Exploring the origins, ethics and future of changemaking

Is the Core the new Edge? (or Mindful Innovation)

In Innovation, Metaphor on May 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm

One of the most problematic metaphors I have heard in changemaking and social innovation is that of ‘the core’ versus ‘the edge’. Changemakers can often be heard to speak of ‘the core’ representing all those aspects of the world which involve the existing system; features that have become so entrenched and enshrined to be unchallenged assumptions of daily existence.

In contrast, many changemakers see themselves as operating on ‘the edge’ – that zone which lies outside of the existing paradigm or system; pushing the boundaries of existence and what is possible. The edge is the space where newness flourishes, innovation bursts forth and discovery happens.

If the core is a place of boundaries and knowingness, the edge is the place of fuzziness and unknowingness. It is the contrast that is powerful, and yet it is the core that is often referred to negatively while the edge the alluring positive. All the while I cannot help but see a necessary yin-yang dynamic here, as if both are necessary and deeply entwined with each other.

In the beginning of heaven and earth
There were no words,
Words came out of the womb of matter
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees the core of life
Or passionately sees the surface
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,

Advertisements

You are valuable #justbecause

In Personal Development on May 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Yesterday a 24-year old friend called me concerned that he hadn’t yet done anything meaningful in his life. While this may seem laughable to some, the striking regularity with which I hear this is disturbing.

To give some idea about this young friend, he is incredibly inspiring and likeable. He is creative, compassionate and has a real interest in making a contribution to the world. Yet he like so many people falls into one of the greatest traps of the human condition – comparing oneself to others.

He is concerned that at twenty-four he has not successfully founded a non-profit, started a movement, achieved Young Australian of the Year or been recognised in a Top 100 Most Influential People or 30 under 30 list. The benchmarks by which young people are judging their own success and self-worth are climbing higher and higher each year, to the point that they seem unattainable to many.

Statistics around the poor mental health of young people in Australia has reached epidemic proportions. Young people today are more likely to need mental health care than they are to be admitted to University. Suicide, depression and anxiety seem to be part of the everyday experience of modern Australia.

This is not to say Australia doesn’t care. Australia has numerous innovative and effective mental health organisations, full of competent and committed people who have dedicated their life to supporting

Ernesto Sirolli – Shut Up and Listen!

In Entrepreneurship, Ethics on December 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I just love this talk. It is perhaps one of the most important TED talks ever related to the field of ethics and doing good. Ernesto Sirolli’s work as an enterprise facilitator is well known around the world. In this talk he shares both his early experiences in what doesn’t work in Africa, as well as his work with entrepreneurs in Australia and beyond.

There are many great lessons in this, but I just love his 2 principles of:

  1. Never Initiate Anything
  2. Never Motivate Anyone

Your job is to simply shut up and listen!