Innovation

Do you need a permit?

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Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007
Do it now before he changes his mind! Seth gives us his permission!

Where, precisely, do you go in order to get permission to make a dent in the universe?

This is the question Seth Godin asks us in his blog the previous week. Here is more of his blog comment- I think it is worth taking a minute to read. Subscribe to his blog here.

The accepted state is to be a cog. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we’re told. It’s safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.

When someone comes along and says, “not me, I’m going down a different path,” we flinch. We’re not organized to encourage and celebrate the unproven striver. It’s safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course). Better, we think, to let them down easy, to encourage them to take a safer path, to be realistic, to hear it from us rather than the marketplace.

Perhaps, years ago, this was good advice. Today, it’s clearly not. In fact, it’s disrespectful, ill-advised and short sighted. How dare we cheer when a bold changemaker stumbles? Our obligation today isn’t to spare the feelings of our peers from future disappointment. It’s to establish an expectation that of course they’re going to do something that matters.

If you think there’s a chance you can make a dent, GO.

Now.

Hurry.

You have my permission. Not that you needed it.

How did you respond to what he had to say?

I reflected on the journey that the 10 City Bridge Run has taken me on. Uncertainty and doubts at different points, moments where I didn’t have ‘enough’ and so plans had to change or be postponed, and thankfully hearing the encouragement and support from friends and strangers alike when I might have quietly been expecting someone to say something along the lines of: “that’s ridiculous/ it will never work/ have you asked the ‘authorities’?

In a world so consumed with brand, and where we measure success in how social media is ‘liked’ by ‘friends’ it is an empowering act to just start something. It is messy and raw- a lot of time is perhaps wasted trying to work out where it is supposed to be going. It reminds me of the decorating the children did when their ideas fell short captured in my earlier post titled “Tinkering…Come Play!“.

How big is the dent you are currently working on? Did you ever stop waiting for a permit?

Tinkering…Come play!

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A segment of a social network

Gever Tulley teaches life lessons through tinkering on this TED Talk. Watch it here:

Tinkering…that sort of describes where I have reached this point with the 10 City Bridge Run. Here are a couple of reflections from Gever which relate to what has been my vision:

  • Building is at the heart of the experience.
  • Hands on.
  • Failures are celebrated.
  • Problems become puzzles.
  • “…can become a bridge stronger than anyone could imagine.”

Starting tonight, it is time to turn much of this design work from this side of the keyboard to the the collaboration of collective action. I can’t do this on my own. I always said that my ability to act is influenced by the participation of others.

I need your help. Don’t just stand there and watch…start tinkering!