We create technology/language and it changes us,” ~ Art in Mind event
TL;DR: How to improve the state of humanity in three steps.
If I follow my entrepreneurial spirit, I capture myself pondering about a slow pace of change. Technology is booming worldwide, you may say. Although if you dig deep, it’s clear that the biggest challenges humanity faces are not solved yet: just look up UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
While innovation is rapidly happening in the corporate sector, with large for-profit organisations creating innovation labs, acquiring new technology companies and sponsoring startup accelerators, it seems that the progress is still slow in the not-for-profit and non-governmental sectors which often are born to improve the state of humanity.
What can be done to solve global problems quicker?
The infrastructure from the top down is needed. Until the change comes I suggest to start here and now. Start with the people. Start with yourself. Just like a lean startup method or design thinking provided the tools for for-profit companies, large and small, to innovate and create solutions, rapidly, the same effect can be replicated in the not-for-profit sector.
Workshops, hackathons, intrapreneurship programmes, professionals starting ‘projects for good’ can all be part of the toolkit. I suggest one more step to take.
Start with your mindset
Being involved in the startup and innovation ecosystem since 2012, I can definitely say I have experienced ‘change’. The biggest change was inside my mind, though. How else would it be possible to move between disciplines and industries in a few years time; make insights and summarise what you learned when there’s no time? Change truly starts from within.
Step 1: Share problems
Many problems can be solved through a conversation. Although we’re not used to sharing the struggle. No matter if you’re a small team or a large organisation, someone or no one, chances are, you keep problems to yourself.
Perhaps it’s a branding problem? If we view ‘problem’ as an opportunity, perhaps we’d open up more, share more, discover and innovate more? Let’s give it a try, shall we?
Step 2: Think about solutions
When you spot the problem, think what can be done to solve it. Write your ideas down. Even the silly ones.
Step 3: Ask for feedback
Just like when learning a skill, feedback is crucial if we want to improve and move onto the next level. Same is with life’s situations. When we get feedback on things we spend time thinking about, that’s when we improve and grow.
Often, we don’t ask for feedback. Frankly, we often don’t know how to ask for (any) things anymore. If you view sharing your idea as feedback request, would that help? Asking for feedback is also a good way to meaningfully connect with people.
To sum up, if we take problems we face and look for solutions, that’s a starter. Lastly, when we ask for feedback, the rest is an opportunity to be revealed.
If you take these micro steps, who knows, together we may solve humanity’s challenges quicker. But about that, I’ll write in the next post.
TL;DR: Thoughts on how to navigate the environment when experiencing uncertainty.
Do you recall that moment when you think you know what you’re doing and suddenly you get scared? If you’re involved in a creative process of taking ideas out of your head and putting it out there so that the world can see it and provide you with feedback, you probably do. Welcome to the insecure zone of letting the old beliefs go.
Uncertainty is often overwhelming, sometimes scary. The natural way to deal with this new sensation would be to run and hide. But don’t run away just yet. One book says that “being a CEO of an organisation is going against nature” because you have to constantly do what you’re not comfortable with: look for and deal with the danger instead of staying in the safety zone for survival.
It’s natural to feel the fear when feeling insecure. Does knowing help? Quotes as this give us comfort. That’s all. We know we’re not alone. But we still have to deal with our new reality.
How to deal with uncertainty
To me, writing helps. I ask three questions and instantly get more certainty:
1) Where am I right now?
2) Where am I going?
3) Then, make a turn.
The hardest is to be clear about ‘where am I going?’. But the direction is essential. When dealing with chaos, how do you know you’ve reached the destination if you keep on spinning, turning one way or the other? Are you going in circles? The direction will tell.
Why do we exist?
How does the world look like when the mission is achieved?
In other words, no matter if you’re an established organisation, a startup company or an individual, figure out your mission and vision.
Your first response may be ‘no idea’. Although, your ‘inner GPS’ is the only way to deal with our chaotic world. If you don’t know what you strive for, who does?
Write and check-in with your ‘inner GPS’.
In business, ask yourself:
How do we provide value?
Who is our audience?
How can we get better at what we do?
In life, ask:
How can I help people?
Who do I want to learn from?
How can I get better at what I do?