Spreading awareness about the Compression Institute and the systematic expansion of community and organizational learning groups.

We selected a new Executive Director, David Veech, who’s put together a 3 year plan to spread awareness about the institute and the systematic expansion of community and organizational learning groups that will serve as our primary communication and action network.

To support the 3 year plan’s goals, we have specific projects outlined which we are trying to raise money to execute.

Compression Institute
3-Year Plan

The Compression Challenge:  Globally develop a quality of life somewhat like industrial societies today, but using less than half the virgin raw materials and less than half the energy as in the year 2000 and with no known toxic releases.

What we are (Positive Compression Message):

The Compression Institute is a learning organization focused on discovering and sharing ways people and organizations may change they way they work for these key purposes:

  1. to improve the quality of life of those on whom they may have an effect
  2. to reduce their consumption of virgin raw materials and energy
  3. to help eliminate the risk of toxic releases from their processes

What we do:

The Compression Institute hosts a network of open discussion forums we call Vigorous Learning Circles (VLCs) in organizations (O-Circles) and communities (City Circles) to explore how to sense, define, analyze, and solve problems and potential problems affecting them and those related to the compression challenge.

The Compression Institute compiles learning from the Circles to share with the public through newsletters, white papers, blogs, documentaries, and discussion forums.

The Compression Institute teaches people and organizations the principles of compression thinking, the structures of the vigorous learning organization, the techniques of measuring key attributes oriented toward the Compression Challenge, and the skills of coaching ongoing performance progress toward the same.

The Compression Institutes assesses organizational performance toward the Compression Challenge, capturing lessons learned and to sharing through the network of what we learn from host organizations with others attempting to achieve similar goals related to working in a world under compression.

Key goals:

1. Reach 10,000 people face to face with a positive compression message (see Who we are and What we do, above).

a. Launch recurring local learning forums (City Circles – City VLCs) in Board-member and advisor cities (1 meeting per month on-going; publicized on Meetup.com, Compression Website, and local calendars (BusinessFirst; Chamber of Commerce; Local sustainability board) [Action:  Veech; Board Members; Advisors]

               1) Project 1:  Establish community and organizational learning circles using lean coffee techniques in cities where board members and advisors live and work.  Currently, we have regular and active learning circles in Columbus and Chicago, though Chicago is still getting on its feet in multiple locations.  Immediate plans include Minneapolis, several formative groups in Stamford, Connecticut, and we are talking to people in south Florida, Colorado, Seattle, and Appleton, Wisconsin.  Funding target range is $10,000 – $30,000 and will primarily cover travel expenses for the Executive Committee members to travel to, and meet with, key people and organizations in these communities and help them develop circles and bring them into the network.  Target beneficiaries are citizens in these communities who will work together to decide where to direct their learning discussions and develop action plans to improve systems in the community that will improve the quality of life in the community, reduce the consumption of raw materials, water and energy, and reduce or eliminate toxic releases within the community.

                     2) Encourage regular participants in City Circles (lean coffees) to begin VLCs in their companies or organizations.

b. Make presentations to small, medium, and large conference groups at least monthly (beginning Jan 2016). Make presentations at local trade meetings, civic groups, professional groups, or student organizations as often as possible.

[Action:  Executive Committee (prepare and deliver presentations); Board and Advisors (seek and help schedule presentations for Executive Committee; Make local presentations)]

               1) Project 3:  Rigorous Learning Systems.  We want to build a suite of workshops that will assist participants in creating various pieces of a Vigorous Learning Enterprise.  We intend to start with teaching people how to implement a Rigorous Learning System within their organizations built around our C4 problem solving process.  These workshops will also prepare learning circle guides or facilitators by equipping them with skills and tools to promote more robust discussions and encourage deliberate action planning by members of those learning circles.  We want to offer these workshops both on-site for donors, and through web-based courses, webinars, and podcasts.  Initial Funding target is $7,000-$10,000 to cover the cost of building the online learning system and initial courses as well as marketing to make people aware of the offerings.

