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Author Archives: Mary Beth Schwartzwalder

What We’re Reading

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • January 3, 2018

“Over the last decade there has been an explosion of interest in collaboration, open innovation, and crowd engagement. Many companies are moving away from a model in which products and services are created through a closed, top-down, expert-biased process and toward open, crowdsourced, user-driven strategies. Nonprofits, philanthropists, and community groups are also embracing cocreation as a response to the challenge of tackling pressing problems in an increasingly complex world.

And yet, while the language of cocreation is en vogue, relatively few organizations are applying cocreative strategies to innovate boldly. We celebrate the solutions resulting from design competitions and open innovation processes, yet few of the results lead to systems change or profoundly shake up what is considered possible. Despite all the rhetoric of cocreation as an important tool for innovation, it appears that the majority of such efforts are doing little to challenge the basic structures of problem-solving. Meanwhile, our world cries out for designs that reimagine the way we do pretty much everything if we are to solve pressing problems like climate change, extreme inequality, and poverty.

After a two-year interdisciplinary research study exploring cocreative design processes in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, we have concluded that only a small percentage of cocreation efforts are actually creating systems-changing solutions aligned with the stated needs and priorities of the participants, let alone with the possibilities for innovation that such approaches offer. We were left wondering why the majority of cocreation endeavors fall short of their promise and potential, so we set out to find an answer.”

Read “Creating Breakout Innovation” in its entirety.

Photo Friday: Bundled and Bright

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 22, 2017

The coffee break at our latest Economic Inclusion staff meeting led us to Brewed Awakening for a quick pick-me-up. Who needs gloves when you have a toasty beverage?

SNCC is Hiring: Director of Operations

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 21, 2017

The Syracuse Northeast Community Center is hiring! The Director of Operations will help develop strategic objectives and program goals with the support of other staff.

Duties will include finance, fund development, personnel, organizational capacity, community relations, advocacy, and board support. Applications are due January 5, 2018 and should be emailed to Michael Collins at mcollins@snccsyr.org.

View the full listing on Idealist.org.

Photo Friday: Well Wishes, Dan!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 15, 2017

Dan started working for us 4.5 years ago as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Program Assistant for Business Development, fresh out of Syracuse University. Since then, he’s grown to lead our business development efforts through Up Start and became Deputy Director under Dominic Robinson. He’s contributed great amounts of energy, laughter, and support to all of us at Economic Inclusion, and we suspect for many in the community at large.

We’re going to miss his playfulness, his dedication to the cause, and his willingness to happily go above and beyond for all of our programs. Join us in wishing him the best of luck as he makes the leap to Detroit!

 

Photo Friday: Nadia’s Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 8, 2017

Thank you, Nadia Ahishakiye, for taking over our Instagram this week and showing us what it’s like to be a seventeen year old living on the Northside! To view all of her photos, visit our Instagram or Facebook.

Do you love taking photos of the Northside? Send us a message and check out all of our Insta Takeovers: www.instagram.com/explore/tags/nsuptakeover

 

 

“Foreigners Like Me” from Hopeprint

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 6, 2017

This latest think piece from Hopeprint picks apart important concepts in our culture: “foreigner,” “majority,” “kindred.”

“They walked up the street with the babies in the stroller, dimly lit by the street lights. Though it was impossible to see their faces from across the road, their silhouettes and posture as they walked was recognizable in the way it only is when you have come to know someone. I raised my voice and hand, saying ‘Hello!’ Mom looked over and returned the greeting with a grin across her face. 

Due to a rather absurdly full season of grant writing, conferences, meetings, budget building, curriculum development, traveling to other cities for our multiplication efforts and more, the chance this evening to stand still and greet my neighbor felt like an extra treasure. As I spent a good deal of the evening alternating between coloring and building lincoln logs with their son, Ahmed, not speaking a lick of Farsi or Pashto (his mother tongue as an Afghani), I pondered anew the journey our friends take to get across the ocean to their new and foreign land… new kinds of houses, new language, new trash system, new transportation system, new ways to access food, new kinds of food, and on and on it goes.

Ahmed was quite content with not trying to understand me; he was just going to keep living his life, observing passively. Meanwhile, little Lisha pulled a book out of the bookcase, and sat on my lap to read it. As the pages turned, she could nearly quote the whole thing to me, making it clear she has spent a whole lot of days in our home with that book. Her little tongue rattled off imaginary stories and creative expressions in the primary tongue of her birthplace, English, differing from the Nepali tongue of her mother. 

