Headlines from Disruptive Forces

Connect with the Alliance:


Connect with
the CEO:

Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution

Executive Summary

A Report by the Alliance for Children and Families and Baker Tilly
October 2011

Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution is now available to download free-of-cost. It strives to:

  • Create a vision for the nonprofit human services sector during the next three to five years
  • Identify disruptive forces that will fundamentally change and transform the nonprofit human services sector
  • Spotlight actions required to preserve quality services within the boundaries of anticipated fiscal and other challenges

The Alliance for Children and Families developed this report to help organizations plan for successful futures by illuminating complexity, inspiring tough conversations, and pushing them to think outside of their comfort zone. The report asserts that the future landscape of the sector will require successful organizations to have a well-honed radar for adaptation.

After establishing a detailed account of the current situation, the report’s development team used extensive research to determine six disruptive forces.

Disruptive Force One: Purposeful Experimentation

Increased and purposeful experimentation will be required of organizations, driven by: (1) risk-taking activities of for-profit competitors, (2) low-cost information technologies, (3) growing role of social media in communications, and (4) desperation as funding sources decline. Further, the demand for new, innovative solutions will be high.

Disruptive Force Two: Information Liberation

Regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act go to great lengths to ensure information confidentiality, but they will become outdated. A new generation of consumers will share information about themselves with friends, family, and communities, both live and virtually. Information sharing can improve service delivery models such that they ultimately give consumers more control over how their information is shared and allow other agencies in the same continuum to provide better care.

Disruptive Force Three: Integrating Science

Extraordinary advances in technology will blur the lines between what is possible, what is affordable, and what is acceptable. Advances will alter the ways in which individuals are diagnosed and treated. Successful human service organizations will not only leverage these advances, but will partner with the research community to shape how these sciences can be applied cost-effectively to demonstrate impact.

Disruptive Force Four: Uncompromising Demand for Impact

The ability to demonstrate that particular interventions have efficacy will result in payment. Funders and communities will expect greater impact at a lower cost. Key sector stakeholders will first define the desired impact, and then consider what organization or groups of organizations can deliver at the lowest cost.

Disruptive Force Five: Branding Causes, Not Organizations

It will be much more effective for human services organizations to leverage support by emphasizing core issues and causes, rather than on their individual agency brands and programs. While brands can seem somewhat artificial and institutional, movements create a vision and goal for change.

Disruptive Force Six: Attracting Investors, Not Donors

The current model of nonprofit funding will shift to an investment paradigm. Performance-seeking portfolios will be aimed at achieving a return on investment that solves a societal problem, contributes to a movement, or eliminates a community issue.

Contact the Alliance Evaluation and Research Services Department with questions or for more information.

Topic of Report: 
Operational Research
©2015 Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. All Rights Reserved