               2) Project 6:  Summer Institute.  We want to hold a live forum annually to offer a space for learning group founders and participants to share discoveries and get reenergized for accelerated learning and action.  Funding target is $12,000 to $40,000 to cover coordinating and marketing costs, facilities rental and catering, and staff travel and supplies to execute the institute.

2. Reach 1,000,000 people with a virtual positive compression message.

a. Rework website with regular content updates and fundraising information

               1) Project 2:  Website development and improvement.  Our intention is to restructure the website to serve as the learning database and sharing system for the network of learning circles we’re building.  We need to develop better systems for sharing blog posts via the website and social media.  We need to integrate with interactive event management and email marketing systems to publicize meetings and expand attendance in learning circles.  We also need to provide more compelling contents to attract businesses and individuals to serve with us.  Funding target is $5,000 – $15,000 and will cover expenses for technical experts to develop and manage the marketing behind the institute.  Target beneficiaries are direct and indirect.  The direct beneficiaries of funds will be the contractors we bring in to complete the redesign and upgrade of the website and to advise us on social media and inbound marketing to reach the indirect beneficiaries who will be the users of the website for learning and prompting learning circles to explore more relevant topics and take more deliberate actions.

b. More robust Facebook Page with regular blog posts

               1) Project 5:  Compression 2.0.  Doc Hall has been prolifically writing and we want to convert what he has prepared, what he will continue to prepare, and contributions from others within the Institute and within our circle of influence into a publishable media set, beginning with a book and a supplemental learning system with interactive activities and links to additional research and learning around the world.  A portion of this will feed community learning group discussions.  Funding target is $15,000 to $18,000 to cover the costs of visiting and documenting good practices by organizations working toward building and operating within a Vigorous Learning Framework.

c. Active twitter & LinkedIn micro-blogging flowing from website content updates

d. Newsletter to subscribers in standard format and short articles with links to detailed articles.

               1) Project 4:  Research and Development for a Compression Index.  We intend to build an algorithm so people in communities can enter data related to quality of life, consumption of resources, energy, and water, and use of or release of toxins in processes.  We want to make this easy and friendly enough for high school students to build an index for their neighborhood and community and share it in social media.  We further want to be able to offer advice on how to improve their Compression Index.  Because we want this to be easy to use but scientifically sound, we will need to secure the research of several scholars.  Funding Target is $10,000 which we will offer as a research grant to complete this project and integrate it into the website and social media.

3. Raise $100,000 from outside sources over the next 3 years

a. Offer sponsor opportunities for City Circles

b. Specific donor funding requests to support the establishment of a City VLC

c. Specific donor funding requests to support community workshops for awareness and follow-up activity

d. Solicit City Circles to identify Compression Projects to work on that will help the community achieve a better Compression Index score, and solicit specific donors to fund the completion of those projects.

4. Develop ourselves to function as a Vigorous Learning Organization

Internal operating goals:

Next 6 months:  By June 2016

  1. Hire/Contract with an editor/literary agent who will handle the publishing bit for us (white papers, articles, lessons learned compilations, newsletters , summaries of learning circle activities.) [Nov 2015 – Agreed to 8 month contract for Kari Havir at $500/month]
  2. Investigate withdrawing from ISI fiscal sponsorship
  3. Launch regular Learning Forums using Lean Coffee techniques in Northern Chicago, Minneapolis, Connecticut/NYC/Massachusetts, Columbus, and San Antonio. [Dec 2015 – Columbus is working; Chicago has held 2 and N. Chicago has held 1. Interest in Palo Alto (Michel Baudin) ]
  4. Identify 10 small to medium conferences where we can present on Compression and the Vigorous Learning Organization in 2016
  5. Frame a business plan for an incubation structure

Next 18 months:  June 2017

  1. Hold another Summer Institute [Tentative schedule is June 15-18, 2016, in Columbus – Sponsored/Hosted by WD Partners]
  2. Turn the Board of Directors in accordance with the By-Laws
  3. Hire a part-time administrative assistant for the executive team
  4. Publish the Compression Index