ScrabbleWhat’s in a name? This famous phrase from William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, speaks to an important truth. Since I started in the social sector almost three decades ago, I have noticed that we have a funny habit of throwing around important words, such as collaboration, impact and sustainability, without a common understanding of their meanings or how to apply them effectively. For us to work toward our collective vision as a sector, we must share a common language, using common definitions of the words that describe our methods and frameworks.

And, speaking of names, I intentionally named my company Social Impact Architects to combine the scientific precision of architectural design with the artistic creativity that brings these spaces to life. Like architecture, social design is highly purposeful. In the social sector, this requires us to not only have clarity around the meaning of these commonly used words, but also to have a shared understanding of what it takes to build intelligent, sustainable social design.

To this end, we recently worked with one of our favorite partners, aha! Process Inc., a Ruby Payne Company, on a webinar called “What’s in a Name? Cracking the Code on Buzzwords in the Social Sector.” Their mission is to enable individuals, institutions and communities to stabilize and grow resources for all, particularly those in poverty. aha! Process is an award-winning training and publishing company providing workshops, publications and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools and higher education. You may know it best for Bridges Out of PovertyGetting Ahead, and our new favorite, Emotional Poverty. They excel at sharing mental models and a common language that encapsulate this work.

In this free webinar, we decoded social sector buzzwords, including sustainability, impact, innovation and collaboration, among others. We encourage you to watch it, review how and why these terms matter with your board and staff, and integrate the technical definitions into your storytelling and impact efforts. As an added bonus, we share some strategies behind them that your organization can leverage for its social design.

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As you kick off the summer, we hope this high-level presentation on social sector buzzwords will help you focus efforts and accelerate the speed of social change in your organizations and communities. As always, if you found this helpful, feel free to share it with a friend. And if you have words we missed, send them along for a future blog post or webinar.


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