The More Things Change, The More They Change (VIDEO)

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Guest Post: Susan Herr, PhilanthroMedia

As dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, Dr. Earnest J. Wilson III is on the front line of changes wrought by the digital revolution.  That’s why The Communications Network tapped his expertise three years ago for its report:  “Come On In. The Water’s Fine. An Exploration of Web 2.0 Technology and Its Emerging Impact on Foundation Communications.

Then, as now, Wilson believes the key to effectively navigating these changes is what he calls the capacity for “sustained innovation.” For foundation communication departments — forced daily to grapple with ever-shifting modes of communication — this capacity isn’t just nice to have.  It’s imperative.  “In such an environment,” Wilson writes in the Spring 2012 issue of strategy+business magazine, “creativity needn’t wait for the unpredictable ‘aha’ moment. It is continually nurtured.”

In the five-minute interview that follows, Wilson makes clear that such changes must come from the top of the organization.  But he also says they require a new type of partnership between leaders of foundations, those in “what used to be called public relations or public affairs,” as well as program officers and grantees.  For organizations committed to sustainable innovation, “…communications can’t be something that is done off in a corner.”

If you are looking for credible advice about how to not only survive the rapid pace of change but to thrive, you will want to tune in to this interview.  Wilson’s prescription in a nutshell? Remember that “…God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.”


Susan Herr, a regular Communications Network contributor, is president of PhilanthroMedia.

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