Making a difference

Making a difference

I was talking to a friend about the people that made a real difference for me while I was in undergrad. They weren’t the tutors but the support staff;

The security guy Dom, who knew everyones names, a few sentences in their language and would spot when you weren’t feeling great or hadn’t been in the studio for a while.

The technicians Abi and Bim. Abi would give you a tutorial when you wanted to make something but weren’t sure (he saved so many projects). He’d help you design something so beautiful and ingenious, then you’d take it to Bim to look at how you could actually make it. He’d simplify it.

They were the people that gave people hope and put smiles on their faces everyday, and they didn’t need to get recognition to do that.

You can make a difference whatever your role :).


Kelly Sue DeConnick: Make Them Uncomfortable

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Make Them Uncomfortable from 99U on Vimeo.

This talk is amazing not just because of Kelly’s words of wisdom but because it’s the first time I’ve seen someone apologise for not taking the opportunity to write a more diverse story. Really touched me!

Here are her insights into how to make people uncomfortable
  1. Lead with your heart– follow your truth
  2. Find your group– people are willing to be uncomfortable together, be vulnerable, your uncomfortable audience
  3. Foster community
  4. Listen– you must listen, it’s a gift of intimacy we make the maps that illustrate our connections, listen with our whole hearts and imagine what the world must look like from another perspective
  5. Seek to be uncomfortable yourself– “You don’t get to be a good guy just because you figure you’re not a bad guy”
Genius- creating connections

Genius- creating connections

“Some see genius as the ability to connect the unconnected, to make juxtapositions, to see relationships where others can not. This is also the definition of madness.” —Dana Scully’s field journal, October 24, 1993

“That’s the real lesson of where good ideas come from that chance favours the connected mind.” Steven Johnson

The alphabet vs. the goddess

The alphabet vs. the goddess

Thought provoking lecture by Dr. Leonard Shlain, on the rise and fall and current rise of the feminine. He explores the left and right hemispheres of the human brain and how dominance of reading and writing which use ‘masculine’ parts of our brain correlated with the patriarchal society the west is emerging from today. It was interesting to hear about the advent of television which uses the image centres of our brain and generates the same energy as meditation.

Some insights:

Left hemisphere:

processes language, words,

one thing at a time

Devoted to time

Right hemisphere:

Processes image, information, emotions

All at once

Devoted to space

“We traded and ear for an eye”

“The message changes when it is written”

We need a balance within our culture and within each individual


Ira Glass on Storytelling

I stumbled on this Ira Glass, radio personality, chat on storytelling via Design Affects blog.  He has so much wisdom on creativity, storytelling and making good stuff.

He breaks down storytelling into anecdote, (sequence of actions) constantly raising and answering questions (a moment of reflection) and characters with personality.

Love when he shows how bad he was after 8 years working on the radio. It takes time. We have to learn to be forgiving of ourselves but keep going. 

And the beautiful animation by David Shiyang Lui

Joined up thoughts on the human economy

Joined up thoughts on the human economy

The Adaptable Mind from The Moxie Institute on Vimeo.

 This brilliant short film The Adaptable Mind got me thinking. It explores the skills we need to succeed today.
1. Curiosity___ is the difference between skimming the surface of those links and truly engaging. 

Ask questions that create unexpected pathways…

I guess this starts with asking questions. Questions that get deeper than the surface.
Patterns start to emerge, developing that pattern recognition way of thinking. The way of looking at the world that isn’t focused on specific fields or job silos. The correlations are all there too be seen an observed, like Bernard Schlain, Tiffany’s father who wrote about the ways every scientific discovery has been at the same time as a major art movement. A change in consciousness that was expressed through different forms.
One way I’ve discovered about spotting patterns is to talk about them, to friends, family, strangers anyone that would listen really. There is something about speaking that clarifies the mind!
It’s like giving advice and realising that was great advice why dont I take it? as Robert Rodriguez describes.
end it. Related to film- connected.
2. Creativity___ is how you bring your own unique perspective to connect ideas in new ways that’s gonna differentiate you.
Our perspective adds to those connections. A friend of mine has great advice for writing. Write why it is interesting for you and explain those experiences you’ve had that make that topic or thing have meaning. That’s what people connect to when they read.
Scientist Humberto Maturana also points to this: “Everything said has been said by somebody

3. Initiative___ without taking it your ideas will float into a sea of billions of thoughts. 

Initiative needs intuition, judgement and knowing when to reach out to people.

Again this is about taking the time to listen to your gut. You already know the answer if you only take the time to look.
Multi disciplinary thinking and multi disciplinary asking.
Across all ages, gender and disciplines.
To this we need to learn to make ideas accessible. Take something complex and make it simple.
By doing this we break down fear, break down the barriers of people like e dont do X.
One way to encourage empathy is through storytelling. Using it to communicate ideas. I remember the African fables my mum would tell us as kids. I couldnt repeat the story word for word but I could explain the message.
“Walter Benjamin(July 15, 1892–September 26, 1940) explores the role of boredom in the context of his larger meditation on the role of storytelling in setting wisdom apart from information. Arguing that the rise of information has precipitated the decline of storytelling” Brainpickings
Breaking it down allows people to add their own to, people can add their own ideas…. they can collaborate.
4. Collaboration__ is about understanding what you know and don’t know.
I believe we live in a collaborative economy. We have seen that capitalism and amplifying the self above all else doesn’t work.
Schools really need to start giving us the tools to live in this environment. It’s no longer about job silo’s and becoming an expert in one thing.
It’s about learning a creative way of thinking and being that will allow you to move in and out of fields and connect with people in disparate fields seamlessly.
5. Empathy___ is central to collaboration. Having an open mind, heart and will.
Empathy takes practice. Look at the people around you and take time to know their names and story. Look at the world from their perspective.
Think of everyone as a child, you wouldnt get angry at a 5 year old because they were being mean. Maybe they had a bad day, maybe they are hungry… why don’t we start thinking about adults the same way.
Connecting broadly is meaningless unless we connect deeply.
I recently saw an experiment in a BBC documentary “Is Britain Racist”. The scientists tested the presenters reaction to photographs of black people. Her instinct was fear.
Then they had her imagine herself as a black woman, even got her stroking an imaginary black hand.
They redid the test and her fear had gone.
She was no longer afraid because she’d put herself in a black womans place. She’d practiced empathy.
All these skills point towards being human… 
…….We are going back to a deeper understanding of this. Returning to what is at the core of most old cultures. Connecting more and more to people, society and nature, after centuries of science, the individual and rational thought.
 Today the skills we need most boil down to being human.
_____ The good news is we are approaching the human economy.
What will that bring? 🙂

Dave Eggers: Once upon a school

Truly inspiring TED talk by Dave Eggers on the Pirate Supply Store. Purveyor of great looking supplies for the working buccaneer and provider of extra curricular help for English.
“Some of these kids just don’t know how good they are, how smart and how much they have to say, you can tell them, you can shine that light on them one human interaction at a time…”