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Galen MacLusky

Galen MacLusky
Galen is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Community Innovation Idea Area. He is passionate about working with community organizations to help build and scale new ideas that deepen their impact. An experienced design, innovation, and co-creation consultant, at the core of his work are approaches that help organizations engage with those who are impacted by their services and test new programs and services with minimal investment. Over the past five years, Galen has used these approaches to help Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations across North America reinvent the services and programs they provide.

Recent Posts

Style Blindness: What Bruce Lee Can Teach Us About Community Change

Posted by Galen MacLusky on August 16, 2018

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” – Bruce Lee

In the community of martial arts there are often discussions about which art is ‘better’ than others. Is Wing Chun a better technique for self-defense than Krav Maga? Would a championship boxer win in a fight against a Kung Fu master? These types of questions have many vocal champions on either side, but they are ultimately unanswerable. So much depends on both the ability of the practitioner as well as the context. Boxers train to fight in a specific context with specific rules. So do Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, but with a different context and set of rules. The techniques of each martial art are well attuned to a specific set of circumstances have been honed over centuries of refinement.

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Community Change Is Not A Recipe

Posted by Galen MacLusky on August 7, 2018

It starts simply enough; You go to a conference and learn about an exciting new framework for bringing about change. Maybe it’s Collective Impact, or Design Thinking, or Behavioural Economics. So you return to your community full of good ideas on what’s next. You’ve got a toolbox, a step-by-step process for change, and some great examples of how this approach worked in the past. As long as you follow the process, you’ll be successful, right?

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Innovating with Purpose: Part Two

Posted by Galen MacLusky on June 13, 2018

We all seek to innovate for different reasons. Sometimes it’s that we feel the world is changing and we risk being left behind. Sometimes it’s because the issue we’re working to address hasn’t gone away, has gotten worse, or has changed. Sometimes it’s because we simply feel that we must.

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What Will You Stop Doing?

Posted by Galen MacLusky on May 23, 2018

If it feels like you or your organization are always having to add something new to your plate, this is for you. It feels like a default tendency of the world we live in to ask more of ourselves, our teams, and our organizations without providing the time, resources, and energy that are needed for those extras. I find that this is particularly true when the word innovation is invoked. We’re simultaneously asked to innovate but also to maintain all the programs, services, and projects that help keep the status quo afloat. A common question I hear at all levels is, "How do we innovate when we're barely staying on top of our regular work as it is?"

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What do you mean, Innovation? Breaking the Buzzword

Posted by Galen MacLusky on April 23, 2018

Have you ever left a conversation about innovation suspecting that everyone was talking about very different things? Like all buzzwords, the meaning of ‘innovation’ has become muddy and unclear over time, and yet ‘innovation’ is often seen as a panacea for our social ills. But is ‘innovation’ what we do, or what we aspire to do? Here are three questions that I’ve found helpful to narrow in on exactly what I, and others, mean when we talk about innovation.

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Innovating With Purpose

Posted by Galen MacLusky on April 10, 2018

My colleague Sylvia Cheuy recently gave a great overview of the Community Innovation landscape in her paper The Community Innovation Imperative. Sylvia highlighted the incredible momentum driving us towards innovation and the adoption of tools and methods to help us get there. In this context ­­­‑ a context where innovation is increasingly the norm demanded by and of funders, government, and communities, it is particularly important to keep the following in mind:

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