Visionaries Collaborate on New Questions

Question Marks  chairs by Stefan Heiliger for Tonon

I am honored to work with clients who want to contribute to a world that works for all. My clients are an impressive range of economists, engineers, scientists, inventors, techologists, chemists, biologists, architects, manufacturers, etc. What they have in common is phenomenal motivation, ideas, and intellectual strength to contribute to their version of a global sustainability vision.

When I connect with clients, business associates, acquaintances, and friends, we often land on a thread of conversation that goes something like this:  "How do I motivate my team to have HOPE about global sustainability when it is wildly evident that - even if I and my team worked at optimum efficiency, and even if every stakeholder got on board - we cannot possibly successfully address the scale of critical global challenges this world is facing in the timeframe necessary?"

That question was rolling around in my consciousness this past spring when I visited Paul Allen's Institute for Brain Science through the Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni group. The Brain Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to performing innovative basic research on the brain and distributing its discoveries to researchers around the world. The objective is to advance a new understanding of brain diseases and disorders. The Institute takes on projects at the leading edge of science – far-reaching projects at the intersection of biology and technology – and publishes the results and tools as a free public resource to fuel innovation and discovery for countless researchers and organizations. Their concept is to execute a body of basic research and essentially provide FREE scientific Lego blocks to the world at large, creating an environment conducive to speeding up innovation and reaching solutions on a seemingly infinite scientific landscape!

Then, at another Stanford event, I listened to Bill Barnett, Director of the Center for Global Business and the Economy at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. He drove home a concept that, frankly, gave me great relief to consider. His premise is that it isn't up to us to come up with the "answer" to sustainability, but that it is the collective mission for private, public, non-profits and NGO's to establish systems that demand the innovation that will address the global sustainability challenge. (As a sidenote, Bill has a very interesting Executive Program that he will be running this Fall to explore what it means to turn sustainable business practices into competitive advantage.)

With the experience of repeated conversations around motivating hope in the face of global sustainability challenges, my tour of the Allen Brain Institute, and hearing Bill Barnett's discussion, I suddenly had an insight. Well, let's qualify that - what really occurred is that I became the poster child for Chapter 5 of Keith Sawyer's book "Group Genuis". Here Sawyer shows how "sudden insight" is not so sudden, but the result of our brain's confabulation of a variety of creative sparks encountered on the way to the "insight." So while I could blithely tell you I am the brilliantly creative professional who had a sudden insight - the truth is not so simple. In fact, the flash of insight that sparked my articulation of this NEW question was really built on the collaborative conversations you and I have had, books I've read by wonderful thought leaders, the odd conversations I overhear on the bus, and some recent downtime that has allowed me to really consider the realm of questions that I am passionate to have answered!

SO, the new question I collaborated with other "lay" and "esteemed" visionaries to develop is: “What are the basic building/Lego blocks of global sustainability that could be researched and systematically delivered as a free, publicly available resource to speed and fuel anyone's innovation toward global sustainability?”

I invite you to check back on this blog where we will go from the effort outlined in this post of creating a NEW question - to the process and outcomes I go through on my way to developing innovative ideas that address that “new” question!

Also, remember that we, the creative brilliant community reading this blog, need you to respond and note your comments and ideas as you conceive them. I am confident that this community possesses our own vibrant potential for generating group genius!

Now, down to how all this could relate to you and all Bridge2Vision's current and potential clients...

Above you've seen a solitary example of how I knit together a variety of people's knowledge, insight, as well as a bit of my own personal creativity - to articulate a new question. This "knitting" is what I do on a larger landscape with you and your team. My gift is to first objectively gather the targeted range of individual/collective knowledge, insight, and creativity that resides on your landscape - and then to collaborate with you to articulate the historical AND "new" knowing that will power you and your organization's worthy visions!



It Begins With Me


Change begins with how we manage
the energetic flow of our
individual thinking and feeling processes.

Acknowledging that individually
we are part of everything and
superior to nothing forms a platform
of strength and wisdom.
This strength and wisdom is the basic building block to a collective that acts and reacts from the same place of unity, grace and trust.

