Cultivate Creativity & Entrepreneurialism
Well, here we are in a time of great transformation. As we often say here, four things will help us get through: community, connection, resilience, and problem-solving. This focus area touches all four of those, but the heart of it is in the problem-solving.
As we navigate this pandemic and grow and evolve our responses to it at every level and in every realm of our lives, cultivating creativity and entrepreneurialism will be absolutely critical and essential. They can help us navigate the absolute myriad of wicked problems.
And it's going to iterate. There won't be one or even thousands of entrepreneurial ideas that help us get through this. There will be hundreds of thousands, or millions.
Um.... there are also some unscrupulous ones. Don't be those people. If you're going to go around trying to solve problems in the middle and on the other side of the greatest crisis to face the world in a century, DON'T MAKE IT WORSE. We're in the early months of this pandemic, and already there are tech-bro startup companies with friends in state government landing huge no-bid contracts for coronavirus screening tests that may not even be reliable, and doing it in ways that have so far been inefficient, ineffective, and limited in scope. Testing is a key to the next steps in this pandemic. Crap testing does not help, prolongs the disaster as spread continues, and can give faulty medical info that can hurt or kill people. Don't be that company.
Do some good. We need it. We've got big brains; synergy happens in good teams; there are a ton of tools to make neat stuff happen at scale. Find ways to find ways through. And use the other Focus Areas to do more with all the creativity and entrepreneurialism. More on this one in the blog posts and resources below.
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"1776 is a global incubator and seed fund helping startups transform industries that impact millions of lives every day - education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation and cities."
From the homepage: "WE ARE #500 STRONG: Meet our badass, global family of startup founders, mentors, and investors." From the About page: "500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund with a network of startup programs headquartered in Silicon Valley with over $350M in committed capital across 4 main funds and 13 micro funds." This site is an excellent resource and potential amplifier for startup or tech-enabled businesses. Previously known as "500 Startups." Also check out 500 LABS.
"500 LABS is a startup studio that partners with founders, designers and engineers and experiments with many ideas to build a few companies a year." Also check out 500, previously known as "500 Startups."
"Where the World Meets Startups." A community of startups and investors who make fundraising efficient. Find a startup job, post a job, raise money online, and invest in startups.
A Seth's Blog post about partnership, collusion, and "organizing the weaker side." Written for the example of Amazon's search for a new city for a second HQ, with interesting perspective for economic development and visions we want for our communities. Also helpful for the #opposition and #resistance.
"Beyond the Storms," Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience," by Dane S. Egli. Also see this USA Today article.
"Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World," by Jonathan M. Tisch. The author's introduction to the book is in this article, and a one-page PDF interview is available here.
"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," by Jared Diamond. A TED talk is available here, and posted to videos.
"Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Homefront - or, One Woman's Solutions to Finding Abundance for Your Family while Coming to Terms with Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Hard Times," by Sharon Astyk. A Sharon Astyk blog is here. Check out this book review from homestead.org.nnHere is an excerpt from another review at The Blogging Bookworm, "Astyk's book is a reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference in the world during times of crisis. In New Orleans in 2005, it was Hurricane Katrina. Now we face... climate chaos, war, and energy depletion... People are struggling to hold on to their homes, to pay for their groceries, to know what to do next... If you are like me, this book will make you rethink your assumptions about population, about the separation of public and private, about the global impact of creating local economies. As Green Bean said in her recent review, Depletion and Abundance is both troubling and reassuring. It will make you have moments of panic and it will also make you commit to creating a just and meaningful life." The Blogging Bookworm review author says "I finished the book with a feeling not only of hope, but also with a feeling of radical responsibility."
Get a FREE PDF of this book at the link above. More about the report and initiative at this site: Disaster Resilience in America: Launching A National Conversation.
"Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World," by Adam Grant. From the book jacket, "Using surprising studies and stories spanning the worlds of business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant debunks the common belief that successful non-conformists are born leaders who boldly embrace risk. Originals explains now anyone can spot opportunities for change, recognize a good idea, overcome anxiety and ambivalence, and make suggestions without being silenced."
"Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW. Brene Brown also has a number of classic videos and TED talks that will be available on The Counterfear Toolbox videos page (coming soon) or on the Google.
"Stress-Free Sustainability: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout, and Influence Anyone," by Adam Hammes, an Iowa author based in Des Moines. Interview here.
"The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
"The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World," by Andrew S. Winston. See video also at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxYKO7oICiw.
"The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation," by Stephen Flynn. A cornerstone book to resilience thinking in the United States. Review by Paul Stockton from Homeland Security affairs. Reference to the book from the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World," by Paul Gilding. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint. From the author's website: "It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources. The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability."
"The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected," by Dr. Yossi Sheffi of MIT. An excerpt from the website summary: "The interconnectedness of the global economy today means that unexpected events in one corner of the globe can ripple through the world’s supply chain and affect customers everywhere. In this book, Yossi Sheffi shows why modern vulnerabilities call for innovative processes and tools for creating and embedding corporate resilience and risk management. Sheffi offers fascinating case studies that illustrate how companies have prepared for, coped with, and come out stronger following disruption."
From author Chris McGoff in Part 1 of the book: "How do some people, organizations, and coalitions thrive in uncertain times? What enables them to appear so certain and take decisive action amid ambiguity about the future?" The PRIMES website says "The PRIMES are universal patterns of group behavior that outfit you to work with any group to solve any problem - especially the big ones." The PRIMES book notes "... Here's the deal. Almost all the tame problems have been solved. We get to solve the wicked problems. Wicked problems affect a lot of peple and it takes a lot of people, all with their own agendas, to collaborate and solve them. ... The people who, amid uncertainty, successfully lead large problem-solving groups share these characteristics. First, they are clear about what they are up to and how they spend their precious time. Second, they are intentional and willing to go first. Finally, they have mastered the art of enrolling others to join them." The PRIMES website also has short videos and info about each of The PRIMES. Another core counterfear resource is Chris McGoff's TEDx Rock Creek talk on "Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk." The author's company The Clearing has done significant work on wicked problems in many counterfear focus areas.
"The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage," by Yossi Sheffi. Also check out this video.
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell also asks the question "Are You a Connector" in this piece. More here and here on Connectors, Mavens, and Salespersons.
"Cybersecurity in Your Neighborhood: Why Public-Private Partnerships Matter." Event transcript available here.
Disaster Resilience in America: Launching a National Conversation. A National Academy of Sciences Initiative.
From the website: "Jeremy Taylor, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, has worked with dreams for over forty years; he blends the values of spirituality with an active social conscience and a Jungian perspective." Jeremy Taylor's work is the basis that many groups around the world to do dream work and analysis together. Taylor notes that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness, and that any dream that is shared is meant for all who hear it. His process of group dream work includes the idea that you take any dream for yourself, and analyze it from the perspective of "if it were my dream." Taylor has used dream work to foster community, build connection, and create unity - in urban and other areas where division has been deep.
About: "We empower philanthropists to leverage their resources and amplify their impact. Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders - nearly 2,200 members strong - and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors."
"FIT empowers humans to create cutting-edge disaster solutions... FIT uses a three-step design process to help communities understand the core issues and needs that are not being addressed in a given crisis. Communities are then self-empowered to tackle issues related to disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response, recovery, climate change, and sustainable resiliency... FIT practices co-creation and open source solution sharing to increase community resilience and change the world, one neighborhood at a time."
The Global Insurance Accelerator based in Des Moines, Iowa "is a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry by supporting startups targeting the global insurance industry."
A coworking and entrepeneurial space in downtown Des Moines, IA.
