Community Development Data Viz - March 2015

President's Update - Evolution of CDS

By Dave Lamie

I hope that the New Year finds you healthy, energized, and excited about what life is bringing you. As we witness with horror the brutality that our species is capable of inflicting upon one another, it is easy to become confused and bewildered.  Our old ways of thinking about things may not work as well as they did in our youth.  We turn to the sages of our history for insight and understanding, yet they do not seem to speak to us as they did before. Yet, we fear that if we abandon wholesale our beliefs we might jettison something essential, even sacred. So, we spend time sorting through it all, carefully putting those things that we still value in their place, discarding that which does not seem to work for us.  
As community development professionals we should consider a similar sorting process. We should use our evaluation results to help us craft better programs and interventions.  We should take stock of the way we currently do things and consider if there are not better, more effective, or more efficient ways of doing things.  And, we should probably go about examining our underlying value statements to deliberate on just how important they are to us and whether or not they should be modified to better reflect current realities.  This process might even lead us to new paradigms and patterns of thinking about things that simply work better.  
It is in this spirit that I propose that we undertake a process of revisiting, reviewing, and possibly revising our most sacred statements: The CDS Principles of Good Practice.  Over the next few months I hope to engage a selection of CDS members to help us in this review process. I want to be sure we include some of our newest members as well as some long-standing ones.  We need to have confidence that these statements speak as clearly to CD professionals today as they did when they were first adopted.  
At the end of the day, we might wind up with exactly the same thing we started with…and that is perfectly acceptable. Or, some completely new, completely relevant statements might be developed. Don't worry, we won't officially change anything without properly involving the CDS membership. Your involvement in the evolution of the Society is of vital importance.