I had the good fortune to attend the Clinton Global Initiative Exchange in New York last week.  In contrast to the rest of the CGI gathering, which is by invitation and membership only, the Exchange portion is more open.  It is intended as an opportunity for the NGOs, Foundations, and social entrepreneurs to meet, exchange ideas, and connect resources to needs.  It was exciting and daunting to be in a room surrounded by people who are doing such amazing things.

There were people working on clean water and climate change issues.  The Global Fund for Children, Little Star, Going to School, Global Water Challenge, and The Alliance to End Hunger, among many others, were there.  Curriki, You Tube, Flip, and TechSoup  were there.  It was energizing to be around so many good ideas at one time.  Especially encouraging was seeing the technology companies showing up asking what they could do to help.

Going to work every day should be more like that.  At Keystone Human Services, every day there are literally thousands of people going to work to make a difference in someone individual’s life, and by extension, all our lives.  One difference is that we don’t celebrate it enough, we don’t encourage its celebration enough.  

You may have discerned by now that I am going back to my innovation theme.  At CGI the air was crackling with innovative ideas.  While it would admittedly be tiring to face that every day, I know that the people I work with are no less smart and no less committed, both on the technology side and the service delivery/operations side.  Today we can begin to re-create that spirit within our own agencies.  I’m going to start by proposing our own version of CGI—pulling together in one room people with good ideas, people with resources, and people who know how to connect.  Sure, it will be on a much smaller scale, but it will still be energizing and humbling.

Other ideas, anyone?