BIF-6 Dares Us to Take Action and Be Great

Above is a Wordle of my notes from the 2-day BIF-6 summit.  I’m not surprised to see that “people” is the largest word; because more than innovation or technology, it’s what people do that matters the most.

Find Your Place

The second day of the conference started with Richard Leider, Founder and Chairman of The Inventure Group, who has studied the power of purpose for 40 years. He looks at what makes people get out of bed in the morning.  When the elderly are asked what they would do differently in their lives, it came down to three themes: 1) be more reflective, 2) take more risks (authenticity and voice), 3) understand own bottom line/what matters to me.  Leider says that the two most important days in your life are the day that you are born and the day that you discover why you were born.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world.”  -E.B.White (quote mentioned by Richard Leider)

Take Action

Tired of waiting for the government to take action?  Ben Berkowitz created a website SeeClickFix where citizens can take a photo, report a non-emergency issue such as a graffiti or a pothole and track if it gets fixed.  As Ben said, “Potholes are gateway drug to civic engagement” – so go ahead and load the app for Blackberry, iPhone or Android.

74% of Americans don’t volunteer and Jason Colker, Founder and CEO of The Extraordinaries is looking to change how people can get involved.  He has created which looks to match the needs of non-profits with the expertise and cognitive surplus of professionals through micro-volunteering.

Former Deputy Director of the CIA, Carmen Medina, discussed being a change agent for a large organization.  She passed on the advice that she was given which is that we need to stop being uncomfortable being a “heretic” and to fully embrace it and like it!  She equated innovators to an internal rebel alliance which management must tap into.

Optimism is the greatest act of rebellion. -Carmen Medina

Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of MAKE magazine, talked about the difference between understanding and doing.  His magazine is a kind of reboot of Popular Mechanics.  He also has a Makers Faire which is are gatherings of people sharing the technology that they “play” with.  Below is a short video from the mini Makers Faire that they held at the Hotel Providence after the conference.

Dare to be Great

The final storyteller of the event was Founder and Chairman of SYPartners, Keith Yamashita who posed the question: Is it really worth daring to be great?  People grow up with a “null set” hypothesis and think that life is about going ever upward, onward and becoming more successful.  Life is not linear and when there is a break in the expected path, it is a shock to the system.  The first piece of being great starts with “you” – each person on the planet.  Kids are born to greatness and simplicity, we unlearn greatness and make things complicated.  The way to be great is to be fully aware and fully alive when people say NO.  Yamashita says that we need to end the tyranny of the false trade-off.  In the past it was believed that there was infinite possibilities and infinite resources.  During the recent economic downturn there has been talk of finite possibilities and finite resources.  The real answer going forward is that there are infinite possibilities and finite resources (echoing Ntiedo “Nt” Etuk who said we don’t lack resources, we lack resourcefulness).  We have no other choice but to try and be great.

The audio of the stories mentioned above and from the rest of the conference are available on the BIF website (videos are expected in the coming weeks).  I recommend that you take a listen to the segments and check out some of the other blog posts from the other attendees.  I’d welcome and feedback or question that you have about the event.  BIF-6 rocked!

Disclaimer: I attended BIF-6 on a free blogger pass which gives me free admission (conference includes meals and a copy of Hsieh’s book).  I am under no obligation to write.

Stuart Miniman



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