A Corruption of the Imagination

A phrase from an essay I read last week, called Some Thoughts on Mercy by Ross Gay, has stuck with me. He reflects on the experience of being pulled over by police on a summer night, as a black man driving home from working late at his office. He considers how the stop-and-frisk practices in New… Read more

How Urgency Disrupts Collaboration – Part 2

This post builds on Part 1. Here we explore the question: How can we capitalize on the full benefits of teamwork and do our best thinking, even when the process is moving quickly? Here are some tips: When things need to move fast, have pre-emptive conversations about decision-making and input. The team can agree up… Read more

Time to Rethink Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a classic method for getting a group to generate ideas. A topic is suggested, people speak up with their ideas and suggestions, and someone writes them down. The technique is so commonly used and assumed to work, I was surprised to learn that research shows this technique is actually not effective. Keith Sawyer,… Read more

Listening that Enables Emerging Possibilities

I recently participated in an on-line course presented by MIT and Otto Scharmer about creating transformative change (amazingly, with about 40,000 other people around the world). The course explores frameworks for how we personally and collectively can address the challenges of our time and change systems that are “creating results nobody wants.” The heart of… Read more

Join us at the Better Together Summit, October 24th in Maine

We are excited to be working with the New England Environmental Education Alliance and the Maine Environmental Education Association to facilitate a Better Together Innovation Lab. This interactive day will be held at Pineland Farms, in New Gloucester, Maine, a 5,000-acre working farm and business and learning campus. Creating healthy, resilient, sustainable communities requires all of… Read more

The Better Alternative Not on the Table

Last fall, I was driving and heard a snippet of a news story that has stayed with me. I was listening to a reporter in Syria talking about the opinions of “people on the street” in Damascus amidst this civil war. She said that they are faced with the choice of the brutal dictator Assad… Read more

An Innovation Accelerator: The 2013 New Hampshire Social Business Innovation Challenge

“Our aim is for the New Hampshire Social Business Challenge to serve as an innovation accelerator” was how Yusi Turell of the Carsey Institute described the intent behind this first-ever Business Challenge in New Hampshire. The Challenge involved teams submitting proposed designs for innovative, business-oriented solutions to pressing social and environmental issues at the state,… Read more

How to Spur Collective Innovation or Stall It

When physicist David Bohm studied what enabled Einstein and other physicists able to achieve breakthroughs, he discovered that they emerged out of free open conversations where they “exchanged ideas without trying to change the other’s mind and without bitter argument” as described in a Psychology Today article called Awakening Our Collaborative Spirit. They felt free… Read more

Horizontal Loyalty

Imagine this time of sustainability transition as a wave, where all along the leading edge are people and organizations inventing new ways of using clean energy, renewing democracy, creating businesses that solve social problems, and thousands of other innovations to create a better future. Each person or initiative, in their own way, has to go… Read more

The Diversity Innovation Connection

At last week’s Green Innovators in Business Network Solutions Lab in Cambridge, MA, participants explored how to accelerate innovation to bring low-carbon solutions to market on a big scale. Accessing diverse perspectives is key to finding the innovative solutions to challenging problems, as illustrated by case studies of Innocentive and EMC. Searching Wide for Innovative… Read more