Thursday, July 26, 2012

Philanthropy Buzzword 2012.6 - Resilience

(Photo from Free Press website)

Resilience telegraphed itself as a buzzword back in 2011. I waited until July to post it, to see if it had any legs. Back in December and January, here's what folks were saying:
Shareable ended 2011 by wishing folks a "resilient New Year" in 2012

From Triple Pundit: "Resilience is a word that captures much of what has occurred over this past year: the Arab Spring; the anger that has boiled over into first the Tea Party and then the Occupy movements; strapped municipal budgets; and coping with an onslaught of natural and man-made disasters around the world. Whether we are talking about economic resilience, political resilience or social resilience, the R word captures what many at the grassroots are facing at a volatile time."

The New America Foundation was taking bets on whether the word "resilient/resilience" would be heard in the Presidential debates  - and on January 3rd it was even the winning question in the extra credit category with 65% of the votes cast.

On Detroit and the American Dream a discussion of resilient communities
Now it's really real. First, Andrew Zolli has a good book out on it called Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, giving it real meaning and application (read it). Second, the political semantics that seemed to make resilient more palatable to climate-change bashers who can no longer stand the word "sustainable" has given the phrase steam from the political left and right. Just as "the wisdom of the crowds" grew in buzz the more it became separated from Surowiecki's careful analysis of it, so too will resilience. Third, here's an innovation website claiming resilience as the latest "innovation buzzword."

What will it mean for philanthropy? Start listening for talk of resilient organizations rather than sustainability strategies. Resilient leaders (and leadership) will be next. Yes, it's a buzzword. But with all the change taking place, and the uncertainty that comes with it, focusing on adaptability and bouncing back seems like a good idea. The word might become buzz, but the idea and capacity are the keys to evolution and survival.

1 comment:

Non-profit Websites said...

Personally, I love the word. "Resilience". It has a bounce back quality to it just saying it.