The Mighty Five: July.

 

A cross-sector curation of the month’s best social impact listens & reads

 
 
A current NYT job description for the East African Bureau chief reads like Binyavanga Wainaina’s satirical essay “How to Write About Africa.” Twitter reacted tremendously – a reminder of the power of social media in changing narratives. ARTWORK CREDIT: Lost In The Island,  Shift

A current NYT job description for the East African Bureau chief reads like Binyavanga Wainaina’s satirical essay “How to Write About Africa.” Twitter reacted tremendously – a reminder of the power of social media in changing narratives. ARTWORK CREDIT: Lost In The Island, Shift

 
 

We read and listen to a lot around here. Articles, journals, case studies, podcasts – anything that provides nuggets of insight to fuel our mission and work. And we distill them down to our very top five in a regular monthly roundup. We hope you gain as much from reading it as we do from curating it.
 

1

Branding for president!

Practical Typography | 10min

As campaign season heats up in the U.S., we’re having fun analyzing branding choices made by the many Democratic nominee hopefuls. And we’re fascinated by the way design underlines each candidate’s emerging political positioning. The typeface of Warren’s mark is a purposeful reference to New Deal Era letterforms. Harris’s bright yellow is a nod to trailblazer Shirley Chisholm, while the unconventional logo lockup is made for extensions to an Instagram story quote. The nostalgic collegiate references and overt Americana of Buttigieg’s visual identity ground the first openly gay presidential candidate in midwestern American values. Lesson learned: building a resonant brand in or out of politics requires deep expertise and intentionality. And while a good brand might look simple and easy – developing one never is.
 

2

Does that MSRP include the global cost of consumption?

Global Goalscast | 46min

Happy Amazon Prime Week, everyone! Let’s celebrate this two-day global shopping event by digging into two podcasts that tackle the ethics and implications of being a consumer. Jared Diamond explains why we can’t blame rapidly populating countries for the global resource drain. But rather, we should consider the consumption habits of the western world, where one American has the impact of 32 Kenyans. And we must examine true prices, like the fact that a gallon of gas costs the $2.49 paid at the pump plus $35 in damages to the world. Then there’s this dive into the economics of recycling. Which answers the internal question every time we pitch a bottle into the bin: is this actually going to be re-used?
 

3

Debating SDG priorities.

SDGs In Order | 1min

Need a conversation starter for your dinner party? Ask your friends which Sustainable Development Goal they consider the most important. You can share this chart, which ranks the goals according to a wide range of surveyed experts and places Reduced Inequalities at the very top. Or this interactive map, showing SDG progress by country. You could debate how equality can even be achieved, without the underpinning of access to justice. Or you might agree with Deliver for Good that gender equality is critical to accomplishing all the others. A future-thinker? The UN itself makes a case for climate action – especially considering its impact on the billions of people yet to be born. Or perhaps you all toast an SDG that often goes unnoticed. Partnerships: the key to productive collective action. Then sit back and revel in the realization of how complex, nuanced, and interconnected our shades-of-grey world and sustainable development can be. Cheers.
 

4

How to accompany friends and cultivate people.

Acumen | 6min

Moral. Redemptive. Wholehearted. These are the hallmarks of good leadership, as taught and evangelized by Acumen, Praxis, and Brené Brown. Perhaps not a complete sea change from advice given by business greats Dale Carnegie, Jim Collins, and Stephen Covey. Though certainly more expansive, nebulous, and challenging. Letting “the other person feel the idea is his or hers” is surely easier than rumbling with vulnerability. And Collins’ mandate to act fast won’t always work alongside Praxis’ first principle of resisting an over-simplified narrative. But we’re hopeful these challenges to the qualities usually ascribed to strong leadership do, in fact, have powerful implications for the organizations of tomorrow.
 

5

“Unexpected stories of hope.”

Granta | 5min

The New York Times is looking for a new East African Bureau chief based in Nairobi. And the job description itself reads like a continuation of Binyavanga Wainaina’s satirical essay “How to Write About Africa.” But it’s real. And it’s telling. Twitter reacted tremendously, with a host of responses ranging from dramatic re-readings to video applications to re-written NYT banner adverts. Besides being good retorts, it was a reminder of the power of social media in changing the narrative of Africa, by Africans.
 

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