Defining the Jargon: What is divergent thinking, and why should nonprofits practice it?

In the nonprofit world, where resources are often shared, limited, and sometimes even restrictive, one phrase is common in boardrooms and project meetings: let’s get creative. However, creativity sometimes seems to be a gift that some people have, and others don’t. The phrase “let’s get creative” never really answers how to get creative and practice it for what it is: a valuable skill in every workplace.  At NNSI, many of … Read more

What’s a network?


If you google network, the first result that comes up is a 1976 satire directed by Sidney Lumet. If you dig down the page further, you’ll get to computer networks, how shy people can network, and telecommunication network services. We use the word “network” a lot. It’s in our name. But, none of these results describe what we mean. Instead, when we talk about networks, we think about collaborations among … Read more

“Wicked” problems: What are they, and why are they of interest to NNSI researchers?

blackboard with light bulb

by: Katherine Cooper Not too long ago, I sat in on a meeting of local leaders as they wrestled with an education initiative that they were trying to implement in the community. Although the group’s goal sounded simple enough – introducing literacy programming into existing school and community projects – the conversation soon became complicated. There is a clear link between improving literacy and improving educational outcomes, but what else … Read more