Archive for November, 2010

Thankful Innovation Junkie

November 22nd, 2010

images-22I love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday. What’s not to love?  Food, family, and football are three of my favorite things.  The prodromal smells of homemade cooking pervade the house which means turkey and pecan pie are only days away.  Smiling is easy this week while making sure everything is perfect for the welcome cacophony of our kids returning home for a holiday visit to our empty nest.  Thanksgiving spirit warms the soul.

The best part of Thanksgiving is taking time to reflect on the things we’re most thankful for.  It’s a strange tumultuous time and yet it seems as if there is more to be thankful for than usual.  Perhaps it’s during trying times, with so many people suffering around us, that we are grateful for things we otherwise would take for granted.   I am thankful for many things and thought if I shared them openly perhaps others would share what they are thankful for too. Who knows, maybe the Thanksgiving spirit will catch on.

Here are ten things I am particularly thankful for: Read more

Calling All Entrepreneurs.

November 15th, 2010

images-211Institutional America has knocked the start out of us. We need to get back to being great at starting things in our country. Calling all entrepreneurs. This means you.  Yes, you.  In talking with some of the most entrepreneurial people on the planet I am surprised by how many don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs.  When did that happen?  Our economic history is all about starting stuff but we have gotten away from our entrepreneurial heritage. We need a national entrepreneurship movement, one that transforms our current entrepreneurship conversation.

Many visitors to the Entrepreneur StoryBooth, an on-line platform the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) launched with Babson College to capture the voice and experience of entrepreneurs, have shared that despite significant experience in starting stuff they don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs. The prevailing definition of an entrepreneur just doesn’t seem to apply.  I consistently reply asserting the opposite, their experience is exactly what we need in the mix. These diverse stories are critical to changing our national entrepreneurship conversation and launching a new economic era. It’s a big ‘aha’ for me so many entrepreneurs don’t think of themselves that way.  I have to admit, upon personal reflection, as much as I love to start new projects, ventures, and movements, I too don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur.  Go figure.  Clearly, we have serious work to do if our economic future is about entrepreneurship. Read more

Calling All Polymaths

November 8th, 2010

images-20Have you ever heard someone say they want to be a polymath?  Have you ever heard anyone ask, how do I become a polymath?  I haven’t.  The word comes from the Greek polymathes or having learned much. A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. When we think of polymaths we tend to think of dead scientists from another era like Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci. Rarely do we apply the moniker in modern times.  We need more polymaths. We need a generation of youth who want to be polymaths when they grow up.

It’s easy to wrap our minds around the idea of a polymath in the context of ancient eras long gone.  The entire body of knowledge on earth was accessible to an elite few.  Those with an exceptional mind, privileged access, and the freedom to focus on interdisciplinary study, could become polymaths.  In 384 – 322 BC Aristotle studied under Plato in ancient Greece.  His writings spanned many subjects including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theatre, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology.  In the late 15th and early 16th century Leonardo da Vinci was a prototype of the universal genius or Renaissance man. He was a painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, geologist, physicist, architect, philosopher and humanist.  Where have all the polymaths gone? Read more

Innovate & Vote

November 1st, 2010

images-18I love to vote. From the buzz of an engaged citizenry, to the sanctuary of the voting booth, to surfing channels and web sites to stay on top of exit polls and real time returns.  I love everything about Election Day.  Voting is at the heart of what makes our American experiment exciting. Voting is the gateway drug to civic engagement.  I always look forward to Election Day.  It energizes me when our community comes together around the sanctity of the polling place.  I love seeing the faces of the many volunteers at the local senior center where I vote. What other civic process brings together elders, boomers, and millennials as volunteers to ensure that everyone who chooses to can exercise their vote? I am always one of the first ones at the polling place in the morning as if the great privilege of voting is fleeting and it might go away if not used immediately. Voting is one of the most important things we do as citizens. Voting is a celebration of human freedom. Read more