Bringing evolutionary biology into the mix…

Thanks to Michael van Baker and the Sun Break for the article on bright spots today. The article deftly summarizes many of the stories from the report and weaves in a few gems from his own conversations with bright spots leaders such as:

Scandiuzzi [from ACT Theater] likes to say budgeting is simple. Don’t spend more than you make. To ensure that, ACT now budgets for less than they made the preceding year. They can always make more money than they expected, after all. That’s great. But many non-profits like to follow a more “linear” last-year-plus-five-percent forecasting model, turning an Excel graph into a Magic 8-Ball.

He also pulls in additional research that lends support to some of the report’s findings. For example, he references biologist E.O. Wilson’s finding that many species evolved to favor cooperation (like ants, bees, and the naked mole rat). This supports the idea that cooperation and collaboration between arts organizations may not be just an ethical choice…it could actually be an evolutionary advantage. While the bright spots we spoke with aren’t thinking about their commitment to community in such selfish or utilitarian terms, you could argue that this is what the findings imply.

van Baker’s article is long, but there are lots of interesting nuggets throughout that expand the conversation. Worth a read.


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