Daniel Pink on communication and symphonic thinking

Communicating before, during and after a capital campaign requires the kind of symphonic thinking that author Daniel Pink explores in A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.

Strategic visions and campaign priorities can quickly deconstruct into campaign inventory and itemization — losing all connection to a larger and more compelling story about why a college matters and to the invitation for how donors might connect their singular sense of purpose to something larger.

It’s not a matter of longer versus shorter content, but a question of what Pink calls the “relationship between relationships.”

Pink talks of the three types of people that thrive when asked to overlay little and big pictures.

Boundary Crossers: comfortable with abstraction, they understand how a concept like regulation can inspire donors to support the training of future financial accountants who will police insider trading and osteopathic doctors equipped to ease an epidemic of diabetes.

Inventors: able to project new ideas, such as why relocating physical therapy and pharmacy majors in one location will anticipate the development of regenerative rehabilitation drugs and therapies.

Metaphor Makers: willing to risk bold scenarios, such as reframing the combative border between the US and Mexico as a shared resource, where the harnessing of scarce water and the capture of abundant sunshine eases the very economic pressure that strains policy and diplomacy.