What types of problems can Optimistic Anthropology help you solve?  Glad you asked!  We've honed our approach over years of work with organizations and collaborations based in all sectors and working on a wide range of issues - in fact working in a wide-range of issue areas, geographies, and organizations is what we love to do!  Here are a couple of examples.


How might we democratize access to leadership development curriculum?

We helped a federal government agency figure out, "how might we democratize access to our leadership development curriculum?" The result: an online course that in beta testing attracted 250 participants and achieved the highest completion rate of a free course offered on the technology platform used by Comcast, Stanford, IDEO, and Wharton. Watch the course promo video.

Photo: Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC


How Might we shape our region's economic future?

We worked with a 100-year old business-led civic organization seeking to understand, "how might we shape our region's economic future?" The result: a strategy that built the capacity and connection between the region's leaders in business, nonprofits, and government through annual leadership exchanges where they deepened knowledge of their own region and learned from their peers in other regions. We then directed the energy and momentum of that network into incubating a regional scenario planning process and strategic plan.

Photo: Okavango Delta, Botswana


how might we support our grantees to build stronger cross-sector collaborations?

We worked with a funder which wanted to figure out, "how might we support our grantees to build stronger cross-sector collaborations?" The result: original research on structures and behaviors of high-impact cross-sector partnerships, case studies, blog posts, in-person workshops, an online assessment tool, and incorporation into the funder's and grantees' strategies. This body of work has also spread and been adopted in cross-sector collaborations beyond those the funder supported through workshops and trainings hosted by Federal, state, and local governments, nonprofits, and philanthropy. Read What Barriers? Insights from Solving Problems through Cross-Sector Partnerships.

Photo: Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Germany


how do we publicly share what we're learning to accelerate the pace of social change?

We worked with a philanthropic organization inquiring, "how do we publicly share what we're learning through our investments to accelerate the pace of social change?" The result: five years later, the knowledge sharing strategy we developed and incubated has become a core part of the organization's work, is recognized and has been adopted by others in philanthropy, and has become embedded in the organization's strategy and hiring practices. Read 6 Behaviors that Can Change the Social Sector (For the Better) and Open-Sourcing Social Change [ppt].

Photo: Street Art by hoxxoh, Washington, DC


how do we improve quality cost of health care in our region?

From 2005-6, we worked with a cross-sector coalition of over 100 employers asking "how do we improve quality and control cost of health care in our region?" The result: a regional employer-led wellness campaign that engaged 10,000 employees in exercise, healthy eating, and preventative health assessments and research to understand how nursing and allied health workforce shortages were contributing to rising health care costs.

Photo: Kovalam, Kerala, India

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