"We all have a hero inside of us. When a catastrophe strikes, our heroes are called upon. In the heroic improvisation practice, we practice how to be ready to put on our proverbial capes and fly. Disaster preparation training might not like sound fun... knowing how to act heroically with others is the key. What determines success when catastrophe strikes is our ability to listen, trust and act together... Potential danger requires us to know the plan of action, and chaos requires us to improvise responses to execute it. The heroic improvisation workshop puts us in a chaotic situation and gives us the felt-sense of moving into action together in a high stakes situation."
Excellent resource to look at how we can "hold space" for people and the world.
From the article, "What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."
Check out this list of co-working communities in Iowa, assembled by Gravitate, "the entrepeneurial center of gravity in downtown Des Moines."
Beautiful movie on resilience, persistence, finding a way forward, building creativity, and connection. Stuff that matters.
I was not expecting this to be probably the most profound movie I've ever seen - well beyond something like Star Wars (all eight) meets The Matrix (the first one). Also hilarious. Awesome #Team stuff. Here's a link to the official trailer for this movie.
This is an anchorpoint for the time that is now. This story follows the classic Hero's Journey. No spoilers, but this is the key to what we need.
Myth is a powerful tool, and this movies serves as an incredibly powerful myth, parable, inspiration, and model for our time. It is unexpectedly good, and powerful on many levels... the family elements, parenting, the spiritual, life itself, the power of teamwork, leveraging creativity, vision, dreaming, realizing, and the challenge and way forward for effective problem-solving, at scale. And of course, "Everything is Awesome."
If there was one movie that represents where we can go and who we can be in this amazing time of challenge - this is it. This is how we navigate disruption, find a way forward, and counterfear. Who would have thought?
Finale song from the movie "Save the Last Dance." The music alone is an amplifier, but the final scene in the movie with this song is even more so. Excerpted lyrics below are from here:
"It's the chance of life, get ready, set, fly high.
Above the fear of your mind, go for it.
It's hit or miss, too late for you to quit.
You gotta show 'em how bad you really want this, so...
Live your dreams, it's not as hard as it may seem.
You gotta work to get the green, on your hopes you must lean
From your fears, you have to wean yourself.
It's all or nothing, give your everything...
...Are what you believe, you got to bring the dreams.
Set the pace, competitions take the lead.
This is it, all eyes on you.
So stay on point and prove,
that you deserve whats long overdue...
...My heart is still recovering,
From the heartbreak of another kind,
I'm still drying my tears.
Getting over my own fears in my life.
So I wanna make sure this time that I'm strong enough,
To give it my all...
...So you gotta live your dreams,
So don't you be afraid.
Just set the pace, and take the lead,
It's your time to shine.
Theme song from The Lego Movie. Intro lyrics from Google Play: "Everything is awesome / Everything is cool when you're part of a team / Everything is awesome when we're living our dream / Everything is better when we stick together / Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let's party forever / We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony..."
"Feel so close" - Calvin Harris. "I feel so close to you right now." If you are looking for a video of community and neighbors and fun and people taking care of each other, this is hard to beat. Fantastic. I learned of this video when I friend I was rooming with at an amazing convention woke up with the lyrics in her head from a dream. We Googled it, and this came up. We should have expected nothing less.
Gangsta's Paradise, with closed-captioning. Lyrics included on the YouTube page.
"No Time to Kill," song by Clint Black. Lyrics here.
Excerpt: "No time to kill, even I've said it, and probably always will... But I can look ahead and see that time ain't standin' still... No time to kill but time to change the kind of hurry I've been in... And quit this work and worry lookin' back at where I've been... If you don't look ahead nobody will, there's no time to kill."
According to his MIT bio, Dr. Yossi Sheffi is "an expert in systems optimization, risk analysis, and supply chain management, which are the subjects he teaches and researches at MIT." He has published two excellent books on resilience: The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected, and The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage.
From the website: "Small groups of 8-15 people can form Resilience Circles for learning, mutual aid and social action. Circles are a great way to form community, build resilience, and have fun."
Fantastic go-to spot for resilience resources, news, and organizations.
Mission: "Resource Generation organizes young people with wealth and class privilege in the U.S. to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power." This organization looks like an amplifier and a change agent.
