their staff to take the first 30 minutes of their day to learn something new, whether it has to do with technology, fundraising, program development, management or accounting?

Imagine the kinds of innovation that would emerge if the entire staff was continually and intentionally learning and experimenting?

Ultimately, isn't it a great strategy for life? To make time each day to learn something new?

What do you want to learn and experiment with doing?

This post was originally written for the NetSquared Blog
Flickr photo credit: Test Tube Flowers by Casey Yancey.


  1. Anonymous9:44 PM

    thanks so much for the notes and kind words - enjoyed hanging out with you!

  2. Anonymous1:28 AM

    I found a brand new (to me) tool yesterday and am already addicted. It's called the Experience Project. I think I may have sent you an invite. It's different from other social networking tools in that users meet based on shared experiences, which can be anything from working on environmental issues to loving chocolate to feeling lonely.

    BTW, I tried Twitter, but I can't figure out why it's good or how I should use it.

    Anyway, I know this is not the point of your blog post, but you mentioned learning new things, and I am definitely trying. Still need to check out some of the other tools you mentioned the other day.


  3. Hi Beth T,,

    I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of social networks I'm on so I didn't join the Experienece Project. I'll be interested to hear if you think it's worth my joining after you've used it for awhile.

    Beth Kanter has a post with a bunch of ideas about :how to use Twitter


If you are having trouble commenting, please let me know.