I’m writing this one day after a 5 day experience at StartingBloc where I joined over 100 other fellows in a profoundly impactful event. Together we participated an intense deep dive into how to create the change we want to see in the world. I knew it would be good, but the experience blew any expectations I had out of the water. For anyone who has been looking to join a community of social innovators and for frameworks to create change, do this.
On the forth day, Seth Godin— someone who is in my top ten list of people I look up to –spoke at the event. I waited in line to get his book signed called “What to do when it’s your turn (and its always your turn).” When I got up to him, he said:
“Christophe! I read your blog, why I haven’t you posted in almost two months?”
Thank you Seth for taking the time not only to read everyone’s biographies but also for reading my Blog. To answer that question, there’s really no good excuse, and I will post more consistently now that you called me out. Here is a post that I recently published for the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment about Carbon Removal and the emergence of anything that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is empowering a new industry of “carbon debt collectors.” I also recently finished a 50 video challenge – 1 a day about different climate change solutions (more about that in a separate post). I am also pleased to announce to the internet that I am starting my own podcast, name TBD.
So here are 10 takeaways from StartingBloc that I look forward to applying to my journey as a social entrepreneur.
- Improv applies to innovation. The freedom that comes with improv comedy can apply to innovation in so many ways. By using a “yes and” framework a group becomes forced to build on idea and start with “yes and,” rather than propose an entirely new direction. This practice allows for immediate collaborations and investing in what is already there.
- Begin with why. When you understand why you are doing something and your sense of purpose you are unstoppable. Ask yourself: “What is it that I am changing and why am I changing it?” When you have the passion and view at 30,000 feet, it then becomes simple to execute the “what” at 14,000 feet and the “how” at 3 feet. It boils down to: think big, build simple, act now.
- Look out for polarities. Polarities occur when two poles are interdependent and cannot stand alone. Their values come in pairs. It is important to distinguish between problems, which have an end point and the polarities, which are ongoing. We typically privilege one pole over another. Managing polarities to get the most out of each pole requires discernment, awareness of the upsides and downsides, sensitivity to the experiences of upsides and downsides and willingness to move from one pole to another.
- We can all be on the same side. Changing the world cannot be about us versus them. This realization can come when people see that issues that affect one portion of the population actually impact everyone. This allows us to harness the power of inclusion.
- Design thinking can apply to everything. Prototyping can apply to all professional and personal areas of life. It means using the power of observation to improve a desired outcome. When thinking about how this relates to getting people to do things, this means coming up with an empathy map – or an understanding of what an individual thinks & feels, sees, hears, says & does and how that relates to their pains and gains and building a product or service accordingly.
- Tribes have power. Tribes have immense power, and understanding tribes in terms of an empathy map means answering the question “people like us do things like this.” When leveraging tribe power from a design perspective you can answer “how might we help [people] [needs-verb] in a way that [value].”
- Change makers make their luck. Luck comes to people who put themselves in the places where there are opportunities to lean in. It comes from listening to intuitions and expecting good fortune. Most importantly, it comes from turning bad luck into good luck.
- Keep failing. Failing is the best way to learn. It means that you have done it. If we fail it means that we took a chance to improve the world and when we are driven by purpose we can only learn from our failures and fail better the next time.
- Changing the world means speaking the truth. We have to be authentic to ourselves and to the world. We have to say it as it is. We have to have the courage to speak the truth when it is hard and step out onto the edge.
- It is our turn. It’s good to be reminded that it is my turn. And I hope to inspire others I connect with that it’s their turn too.
Also published on Medium.