Friday, November 21, 2014

Using Information as part of Problem Solving Process

Since October 25th I've been posting a series of articles that use concept maps as a tool for communicating strategy for helping kids in poverty move from birth to work, while also pointing to resources available to support leaders who adopt this commitment.

In the Tutor/Mentor Institute blog you can see more articles where I've embedded concept maps and ideas on systems thinking.

Today I'd like to introduce another map, showing the process I've been developing over the past 20 years.

On the left, I show the inputs, or information I've been aggregating since I formally created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. Across the middle I show various ways I've tried to expose this information to a growing number of people. Since I've never had advertising dollars, nor support from high profile business, political or celebrity spokespersons, the number of people I've reached has been limited, but still over a million visits to my web sites alone since 1998.

On the right, I show how formal and informal learning can help people innovate new ways to draw resources to all tutor/mentor programs in a geographic region as large as Chicago, and to help leaders of these programs use these resources, and what they can learn from each other, to constantly improve the work they do to connect youth and volunteers and help kids succeed in school, and move to jobs and careers not limited by poverty.

I've been sharing ideas like this on blogs since 2005 and email newsletters since 2001. I published printed newsletters between 1993 and 2001. Everything I've done can be done much better by others who may have more talent and resources than I have.

I've been looking for leaders in business, universities, philanthropy, etc who embrace the strategies and the way I share this information, and who want to adopt my efforts and support them with their own leadership and resources into future years.

If you're interested, here's a link to social media places where you can connect with me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tutor/Mentor Web Library Aims to Support Innovation in Youth Support World

On October 25 I started a series of articles showing Concept Maps I've created. The first was a "Strategy Map" that could be adopted by any one in business, philanthropy, politics, as a unifying image that engages the entire village of people in a city in on-going efforts intended to help youth move more successfully from "birth to work" with the help of a wide range of "extra adults" beyond family and traditional educators. Then I showed a 4-part strategy that would lead to achieving this vision, if adopted by everyone who commits to the first map.

This next map shows the information available in the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library.

The library divides into four sections. 1) Research - why and where are volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs needed? What do they look like? How do they differ?; 2) What do I need to know about the "business" of building and sustaining a non profit tutor/mentor program that needs to grow from a start up to becoming a great organization, and then needs to stay great over a decade or longer? How to raise money? How to recruit and train volunteers? How to draw attention to your organization?; 3) If I'm a parent, volunteer, donor, reporter, etc., how do I find individual non-school tutor/mentor programs in Chicago? How might I find volunteer involvements in other forms of service?; and 4) Where can I find ideas about collaboration, innovation, knowledge management, visualization and mapping that I can use to stimulate innovation and constant improvement in my organization?

While the map above shows these four information categories in detail, the map at the left shows the four sections. Click this link to go to the map. At the bottom of each node, you can click into additional maps that offer greater detail on each section, or into web sites with information related to each node.

There is a lot of information in this library, just as there's a lot of information that you will need to learn to get a degree from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford or any other university. You don't need to learn it in a day. Keep coming back to it as you build your program, or you build a corporate support strategy, and look for ideas that you can use to constantly improve the impact and scale of your effort.

I've been following MOOCs, such as the Deeper Learning MOOC, for the past couple of years. I feel the structure of these offers a form of organized learning that could attract a growing number of people who need to be involved in building and sustaining a citywide, or nationwide, network of high quality non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. Such MOOCs could lead people through the various sections of my library, and of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site, so people build their own understanding of the ideas and resources that are available, and learn to apply the information in their own efforts, and to add new information to the library based on what they are doing in their own programs, and what they learn through their own efforts.

I just need to find partners in universities, business and philanthropy to organize these, as well as manpower and talent to maintain the library, the concept maps, and share them daily with others throughout the world.