"Thoughts on travel, photography, code schools, venture capital, growing startups and small businesses." This site is also the heart of Paul Singh and Dana Duncan's 2016 trip across the US to amplify all of the above.
Seth's Blog is an excellent resource for wisdom, inspiration, vision, motivation, and follow-through. It is also a great resource for further resources. Very worth receiving in a daily email or RSS feed.
"StartupDrinks is an interactive networking event for entrepreneurs & startup enthusiasts interested in connecting with great people building innovative things. Monthly events [in Iowa] are held in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City."
"In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started. Your community is here to help you — find an event today!"
"Synergos is a global nonprofit organization that brings people together to solve complex problems of poverty. We work on issues such as health, nutrition, agriculture, and youth employment - creating opportunities for individuals and communities to thrive. Systemic change requires collaboration. Solutions to poverty are often built in silos - and therefore fail. Governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, marginalized communities, and other participants in systemic change must work together - not in silos - to achieve long-term solutions to poverty around the world. Synergos creates, promotes, and sustains collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalized communities around the world. We foster successful collaborations by building trust, designing and implementing change processes, and enhancing the effectiveness of bridging leaders and institutions. Our advantage is an approach that builds trust among partners so they can create solutions together, rather than imposing top-down solutions."
"The Dream Corps was founded by Van Jones in 2014 to help cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. Our slogan is '21st-century jobs, not jails.' We support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators - all under one roof. Our shared platform helps leaders create synergies, leapfrog obstacles and maximize impact. Every day, we are reshaping 'what’s possible' in the field of social justice. The Dream Corps finds aspiring leaders who have the courage and determination to tackle America’s toughest challenges. Then we connect them to world-class partners, smart digital tools and national media platforms to help them succeed. We back initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity." Current work is on three programs, described on the "About" page.
Is the chaos & disaster in the US getting to you? What's on your mind? What info are you looking for for getting through all of this? The founder here answers questions sent from Facebook. September 3, 2020. Discussion is mostly about how to get through February 2021.
"Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk:" Chris McGoff at TEDxRockCreekPark. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint, because it is a rare, short look at what we need to do to solve wicked problems. Also check out Chris McGoff's website and book "The PRIMES," another posted Counterfear resource. The website has videos and a summary of each of the PRIMES.
TED Talks are a great source for video inspiration, and many have gone viral. Check out TED.com or a smaller, local TEDx near you for more. From the site: "TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics - from science to business to global issues."
Video on "The Big Pivot - Whiteboard Animation," 3:12 min. Based on book by the same name, by Andrew Winston: http://www.andrewwinston.com/books/.
Excellent video summary of the book, posted 3/2011: "Author and leading security expert Stephen Flynn discusses The Edge of Disaster Rebuilding a Resilient Nation with Patricia Gras on a HoustonPBS the Connection Special. Are we vulnerable to disaster, terrorism or acts of God? Is America living on borrowed time? His book is a wake up call demanding that we shake off our denial and sense of helplessness and start preparing immediately for a safer future." See Counterfear Toolbox book resource link for book reviews.
"The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage," with Yossi Sheffi, recorded 11/2005. Sound is a little wonky partway through but improves through end. See Yossi Sheffi blog at MIT here. From the video post summary: "Yossi Sheffi fires a shot across the bow of business owners who, even after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, still have not assessed their organizations’ vulnerability to catastrophe. Sheffi piles on examples of organizations that simply did not have the appropriate mechanisms in place when disaster struck or evolved undetected." Also see book by the same name.
This TED talk by Seth Godin is one of the classics. From the video summary: In The Tribes We Lead, "Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so." Check out Seth's Godin's blog here; it's the only blog I read daily (also posted as a resource).
From the TED blurb: "Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how - if we see it in time - we can prevent it."
From the site: "Vault is a community of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs, starters and creatives. In short, we're big idea people, and we're building the bright future of Iowa together."