EarthCube Office Principal Investigator Christine Kirkpatrick and Colleagues Publish in SSIR

EarthCube Office Principal Investigator Christine Kirkpatrick and Colleagues Publish in Stanford Social Innovation Review.


Kirkpatrick leading the EarthCube Leadership Council and EarthCube Office in a Shared Values Exercise in 2019. Credit: EarthCube Office.


Minimum Viable Consortia (MVC) have been defined by social scientists as collaborative initiatives that are constantly undergoing adaptation to better achieve a group’s goals. Along with colleagues from the Stakeholder Alignment Collaborative, Christine Kirkpatrick, EarthCube Office principal investigator and division director of Research Data Services (RDS) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego, recently published guidance for launching and managing MVCs in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The research focused on four case studies – including EarthCube, which is housed at SDSC and Scripps Institution of Oceanography SIO, as well as the U.S. National Data Service, previously led by Kirkpatrick – and analyzed the ways in which small, agile initiatives can drive large-scale change.

Kirkpatrick said that the EarthCube case illustrated a well-applied cycle of what is known as “align, act, adjust,” where an organizational structure adapts to the needs of the initiative through stakeholder alignment.

“The past two years of intensive work and Zoom overload have elevated the need to streamline our lives and to keep only the meetings that are needed,” said Kirkpatrick. “The same thing is true of consortia. It’s common to become so rooted in the way things have been, that we forget that stakeholder-driven organizations can – and should, adapt with evolving needs of the community. In many cases, less (structure) is more.”

The full article, entitled When Launching a Collaboration, Keep it Agile, was written by the Stakeholder Alignment Collaborative, founded by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld of Brandeis University, and published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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