Four Must-Reads for Innovation and Insight



As the official summer season draws to a close and the Institute at the Golden Gate moves into its next phase of programming, the team at the Institute is reading a number of great sources for inspiration and insight. Here are some recommended titles from a few of our team members across the bay:

Chris Spence, Director, Institute at the Golden Gate

What he’s reading: The 20% Doctrine, by Ryan Tate

Why he likes it: “The book looks at how organizations encourage innovation and great ideas. It’s named after Google's “20 percent time” that allows employees to spend time on projects and ideas they’ve dreamed up themselves. The aim is to provide the time and space for people to exercise their creativity, think outside the box, and connect with their passions in designing new ideas, products, and services. In Google’s case, the 20 percent doctrine led to some of their most successful products, including Gmail and AdSense. Other successful organizations across a range of sectors have also practiced similar approaches to encourage creativity among their workforce.”

How it helps him do his job: “The Institute at the Golden Gate has its own track record of thinking outside the box and developing innovative, practical ideas on topical issues. Creativity and a spirit of innovation have helped our small team make an impact on the policy issues we’re working on, such as our recent success in promoting healthier, more sustainable food in America’s national parks. Reading about how other organizations have deliberately fostered and cultivated this type of innovation is a reminder of how precious this type of approach is to any organization, whether large or small.”

Stephanie Duncan, Program Manager, Institute at the Golden Gate

What she’s reading: Dispatches from the Future of Museums

Why she likes it: “This off-beat weekly digest pulls from a wide range of sources at the intersection of education, philanthropy, and media. My favorites share new ways to create dialogue. For example, I learned about Ed Zed Omega and MoMA Unadulterated from Dispatches. Ed Zed Omega is a fictional first-person narrative experience that’s creating conversation online about the use and future of public education, and MoMA Unadulterated is a curation experiment in which a tour of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art is led by children. They’re examples of 'collaborative interpretation'—a new twist on the traditional interpretation model when an expert or institution transmits content to the audience.”

How it helps her do her job: “The articles in Dispatches help me think about new ways to reach people and communicate ideas. As a program manager, I’m always thinking about how to bring people together over an issue to affect change. How do you balance the need to communicate and educate while providing space for collaboration? Dispatches introduces me to projects around the country that are solving this problem in creative ways.”

Andrew Leider, Program Manager, Institute at the Golden Gate

What he’s reading: Climate Progress blog

Why he likes it: “Climate Progress is a daily blog in the Think Progress family of blogs, which provides detailed information and insight on climate change, energy issues, and environmental politics. I skim all the articles, and fully digest the ones relevant to the Institute’s work on climate change and public lands.”

How it helps him do his job: “It helps me maintain a strong overview and understanding of the environmental issues and professional landscape that the Institute operates within.”

Melissa Tsang, Program Manager, Institute at the Golden Gate

What she’s reading: Obama Foodorama blog

Why she likes it: “This blog is the best public digital archive of all activities under the Obama Administration on food and nutrition initiatives, including reporting and photographs from the White House. There are articles on policy analysis, recent events and speeches, recipes from First Lady Michelle Obama, and other sample healthy food menus. It’s a fun, easy way to learn about what’s happening in the budding healthy food movement across the nation.”

How it helps her do her job: “It provides helpful, up-to-date information on policy initiatives and continued efforts to make healthy and local food options available to the public. It provides information on the expanding Let’s Move campaign, and it also helps me keep an eye on the bigger picture topics surrounding the healthy and sustainable food movement nationally, including new public-private partnerships, policy changes, and healthy food announcements among various sectors.”

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