June 4, 2024

#10 - The One Thing We Cannot Do is Nothing

Although I am advocating for independent innovation outside of the political ecosystem, I appreciate and welcome Ottawa’s role as a partner and necessary agent. We will require some changes to the Income Tax Act and possibly other legislation on our evolution to a more effective social-purpose sector. We need to partner with Ottawa, but we also need to stop depending on Ottawa. - That has not worked.

Frankly, we need Ottawa because we need to systemize the changes we seek. Sector solutions are not happening voluntarily. The charity gap is growing, and our social problems linger (decade after decade). Our current ecosystem is not collaborating well, not resolving the problems, it lacks focused strategic leadership, shows little innovation, and is simply not re-engineering itself. It lacks the mechanisms and incentives to do so (as discussed in Blog # 3). Our charity sector is risk adverse. But the biggest risk we face is not doing anything about it.

With millions of Canadians in need, the deteriorating environment, our declining animal kingdom, those racialized, and for the tens of thousands of charities struggling under our growing charity gap, we must see the proverbial glass as half empty. We need to be self-critical and honest about our need to change, and how to change. No more inertia and the status quo. Moving forward starts with realizing we have to change, and with some urgency.

Much research has been done about the challenges, shortcomings, and needs of the charity sector (by Susan Phillips, Yves Savoie, and a Senate Committee exploring such issues). We know the WHAT. But this has proven to be insufficient. We now need to focus on the HOW. - How are we going to achieve change?

I know other smart leaders agree....

From Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company:

→ “You can’t allow tradition to get in the way of innovation. There’s a need to respect the past, but it’s a mistake to revere your past.”

→ “The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo”

From Ginni Rometty, Past CEO, IBM:

→ “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else.”

→ “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”    

From Brene Brown, American professor, author, and podcast host:

→ “There is no innovation and creativity without failure.  Period.”

From Gary P. Hamel, an American management consultant:

→ “A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.”

To make new policy changes politically easier in Ottawa, with little perceived risk by elected officials, it would be ideal to achieve a consensus among a solid representation of charity sector associations, foundations, and charities, around some strategic good ideas. If we can work to arrive at a common agreement on a few realistic ‘asks’, and present them as “good politics”, then I believe we should be able to achieve some progress.  And if we can support these 'asks' with public polling to show that the majority of taxpayers/voters also support us, then policymakers can have confidence in moving ahead.

Let’s commit to innovation. Let’s be prepared to get uncomfortable.  Let’s be prepared for some failure.   Let’s have some urgency.  People in need are depending on us, daily.

And if nothing else, please get out of the way of those who are willing to challenge the status quo for the better.   

Next step?   Let’s organize some brainstorming or “design labs”.  - Who is keen to join an initiative to focus on the HOW? GIV3 is willing to commit money and time to do so, but I am not smart enough on my own.  I welcome contributions from others.  Please and thank you. Upwards and onwards.  

Sincerely, with thanks,

John Hallward,

President, GIV3

Would you like future posts?

Subscribe and we will send you our next blog posts & initiatives!

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp

Keep reading

Signup to
our newsletter

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp