November 14, 2007

Artists on Homelessness

City Pages - Culture To Go - Artists speak out on homelessness

Art & Policy: The Pinky Show

Pinky is a cat: black with white nose and socks. She wanders the "ethically vacant landscape of American society" and she suffers from historical amnesia (like you).

She makes videos at YouTube. Defending Globalization is one of my favorites. Check out her other videos at The Pinky Show site and learn more at Pinky's web site.

October 23, 2007

Followup to conversation about media role

Hello Everyone – Just a few more comments about the role of media in covering public issues.

1. In addition to working with reporters, you should consider submitting opinion pieces and letters to the editor to the print media. According to local journalist David Brauer, letters to the editor are the most read part of the newspaper.
2. If misinformation is published about your endeavor, be sure that you challenge that misinformation – if possible in the same medium that published it.
3. I believe Eric Black and Sharon Schmickle, two outstanding journalists, will teach a Media and Public Affairs course at the Institute this spring. So look for that during registration if you’re interested in that.

Barbara Crosby

October 17, 2007

Cross-sector leadership in Seattle

Thanks to Peter’s gently prodding, I offer an LCG blog post – a response to viewing a spectacular public arts project on Saturday in Seattle. Perhaps you’ve seen it – the Seattle Art Museum’s Sculpture Park, situated on the waterfront on a former Superfund site. The Olympic Mountains across the sound provide the backdrop to mainly abstract constructions (think Walker Sculpture Garden) arrayed in a park that zigzags across working railroad tracks. What I’d like to know more about is the cross-sector partnership that put together this very complicated project.

I heard about the project at this weekend’s NASPAA conference. (The initials are for National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.) According to a conference speaker, many levels of government, Gates Foundation, business people, the art museum, and no doubt the railroad were all involved over many years. My experience tells me that many people provided leadership and that the project had many stalls and revivals. It’s the kind of case I intend to keep probing so that my colleagues and I can help others better understand how to create and sustain the coalitions needed to achieve visible progress on complex public problems.


October 10, 2007

Tools for a Wired Grad Student

Report from Team Virtual

Six weeks into the course, our team is using several web collaboration tools and finding them useful. At least that is what they tell me.

We are currently using a mailing list, the UMWiki, social bookmarking, and Refworks. I have also set up Netfiles for file storage but haven't really found it necessary since the wiki has upload capability.

Mailing List

A mailing list provides a single email address that will reach all of your team members. Since we don't have large teams this isn't a big issue. Yahoo and Google Groups both allow you to create mailing lists free and to also store files and have a calendar and other cool things. Everyone must register and have an account to do this. You also get to view ads at no charge.

I chose the U of M Listserv but it is only available to staff and faculty or students representing organizations. The advantage of the listserv is we all have email accounts at the U and there are no ads.


We are using the U's wiki space as our team home page. We have links to our other tools (, Refworks, Netfiles), it's our file repository, and we are now using it to track the literature review.

This is a great tool and very easy to use. You can create as many wiki spaces as you like. Wikis are open to public view by default but you can restrict them all the way down to a group or even one person. People outside the U can create free guest accounts and use a wiki if they are sponsored by someone from the U.

Social Bookmarking

You are probably sharing links as you work on your project. Switching to a social bookmarking system makes sharing links very easy and makes your bookmarks easy to work with.

There are a few tools for social bookmarking but I'm partial to It's been around for several years and has the support of Yahoo. We share a account together for this project.

To use, sign up for an account and install the tools in your browser. When you come to a page to bookmark, you click the "Tag" button, add some notes, and save. It's squirreled away on your page. (You don't have to visit each time you bookmark.) allows you to make bookmarks private and you can download your bookmarks locally.


Netfiles is a file repository with some interesting features. First, you get 5GB of space so you can store a lot of average and even large files. Second, you can share files easily and with folks outside of the U. Third, you can provide a password for sharing the files (or not).

To use Netfiles, you first must enable it from your Internet account.

There is also a link to Netfiles help from that page. It's easy to use and has a nice web interface. Windows users can download a desktop client.

Versioning via Netfiles

I haven't tried this feature but I understand that Netfiles has a check-in/check-out feature. Using this makes it easy to collaborate on something like a team paper (where you can run the risk of two people working on the paper at the same time).

Virtual Tool Teacher Benefits

Our use of these collaborative tools establishes various archives of files that then are available to future students. WebCT courses go away and most of us are not uploading work plans or discussing our readings in WebCT. Teachers can use this record as team examples. I personally don't have a problem uploading our final project to the wiki if that works for my teammembers.

If you have questions or need a bit coaching, let me know (fleck004). If you start using some of these tools (or are already using them), let us know in the comments.

September 1, 2007

Firing up LCG

I hope everyone's summer went well. It's time to go back to school, folks.

Who will I see in Barbara Crosby's Transforming Public Policy?

I was admitted to the MPA program and this Fall marks my official beginning although the real beginning was last Spring in Gary DeCramer's Leadership course where I met many of you. Whether you continue at HHH Institute or not, you can certainly use this blog as a way to keep in touch or email me (fleck004) with news and I'll post it (which does make it public remember).

The summer potluck was great and many thanks to our organizers Rashmi, Reena, Manoj, and Makeda. (Hope I didn't miss anyone.) Pictures are available but you must email me and I will share the somewhat private link with you.

If you had posting rights to this blog last semester, they still exist. If you want posting rights, let me know and I'll add you. I'm open to anyone at Humphrey joining this exclusive club and anyone else who makes a strong case for why I should let tem. (You too can be a blogger!) That's really what this Internet community thing is about, isn't it?

What have I been doing?

I switched jobs from Webmaster at the U's Cancer Center to Web Manager at U of M Extension, with the Family Development Capacity Area. It is a bresh of really fresh air job-wise for me. (I can't begin to tell you how much fresh air but give me a couple of beers some time and I might be willing to share.)

I also went to a thirty hour work week which I really like although I'm not at all sure where the extra ten hours goes.

I am sitting on a committee that is working on digital inclusion for the City of Minneapolis in conjunction with the deployment of the wireless network. Here's a blog post at my other blog about the committee and the RFP that went out recently. Some of you may want to share this with various nonprofits. It's pretty late in getting a proposal in on this cycle but more money will be forthcoming early next year and another RFP.

I took John Bryson's Action Mapping skills course this summer. Wow. I'm into creating action maps now. For work, for home, etc. I like the somewhat chaotic quality that then slowly gets organized to get things done (but always keeps a level of chaos if it's an ongoing map which many of mine are.) It really impresses your boss when you use these things.

On a personal note, our tenant of twelve years (we live in a duplex) just left. (She was living in our house when we bought it.) So we had to find a tenant. Well finding the tenant was relatively easy, thank goodness. We did it over a few days and found a nice young guy who works at the U and will hopefully be long term. He loves the place. (We produced an action map for the process.)

So that part was easy but then we wanted to paint and clean. The old tenant left 8/21 so we had some time but with both of us working, it wasn't enough time-- especially since the old tenant seemed to forget to clean much and it was a bit (actually a lot more than a bit) grungy. Sigh.

We finished around five yesterday (8/31). I think it's good for a new tenant to see the landlord down on his hands and knees scrubbing the floor. He brought us some fine Belgian beer to celebrate. (We didn't really finish but got enough done to get him in the place.)

Last weekend was the Milk Run (5K) at the State fair and I had a good run with my daughter (who I couldn't keep up with) and my wife who couldn't keep up with me as she had to walk a bit with a knee that was bothering her. (She still put in a decent time.)

So what have you been doing?