Thursday, 20 October 2011

5 Good Ideas Book Launch

Five Good Ideas book launch Toronto, photo-collage by, photos by Olga GoubarPhoto-Collage: Five Good Ideas Book Launch
October 18, 2011, Toronto's Network Orange;
Hosted by: Author and broadcaster Jane Farrow;
Featured: Interview with the editors, Maytree Chairman Alan Broadbent and
Maytree President Ratna Omidvarand, insights from a panel of contributors.

Photos: Olga Goubar @

Five Good Ideas
Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success
Edited by Alan Broadbent and Ratna Omidvar
Published by Coach House Books, Toronto 2011

Here are some quick thoughts on possibilities for merging profit and non-for-profit worlds in construction industry.

I got dragged out again of the office to attend a book launching event. The event was held at the Downtown Toronto's ING Orange Café, a really interesting community space to hold meetings with a lot of green ideas: living walls, reusing the old warehouse structure, movable walls to reconfigure spaces to suit and many more. The book ‘Five good ideas – practical strategies for non-profit success’ edited by Alan Broadbent and Ratna Omidvar of the Maytree Foundation. I was captivated what some of the contributors mentioned, and I got the book.

On cursory inspection of the index the topics reflected the same issues as running a company: leadership, organizational effectiveness, human resources, resource development, communications, advocacy and governance. So will it be that non-profit organization behave similar to for profit organization? Or will there be differences.

On a personal note, since I tried to help non profit organizations become profitable in one of my former lives, the book will be extremely interesting to see if any of my ideas are reflected. For Wo-Built, since we are spinning out our social mission, this book will be invaluable.

Since I haven't read the book the jury is still out, but if my gut feeling is correct this book is also valuable for any CEO of a construction company. My personal believe is that our industry, the construction industry, should be responsible for implementing its own social initiatives such as apprenticeships, education of the next generation, health and safety issues and more. Some companies are very active in this regard, but we could do so much more as a collective, and not just leave this to nebulous “government”. We, as an industry should look at hybrid solutions, combining our for profit missions with social innovation to provide us with the future labour force the industry can be proud of.

Maybe after reading the book I can report on some of the possibilities of merging the two worlds.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: blog: Development through Enterprise: The Best of Both Worlds? Blending For-Profit and Non-Profit Models
by Shanika Gunaratna forum discussion: Creating a Hybrid For-Profit / Non-Profit Social Enterprise Structure
Hosted by Jeff Hamaoui (May 2005 - Closed) Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General: Not-For-Profit Incorporator's Handbook Industry Canada: Federal Not-for-profit Corporations: Create / Maintain a Not-for-Profit Organization blog: Why do so few women choose the skilled trades as a career?

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