Friday, July 23, 2010

Six ways to convey the spirit of your work with video

In my work, I often use video making as one way to express and cultivate the spirit of an organization or program. Here are a few ways you can use video to further and deepen your own work. Increasingly, if you are not using video to illustrate and invite people into your work, you're missing a large percentage of your potential audience.

1. Ask leaders in your field to do a video interview about how their work relates to the ideas at the core of your work. Post the video on YouTube and share it with your network. People who are searching for the interviewee will also get exposed to your idea, and you'll also have an opportunity to build more of a partnership with the interviewee.

My previous post of an interview with Diana Whitney about Appreciative Inquiry and Whole Systems Healing is one example of this.

2. Videotape stories from the people most impacted by your work. Group the stories in themes that show the range of outcomes from your work. Post the videos on your website and use them to tell your organization's story.

I've had the privilege of consulting with the FATHER Project for past year and a half, supporting their planning and evaluation. This summer we videotaped several participants as they told their own stories about how the project has impacted their lives. We linked short video clips from these interviews to the logic model for the project, so a personal story illustrates each intended outcome.

And a few more tips:

3. Embed videos within email newsletters and updates, giving people another way to receive your message.
4. Invite children that are connected with your work to write their own stories and make these stories into movies. The process of making and showing these movies can be a great community builder. I'm doing that this week with East African children at high-rise buildings in my neighborhood.
5. Envision the future of your organization and community by making videos that combine images and sounds that express the vision you are working toward.
6. Get started. You don't have to be an expert in movie making. Experiment, post it online, and ask for feedback.

I'd be glad to do a free consultation with you about how you could effectively use video in your organization. More examples of videos I've made with organizations are on my website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Engaging with Institutions as Living Entities

I was grateful to receive these reflections on the spirit of institutions from Michelle Bizek. I liked them so much that I wanted to share them here:

It seems to me that the term “institution” could be synonymous with a living entity composed of living, interactive systems and that the simplest expression of this living entity is the individual and more complex expressions include groups (i.e. churches, social clubs, Boy Scouts, etc.), businesses, governments (local, state, national), nations, and finally, humanity.

Each of these living entities has a spiritual ethos and I think if we look at the simpler human system and what influences and shifts it toward a healthier expression then those principles can also be applied to the larger systems. For example, we know that personal change is more efficient when we receive permission and agreement from the subject. Of course we can intercede and practice aggressive prayer for a person, but the effecting of change, most of the time, comes more readily when the person expresses permission for your influence and agrees to work with you toward change. It is like the difference between walking around the block praying for the person in house #123 or knocking on his door, going inside, and opening dialog
with him. Once you are inside talking with him you learn what he believes, how he thinks, what he values, his habits, how he makes decisions, his history, his fears, and his dreams. Now you can pray with greater specificity and he knows you are connecting to what is relevant to him. You are engaging the spirit of the man, freeing him from the “illusions spun over” him.

Taking this to the institutional level, I think that learning these same things about the institution will reveal the spirit of the institution. Once that is identified, abberations in the dominant
characteristics and expressions reveal “ the demonic…arising within the institution” and give us the specificity for targeted prayer for change as we “recall it to its divine vocation.”

Spiritual discernment will help us differentiate between the spirit of the man, the institution, the demonic, and the holy, and the information provided by each; this is essential for efficient prayer.

- Michelle Bizek