Methodology for Making a Difference
Why are we doing this thing called Ripples?
Mostly because of this list. As always, we’re striving for transparency – and this is a draft of the process we use to make decisions and take action to improve the world in our own lives. These are guidelines – they don’t tell you which choice to make, but suggest a process for making choices that create bigger ripples. We hope this will be like a manuscript for the music of making a difference.
It probably isn’t possible to cover all 30 of these areas with one decision or project – even though we’re certainly up for the challenge of trying! Rather than making something “perfect,” we’d like to get as close as we can to making the most ripples with our choices. For example, Ripples itself is only in year 3 of a very long-term plan to put all 30 of these to work for the cause of helping people worldwide to make ripples, and we have about 15 so far. Everything exists on a continuum: accomplishing 5 of these is better than zero, and achieving 20 or more makes it a really powerful idea! Each of these could be a class or course on its own, and that might be something we do in the future to clarify each point and provide videos, case studies and more about highly successful ripple-makers, organizations, and projects.
As usual, we’d love your thoughts on this draft checklist for making ripples. Are these questions clear? Did we leave something out? Is it changing the way you see your upcoming life decision, or changing the way you intend to approach your project, workplace, or non-profit organization? Let us know in the comments!
Download or print: How to Make Ripples Checklist
Checklist for Making Ripples
- Sustainability: does it help or hurt the environment, including all holistic systems?
- Prosperity: does it promote economic prosperity as well as non-financial wealth, and alleviate poverty?
- Justice: is it based on freedom and equality for everyone?
- Community: does it support diverse communities at the local, national and international levels?
- Progress: is it using new technology that out-competes unsustainable practices of the past?
- Collaboration: will it bring together innovators and build bridges between different groups?
- Entrepreneurship: does it work to become financially self-sustaining without causing harm?
- Empowerment: is it empowering and developing confidence within new leaders?
- Long-Term Change: is there a foundation for long-term change that benefits future generations?
- Critical Thinking: are we rationally questioning the ideas that motivate us?
- Process: do we have a solid process for success and is it being evaluated?
- Training Leaders: is it training leaders and making knowledge accessible to them?
- Learning: does it encourage team-based problem solving and expand and share what we know?
- Results: is it achieving concrete results that are measureable?
- Models: can it be made into a model and replicated in other locations?
- Vision: is it sharing a vision for a better world and suggesting real solutions?
- Adaptation: are we constantly adapting our process to respond to current needs?
- Effectiveness: is it maximizing the amount of good accomplished using the most effective methods?
- Impartiality: is it valuing all lives as equally worth saving, regardless of nationality, race, religion, etc?
- Counterfactual Reasoning: does it maximize positive impact even if it’s not direct or obvious?
- Cause Prioritization: which cause can save the most number of lives or create the biggest ripples?
- Replaceability: are we doing something that cannot be easily done (replaced) by someone else?
- Interdependence: does it acknowledge the complex connections between all aspects of the world?
- Interdisciplinary Cooperation: is it encouraging interdisciplinary work among various subjects?
- Synergy: can it create interaction between two or more pieces to produce a greater combined effect?
- Mission: is there a clear mission, and is everyone in agreement about desired accomplishments?
- Roles: are there clearly defined, written down roles for volunteers, members, and leaders?
- Organization: is the necessary information well-organized and meetings properly facilitated?
- Resources: are diverse funding (grants, donors, income, etc) and non-monetary resources utilized?
- Publicity: are there many varieties of public media (on and offline) being utilized to raise awareness?
Sources of Inspiration (References)
- Solutionary Method by national non-profit, Grand Aspirations
- Effective Altruism (an ethics movement)
- Capacity Building (a field of work for non-profit organizations)
- Global Interdependence (a Ripples principle acknowledging interdependence between non-profit cause areas and the world as a whole)