Monday, November 9, 2009

Take Down This Wall!

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, it's appropriate to pause and think about the walls between services in our communities....

Much as the fall of the Berlin wall was a world changing event, the fall of barriers between services can truly change communities. The conversation is shifting however. In the past, we protected information such as the profiles of community resources--we found silos to be useful. Over the last several years, however, I see more and more willingness to collaborate and exchange data in the name of client service. Never happy with the status quo, however, what's the next frontier?

At a recent gathering of The Independent Sector, Brian Gallagher, United Way of America, "warned against getting stuck in "collaboration silos," in which similar groups never venture beyond talking to organizations that share their particular causes. [As reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.] The point is that collaboration is now of value--but the cutting edge is around collaboration across sectors.

Indeed the core design of VisionLink's Next Step, PathFinder and Tapestry--all now woven into our Community Operating System (CommunityOS), is all about integration across education, workforce, and social services. Add readiness to respond to disasters and you gain a successful, resilient community. I want to live in one of those!

Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO