A New Year’s Resolution from PresenTense

Our New Year Resolution – and our commitment to you

PresenTense has always understood itself as an open-source movement. Not because we like the jargon, or because it’s trendy to use the words ‘open-source’, or because it gives us good branding – but because that is what we literally have been since day one: a collection of individuals from around the world who are committed to contributing to the Jewish People in the here and now, to upgrade our community’s Operating System so our programs, activities and ideas are up-to-date and actionable for these years and the years to come.

When a few dozen of us started working on the magazine back in 2006, the concept of being an open organizing framework was core to how we envisioned our work in the time to come; when we developed the Institute in 2007 we made it a point to do a full, open to the public assessment to enable our greater community to look under the hood and tell us what we could have done better; and now that we’re growing at a rapid clip, we decided to take the next step: we’re publishing our year-in-preview documents, which is to say, the blueprint for PresenTense’s year to come.

Our New Year’s resolution – a bit late in coming, we recognize – is to continue to pioneer the field of Jewish social enterprise, and our commitment is to stay as open now with 10 staff and over 300 volunteers in 7 steering committees as we were when we met at the common room of Columbia University’s Bayit all those years ago. This document is a step along that path.

Not everything is here – it being the first year we put all of these together in a standard format, we had to make some tough decisions as to what goes in and what does not. For example, our feasibility study into whether to open a PresenTense Hub in the Upper West Side is not reflected, nor is our growth of the rather popular PTSchool, nor is our Hub & Fellowship partnership with Telalivit included. Those and close to half a dozen smaller initiatives are being developed by our over 300 volunteer community members, and will be better defined over the course of the next year. If this process goes well, we hope to include them next year.

Also, not everything here will be done to the dot. As anyone who operates in this world knows, these are testing times, times more defined by change then by stability. As such, these plans can be seen as the roadmaps with which we set out on our journey. We may veer off course, but hope not to. To correct for this, each plan is built with the strategic goals of the plan at the top, and the tactical moves towards the bottom – with an understanding that we’ll stick to the strategies and rearrange tactics as needed. Our three and five year plans, to be released (if all goes according to plan) in March 2010, will be based on Assumption Based Planning – these are just based on ABP’s principles.

With all of that in mind, we look forward to hearing your thoughts about our year to come, and we very much hope to learn from this process – so all of your comments and thoughts (and constructive criticisms) are welcomed. Here is the link, and the document can be viewed after the jump.

Ariel Beery is Co-director of The PresenTense Group.