From the personal to the collective, humans are grappling with how to respond to profound economic, biological, scientific, political, climatic and technological changes.  The increasing speed of news/knowledge delivered to our Twitter and Facebook feeds, brings with it an incipient wave of overwhelm.  The question becomes, “How do I navigate this powerful wave of incoming data to generate my own wisdom and subsequent response?” 

Expansion of human consciousness is one area of profound change that is not receiving equal mainstream media coverage, yet therein lays the answer to this question. 

With or without the media noticing, our individual and collective consciousness is evolving right along with all those other media-attracting landscapes.  We are beginning to assimilate awareness that the same energy flow composing you and me also composes all form:  weather, men, Wired Magazine, women, trees, Republicans, your home, Democrats, Yemenites, Hitler, Monsanto, even your iPad. 

Our energy flows, along with all energy in the multiverse, to become the form of everything.  On the consciousness landscape humans are expanding awareness that we are part of everything and superior to nothing.  Our consciousness’ learning curve centers on how to engage empathy, intention, passion, dispassion, and compassion as we form the creative energy issuing from within ourselves.

But what about navigating the news/knowledge wave
that threatens to overwhelm one’s ability to
generate clarity, wisdom and an appropriate response?

First notice when you absorb news, what gives you a physiological reaction?
Recently I had that chest-tightening, involuntary swallow reflex, shoulder hunching reaction to an article titled: “ It's Official: No One Will Ever Be Prosecuted for Bush-Era Torture.”  My reaction was initially just to the title of the article.  As I began to read, I saw the 2003 photo taken after the death of Manadel al-Jamadi at Abu Ghraib.  He died in CIA custody after he was beaten, stripped, had cold water poured on him, and then shackled to the wall. The photo shows al-Jamadi's ice-packed body lying on the floor with a smiling US Army Sgt Charles Graner standing over the body giving the thumbs-up sign.  My physiological signs of overwhelm were heightened and visceral as I took in the visual.  I am a U.S. citizen and this human rights crime was executed in my name, in the name of keeping me safe.  I can’t change all the complexities that led up to the event,  that the crime occurred, that my government righteously refuses to be accountable for the war crimes committed even as it issues judgment and condemnations of other countries and their human rights violations. 

In this moment I was not forming my response, my response was forming me.

My freeze, fight or flight response had landed squarely on flight; flight from the visual of this reported reality, the narrative of my country’s response, and the profound sense of helplessness that I could not right this wrong.  Internally I was wrestling with what had been sacrificed: a human’s life, what I thought my country was but isn’t, the illusion of discernment and moral certitude

Yet, even if this bit of news is not written up in the New York Times, or up next on my Facebook feed, this is where our expanding consciousness can help us employ empathy and intention as we form our energetic response to overwhelming data input. 

First, act on the expanding conscious awareness that reveals all energy is formed by a creative force.  My personal creative force is what was needed for my energy to absorb the irreducible truths I had just encountered. 

I breathed in a deep breath and released it a few times to clear the reactionary mode that physiologically trapped me.  Next I imagined being in the picture with Sgt Graner and Manadel al Jamadi.  Gently I removed the ice from the body, wrapping him in my blanket and putting my pillow under his head.  I imagined pulling Sgt Graner into my arms, hugging him as I put my heart over his to acknowledge the energy that is him is also what forms me.   Then I went further, visualizing Manadel al Jamadi alive, dressed, sitting at a table with Sgt Graner out by a big tree.  I saw the two of them speaking respectfully with each other, their children playing happily at their feet.

It was a quiet, simple exercise with no monetary investment, no outside involvement, yet it thoroughly changed my own energy.  Moments before my whole body had been focused on choosing between a reptilian freeze/fight/flight response and drowning in a sense of overwhelm. These few moments of empathy and intentional re-imagining transmuted the energy of recoil and flight into a stable forward forming picture of something better. 

Change begins with how we manage the energetic flow of our individual thinking and feeling processes. Acknowledging that individually we are part of everything and superior to nothing forms a platform of strength and wisdom.  This strength and wisdom is the basic building block to a collective that acts and reacts from the same place of unity, grace and trust.