Lisha knows the Nepali dishes that usually fill her family table, but she also knows chocolate chip cookies. Ahmed is dressed in the typical fashion forward, sharp manner of his fellow Afghani, Syrian and Iraqi 3-year-old peers, but is overwhelmed and lost in an almost entirely unknown world. Lisha’s presence in our living room exudes familiarity. Ahmed’s presence in this space exudes this sense of foreignness. 

Ahmed is young, and I know from years of watching little Ahmeds grow up, that in 18 months from now, he will be chattering away in a language he was clueless of today. He will not remember the land of his birth as an active memory, and this nation of the United States will be what he knows as home. His parents speaking Pashto at home, or the colorful hijab his mother continues to wear, will ever remind him he is of a particular people, but he will find himself in the strange gray of being foreign and familiar in his own home and nation of eventual citizenship. 

Ahmed and Lisha will spend all to nearly all of their lives in the borders of this nation that welcomed their families. In their personal identity, they will carry very little of their family being factually “foreigners” at one point. Culturally connected or bicultural, yes absolutely; but foreigner would not be the narrative of their own writing. Yet unless if the story changes, Ahmed and Lisha will spend the rest of their days keenly aware of this part of their heritage. The beautifully dark olive tint of Lisha’s skin, and her gorgeous Nepali features, will likely speak before her mouth does to the world she encounters. Ahmed’s name and maybe someday his wife in hijab will serve as a preface to his story written by others not himself. Whether Lisha or Ahmed feel or see themselves as foreign, and irregardless if they are no longer foreign as naturalized citizens, they will never really be allowed to forget it. This is the cultural craftsmanship of our ‘majority’ culture . . .”

To read the entire blog entry, visit Hopeprint’s website.

Oxtail Stew, Fried Plantains, and More: Taste of Africa Opens

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 3, 2017

Did you catch Teri Weaver’s story last month about the new Congolese restaurant on the Northside? Look below for a snippet of the story and read the full article with photos on Syracuse.com.

“When Ullys Mouity became a U.S. citizen seven years ago, he said his dream was to open an African restaurant.

Now he and his family have. They opened The Taste of Africa in October on Syracuse’s North Side, in the spot once home to Weber’s Restaurant.

Weber’s, a German restaurant, closed in 2009 after six decades. A soul food place, Sharon’s Bar & Restaurant, operated out of the space at 820 Danforth St. in the interim.

Now the corner restaurant is serving Congolese food – goat or oxtail stews, fried plantains with fiery pili pili sauce, and cassava.

The family-owned business includes Mouity; his wife, Adija Balume; her sister Saida Balume; and his brother, Angeton Mouity.

The sisters are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They came to the United States in 1990 and moved to Syracuse in 1998. The brothers are from Republic of the Congo, a smaller country west of DR Congo. They came to Syracuse in 2005.

The Taste of Africa serves food commonly found in Central and East Africa. In addition to stews, fried fish and rice, the menu also offers cassava, or pondu.

‘This is one of the main sources of foods in the region,’ Ullys Mouity said.”

To read the entire article, visit Syracuse.com.

Photo Friday: Meet Nadia

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 1, 2017

“My name is Ahishakiye Nadia. I’m seventeen years old. I’m a senior and currently attending PSLA@Fowler. I’m Burundian, but was born in the country Tanzania. I moved to the Northside in 2012 from Idaho. I really love the Northside. It’s a very beautiful place with many beautiful and unique cultures. I love learning about the different cultures and people around the world, many of which live on the Northside.”

Connect with us on Instagram to follow Nadia’s Insta Takeover: www.instagram.com/northsideup. Each day we’ll share one of her favorite photos of the Northside.

Up Start Business Hosts Event on Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 27, 2017

Our colleagues at Up Start have been busy helping the latest cohort of entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground, including Pretty & Pink Party Planning who’s having a “girls only” event on the Northside at Jumpin Jupiter! Check out all the details for Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun!

To learn more about Pretty & Pink’s services, follow them on Facebook.

Photo Friday: First Snow Along Ash Street

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 24, 2017

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