Spinning innovation faster

Blog

April 04, 2017

Spinning innovation faster

By Tom Dente

President and CEO

I was in London at the Bond Conference last month where InsideNGO, along with its partners, LINGOs, Mango and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, and with the generous support of many members, launched the new FMD Pro certification standard.  This new certification is designed to enhance the financial management capacity across our sector to better enable more value for money, especially in this time of funding changes and pressures.  Essential to this offering is the ability to enhance and improve the financial skills of non-financial professionals and experts around the world.  The strong involvement of members in shaping FMD Pro has resulted in a standard of practice that reflects the real-world needs that our organizations address each day globally.  

As an InsideNGO community, we know that the sharing and spreading of knowledge leads to greater innovation. But more and more, it is the sharing of ideas beyond organizations that matters. In one of the sessions at Bond, a speaker referenced the article, Learning at the Speed of Work, in which the author, Liz Wiseman, discusses the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment in which we increasingly work. Wiseman writes, “in such an environment, cycles are spinning so fast that many managers never face the same problem twice. As work cycles spin faster, learning cycles must spin faster too.”

As this faster environment becomes the norm, while a single manager may never face the same problem twice, it is more likely that across a diverse, linked, and sharing community someone else has. Having a common language and approach, such as FMD Pro (or its inspiration, PMD Pro), together with specific communities to share practices, facilitates the exchange of problems, ideas, and solutions. As a result, the likelihood of even more innovative practices increases.

This innovation matters beyond ensuring good financial, compliance, or project management practices. As we look ahead, the need for ongoing innovation in the NGO “business model” will accelerate. Across the InsideNGO community, there has been much good work underway to continue to enhance and evolve organizational models to better deliver results. But in this VUCA environment, we will likely need to do more to ensure overall innovation ‘spins faster.’  

Across our membership there are new talent strategies, new financial innovations, new compliance practices, and new uses of technology, which like most innovations arise under necessity and constraints. These practices are then shared across like-minded practitioners in expert roundtables and sessions, including our upcoming annual conference. While we recognize this innovation yearly with our Excellence Awards, we know that it occurs every day in the organizations you work in.

We also know, as an InsideNGO community, that this excellence in operational capabilities is essential in the innovation of NGO organizational and business models. Creating together new operations standards and practices, whose capabilities then better enable and sustain NGO innovation, is our role to spin the NGO innovation cycle faster.  

Thank you for your generosity in supporting these many efforts in ways both small and large. Together, our innovation in operational capabilities will help shape, adapt, and sustain our organizations for the future. 

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