Experimentation: Key to Happy Nonprofit Tech Adoption, and Life?

NetSquared
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"Tools come and go, but a strategy based on experimentation sustains."--Beth Kanter

Although I've known Beth Kanter for a long time, and we write for BlogHer and NetSquared together, I've never heard her present until today when she gave the keynote at the 2008 Making Media Connections Conference. The biggest takeaway I got from her talk, and a recurring theme to my conversations with organizations at the conference who are successfully adopting social web tools, is experimentation.

When asked how she stays ahead of the curve on the latest tools, and figures out how to use them effectively, Beth answered:

  • Make time to learn something new each day.
  • Decide what you want to learn.
  • Try it.
  • Figure out what you don't know.
  • Find someone who knows what you don't know.
  • Learn what they teach you.
  • Share your knowledge with someone else.
  • Repeat

The steps are simple and may seem like common sense, but how many organizations do you know that ask their staff to take the first 30 minutes of their day to learn something new, whether it has to do with technology, fundraising, program development, management or accounting?

Imagine the kinds of innovation that would emerge if the entire staff was continually and intentionally learning and experimenting?

Ultimately, isn't it a great strategy for life? To make time each day to learn and try something new?

What do you want to learn and experiment with doing?

Flickr photo credit: Test Tube Flowers by Casey Yancey.