After much prodding a picked up the book ‘Getting to Maybe‘ and started reading it on the weekend. I have been pushing deeper into ‘the entrepreneurial approach’ and working with the idea that it is more about the creating/holding the space for things to emerge. This morning I read the chapter called ‘Let It Find You’ which is all about emergence. I am more convinced that in this element of entrepreneurship/social innovation is the ‘magic’ that can be amplified and applied to restoring balance among people and the planet.

Traditional incubators have often focused on either a single accomplished entrepreneur or a support services which can be helpful but don’t get at the core of entrepreneurship/innovation. The growing celebrity of social entrepreneurs has put a focus on the individuals again as a source of entrepreneurship but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The space that allows things to emerge can be held/created within an individual, a session/conversation, a group, or a network/community. ‘Getting to Maybe’ does a great job of presenting the importance of having things emerge. I’m hoping now to dig deeper in the ways that happens and how it can be intentionally created and held for maximum benefit. Certainly there is much to build from here, especially from people/places like the Institute of Cultural Affairs (here, here, and here) where they have spent lifetimes living, observing, and understanding how things emerge from the ground up. If you have some other great resources I should be looking at please let me know.

Great frameworks – reframing my focus.

The two most helpful frameworks that I’m working with right now are a brilliant piece on places to intervene in a system by Donella Meadows and theory u by Otto Scharmer. The Meadows piece has helped me articulate where I’m most drawn to invest myself (mindset shifts – even more the process of doing so) and Scharmer’s work is a comprehensive model of the stages involved in creating a mindset shift.

Back to the things I’ve been focusing on, the work on the collective potential of individual change is about finding a way to encourage individual shifts on a massive scale while the work on the entrepreneurial approach (which is about to undergo a major re-write – and an initial ‘survey’) is about creating entities and initiatives that can themselves take on system interventions at some level. Something else I’m sensing is a connection between the entrepreneurial approach and the process to shift a mindset. I’m interested to see where that goes.

If you are interested in participating in the initial ‘survey’ on entrepreneurial approach, just let me know. It is being designed to take the participants through a reflection of their own experiences and so should itself provide a valuable experience.

On the train

Have been meaning to post this for a while now.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a train that ‘had an altercation’ with a person who apparently had decided to part with the world. When the announcement came across the PA that there was a fatality and that we would be delayed at least 2 hours, there was a large outcry from many of the passengers in my car that went something like this: “Oh man… now I’m going to be late. What an inconvenience. This sucks.”

Wow. What an example of our society.

My love to the friends and family of the ‘fatality’, to the train engineers, to the little 4 year old girl 4 seats back from me that heard the server on our car declare that “it hit just past the engine… and at first I thought it was a big branch.”

Peace to everyone.


I’ve just come up with a simple image that I’m starting work with in my exploration of how to apply the entrepreneurial approach in service of restoring balance among people and the planet. Right now, I’m seeing the process as a balance of push and pull with the space in between those being where opportunity and innovation emerges, and what I see as the work of the entrepreneurial process. It’s about creating that space and creating the conditions of push and pull that prompt what’s most helpful to emerge.

Scaling up the social finance marketplace in Canada.

Here’s an interesting map from http://www.xigi.net/ giving an overview of the latest initiative I’m co-creating. If you haven’t checked-out xigi.net… take a look. A very interesting tool that’s growing quickly and has the potential to make a significant contribution to the global marketplace that invests in good. Anyone else get the feeling that this ‘marketplace’ is really starting to take off?

make your own map at

My latest presentations.

Here are the latest presentations on the directions that are really interesting me right now. Take a look and send me any thoughts, comments, connections. It grows and gains momentum with the attention of others.

Accelerating the collective potential of individual change:

Systematically applying the entrepreneurial approach:
(UPDATED: April 19, 2007)

For benefit/community interest corporations.

The U.K. and soon the U.S. are putting together some great new hybrid models that look to engage the power of the capital markets in ventures that are created strictly in community interest. Take a look here for a primer on the U.K. model and here for launch pad to some of the U.S. work. Seeing the evolution of markets is a wonderful thing.

How authentic are you?

I just saw two interesting perspectives on connecting with what people care about. One of which is from client/collaborator Communicopia in this presentation and one is in this article in Canadian Business titled “Sell More by Creating Desire”.

This theme is something I’m seeing more and more everyday particularly with the steady growth in popularity of social and environmental justice issues. Whether it’s a company giving to a charity, creating a new product, or simply your own efforts to make a difference the durability and success are anchored in authenticity — is it connected with the true nature of who you are as an organization or an individual?

In the presentation the basis of this is understanding the core of who you are (as an individual or an organization), what you are here to do, and what the value is in what you have to offer. In the case of the article, the idea is more about trying to perceive what people are really seeking in their lives and give them something that aims to satiat that seeking. The trouble with trying to figure out what it is that people are seeking is that it is incredibly transient and shifts with the times and with the trends. It’s also not based on what you are uniquely good at so begins to take on the feeling of a cheap knock-off, pr ‘spin’, or other pile of bs.

We all know that feeling of something quality, integrity, and substance when we come across it. It something that only comes when it’s anchored in what’s true and when the experience and communication speaks directly to the truth. That’s when people can start to form real connections with the organisation or individual behind the product or message. Doing things the otherway around is well… an effort in futility… except for the consultant you’ve hired to work really hard to create something that doesn’t exist.

That said, knowing ourselves is a very difficult thing to do. In my experience with emerging entities this takes a healthy amount of time, courage, and integrity. Think about it for yourself or your organization. Do you really know why you are here? What’s the core purpose that you are here to fulfill and what’s your truly unique contribution in doing that?

For a good overview and some great examples of this stuff from the organizational perspective you can purchase a great article here. Of course, you can always go hire a consultant – either way, good luck, you’ll get what you want. Just remember – the only thing that’s authentic will be finding your truth – not adopting someone elses.

Accelerating the Collective Potential for Positive Change

I’ve just come across www.slideshare.net and figured I’d try it using the latest version of the presentation (here) that I’m working with on the topic of accelerating the collection potential for positive change.

Let’s see how this works… and of course… I’m always interested in feedback!