Making Connections


A lot of people get confused about UnSectored. The concept is pretty lofty: social change should be the responsibility of all individuals, organizations and sectors. Nice idea, but hard to conjure up specific things an organization that has this as fundamental belief would do. Reasonably, people group that fundamental unsectored (little “u”, little “s”) belief with similar concepts–social enterprise, collective impact, cross-sector collaboration, etc.

And UnSectored is all those things. The unsectored concept has room for all methods and strategies for making the world a better place. But we aren’t about any one specific thing.

As blogger Laura Tomasko discussed in a post last fall, UnSectored is a platform “for people with very different viewpoints to learn about one another’s perspectives.” UnSectored is a meeting place for all those people interested in working for a more sustainable and just future, together with others who may not necessarily agree with their own ideas or perspectives on the world.

Nadine Riopel (better known as Philanthusiast or the Savy Do Gooder) commented on Laura’s post to describe an event she went to that had a similar aim as UnSectored:

We brought together a group of people to workshop the “how” and the “why” of what they were each doing, and to give each other feedback. The goal was for each person to go away with new perspectives on their work, and some new connections, in the interests of doing it better…

We were very explicit about not wanting to create any new initiatives or projects for anyone as a result of the event – there was no common end. We feel that everyone is already engaged in enough activity, so what’s needed is support for that work, not creation of more.

I agree with Nadine: There is already enough activity happening around social change. It is almost never a good idea to start your own organization to tackle a problem unless you have a very specific niche market and a very innovative solution to solving your own problem. Chances are, if you want to offer up a solution to a problem, there’s already someone out there doing it and doing it better than you ever could.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Just because there’s a lot of activity doesn’t mean there’s enough work being done. The fact that our world is plagued with problems shows more needs to be done. The work just needs to be coordinated. It needs to be connected. Someone out there does probably have a better idea or process for solving a problem than you do. But they need help. You just need to find them.

This is what UnSectored–and similar platforms like the event Nadine attended–are doing: Making connections. UnSectored focuses on the infrastructure of personal connections that needs to be created to develop and nurture more effective social change. We make those connections through sharing ideas and hosting conversations on the blog and our Talks, but the infrastructure really gets built when we aren’t around. That happens in the time before and after our events. In the workplace and after-hours discussions of a blogger’s post. In the introductions one UnSectored community member makes to another. This is where we are shifting people’s perceptions on what social change should be, and what it needs to be.

I hope you will join us as a member of this community. Signing up for our posts and our events may seem like a small thing, but you are entering yourself into a long process of building the infrastructure between individuals, organizations and sectors to develop a more effective system for creating change.

Or, if you just want to check out what were about in a low-key, no-connections-required way, join us for our next UnSectored Talk on January 29th.

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About the Author

Jeff Raderstrong

Jeff Raderstrong

Jeff Raderstrong is the Founder and Principal of UnSectored. He has run successful, long-term online campaigns in the social innovation space, such as developing and executing the social media strategy for Leap of Reason, a book on nonprofit outcomes management … Continue reading

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