Collective Impact: Equity, Community and Network Thinking

In a session called “How to Advance Equity through Collective Impact,” Sheri Brady of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions facilitated presentation and conversation among panelists Joanna Scott from the Race Matters Institute, Richard Crews from Thriving Together, and Juan Sebastian Arias from Living Cities. The point of departure was that, in order to truly solve complex social issues, structural inequality along race, class, gender and culture lines needs to be addressed head-on. Furthermore, the emphasis was put on the importance of leading with equity, and not simply diversity and inclusion. Here are a few quotes that I gleaned in the course of the conversation.


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How the Self-Esteem Myth Has Damaged Society and Us

Clay Routledge: What made you interested in researching and writing a book focused on the self?

Will Storr: My previous book, The Unpersuadable, was an investigation into how intelligent people come to believe crazy things. It focused on the ways we become intellectually stuck. I concluded that we don’t really choose the things we believe—at least not those things that are core to our worldview. What we believe is just part of the accident of who we are. In an important way, our core beliefs and our self are indivisible.


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Power in Networks

They say the golden rule in Real Estate is: Location, Location, Location. Might this rule also hold in social networks? In real estate, location is determined by geography – your physical location. In social networks, location is determined by your connections and the connections of those around you – your virtual location.

Two social network measures, Betweenness and Closeness, are particularly revealing of a node’s advantageous or constrained location in a network. The values of both metrics are dependent upon the pattern of connections that a node is embedded in. Betweenness measures the control a node has over what flows in the network – how often is this node on the path between other nodes? Closeness measures how easily a node can access what is available via the network – how quickly can this node reach all others in the network? A combination where a node has easy access to others, while controlling the access of other nodes in the network, reveals high informal power.


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Networks of Knowledge: How to Find Them, and Utilize Them

Science is not a solitary pursuit. The more complex and distributed knowledge becomes, the more we need others to help us make sense of it. The greater the volume of information, the more we need others to point us toward what to pay attention to. Medical research is exploding – both humans and machines are processing health and disease data looking for patterns that will reveal new ways to heal. Medical knowledge is no longer found just in the usual places amongst the usual suspects. Key findings and productive collaborations are emerging from many institutions, in many cities, and in many countries. The United States is no longer the only location of cutting edge research and its translation into medical practice.


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Networks and Wirearchy

No one doubts that better management of data, information, and knowledge within
the firm will lead to improved innovation and competitive advantage. Everyone agrees on the goal – better utilization of internal and external knowledge. It is the approach to this goal that is hotly debated. Many vendors and consultants push a technology-driven approach. “Buy our state-of-art knowledge storage system and you will never again lose the knowledge that is vital to the company!” they exclaim. Others emphasize the soft side of the new way to work. “Create a network culture that rewards sharing, learning, and adaptability,” they postulate. Culture comes first, and only then the technology to support it!


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Age against the machine: the secret to enjoying a long life

The conclusion Honoré came to, after three years of research and an examination of the way older people are treated around the world, was that it was in many ways a golden age for “the old” (a term he would never use): there were more of them, they were healthier, more active and many were better off than in previous generations. They could no longer be ignored or marginalized. But, in his view, that is just a beginning. “It can be so much better,” he says, “if we move a lot of goalposts and change the way everything from healthcare to politics to the business world to education is organized.” He argues that the idea of being educated between the ages of five and 21, working for 40 years and then retiring on a pension at 60 is completely out of date, imagining a much more fluid way of life where we dip in and out of education and the job market and never formally “retire”.


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Bullying alters brain structure, raises risk of mental health problems

One study revealed that childhood bullying has effects on health, and it can lead to significant costs for individuals, their families, and society at large. New research now suggests that bullying may cause physical changes in the brain and increase the chance of mental illness. The study now appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Erin Burke Quinlan, of King’s College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted this study. They analyzed questionnaires and brain scans of more than 600 young people from different countries in Europe.


Read also: Several related links

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Artificial sweeteners make ‘no difference’ to health

Non-sugar sweeteners have been at the center of a fierce debate for decades. Do they benefit health or increase risks? A recent study fans the flames once more, claiming that there is little evidence of benefits or harms.


Read also: several related links

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Evolution and the Human Mind: Modularity, Language and Meta-Cognition

This book is the end result of an interdisciplinary project organized by the University of Sheffield. They selected a distinguished group of scientists and philosophers and brought them together for a series of workshops and a final conference. The intention was to kindle some interdisciplinary fire among these disparate scholars. Unfortunately, interdisciplinary efforts such as this suffer from a terrible law of diminishing returns: the value of the end result is inversely proportional to the number of scholars multiplied by the heterogeneity of their disciplines. In other words, you can get good results by getting together a lot of scholars from closely similar backgrounds, or just a few scholars from disparate backgrounds, but otherwise, you’re doomed to failure. There is no evidence in the chapters that anybody paid much attention to anybody else in the workshops. The book has thirteen chapters presenting thirteen independent and unconnected approaches to the problems of the evolution of human cognition.


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Just one sleepless night can tell your body to start storing fat

Sleep is one of those physiological necessities that continues to puzzle researchers. But a new study illuminates how missing one single night of sleep can initiate a series of physiological changes, and not necessarily for the better. If you have ever pulled an all-nighter you know how awful you feel afterwards. A new study that included researchers from the University of Uppsala shows that there is good reason for this. Just one sleepless night triggers a number of changes in the body. Their findings agree with a series of studies over the past few years revealing that sleep does not only save energy, but is incredibly important for how the body works in general.


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