experiments, instruments & measurement book

Powering Innovation and “Radical Openness”

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by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
We all recognize that innovation doesn't happen alone.  We need other people, to allow our ideas to collide, spark, and improve.  

But what does collaborative innovation mean for us?  What kind of attitude, or approach, makes for a successful collaboration?

In this presentation, part of the excellent TED Talks series, Chris Anderson challenges us to address just these questions…to engage our communities and spread ideas by harnessing the power of radical openness and crowd-accelerated innovation.

Anderson specifically discusses the power of video.  How is your congregation using video, if at all?  What kinds of responses have you gotten?

Communications Advice from Big Duck pt. 2 – Personality

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by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
If your congregation were an animal, what would it be and why?

How about a car?  Or a movie character?  Or a food?

Asking these kinds of questions can help you determine your congregation’s personality, which, as Sarah Durham explains below, is a key part of developing a communications strategy.

How would you describe the personality of your congregation?  How do you communicate that personality?

Overheard at Yachdav pt. 2

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Here let's take a look at another conversation overheard at Yachdav in which a group discusses a Havdalah model.  This model integrates young and old, new and continuing members, and takes place in members' homes.

Havdalah is a ceremony of transition, a “liminal” space.  How does your congregation engage in liminal spaces?  How does celebrating transitions impact your community?

Best Practices – Communications Advice from Big Duck

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by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations


At Yachdav, we were privileged to hear some inside tips from nonprofit communications specialist Sarah Durham, founder of Big Duck and author of Brandraising.  In their own words, Big Duck “combines nonprofit expertise, strategic thinking, and creative solutions to address your biggest communications challenges.”  Sarah's presentation offered some helpful tips and insights from their previous campaigns.  Here she is speaking on the concept of positioning – that big, differentiating idea that sets YOU apart.    

What were your take-aways from Sarah's presentation?  What is one thing your congregation will do differently?

Tweeting #Torah to the Top

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by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
Tonight marks the beginning of Shavuot, the holiday during which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai by staying up all night (or at least giving it our best shot!) and learning as a community.  It's how we reenact the feeling that the awe-struck Israelites must have had when they were first given the Torah at the foot of that humble mountain.


Tonight, the Torah will be given again…and again and again – in the form of 140-character messages sent over Twitter.  The Jewish Publication Society is challenging the Jewish community all over the world to make #Torah a “trending topic” on Twitter.  

Why tweet the Torah?  As JPS says on their blog, “Tweeting the Torah not only displays the Torah’s relevancy in modern society, but also gives followers an opportunity to take in the text in smaller chunks.”

To contribute to the effort, check out their website.  To enjoy the knowledge online, whether you have a Twitter account or not, click here to follow the stream of conversations.

How will you celebrate Shavuot?  How do you bring a feeling of revelation into your community?

Chag sameach!

The Chavurah Model – Community Synagogue of Rye

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by Shana Zionts, Coalition Educator
Now that the summer is off to a start, many congregations are doing the hard work of taking their new model grant proposals and getting them off the ground. I wanted to share the document that Laurie Landes (Education Director) and I have worked on to bring Community Synagogue of Rye‘s new model from theory to reality. Feel free to share your ideas for bringing your new model to life.
Shana Zionts is a Coalition Educator, creating and implementing new models and working with PLTs to implement professional learning in 3 congregations. 
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