Although I may have been lured in by the promise of food trucks and my favorite local treat –AtlantaFresh Greek Yogurt, Plywood Presents: Social Innovation was a day worth attending. It’s been five days since the event and I still find myself mulling over the lessons of the day.
If I could give the day one phrase, I think it would be “from me to we.” The whole day seemed to center around this theme. Here are just a few lessons (there were too many amazing presentations to share everything) from the day that stand out in my mind:
Simon Mainwaring started off the theme of the day challenging us to stop looking at the world through a lens of “me first” and to start doing business for the good of the whole rather than ourselves. Collaboration may mean less profit (or recognition) but it also means a greater ability to really solve the big problems.
Esther Havens shared her journey as a photographer in some of the world’s most impoverished places. When she chose to just be a photographer, she was distant and disconnected but everything changed when she began to engage the people she photographed and learn their stories. Her challenge was to never treat anyone as a means to an end, but to enter their story – great advice for a room full of innovators looking to network.
Rashid Nuri shared his passion for Urban Organic Gardening and the advent of the Old Fourth Ward Community Garden. His ability to bring together city leaders, church leaders and community members to do something unexpected (like creating a garden in a former housing project) was inspiring.
Scott Thomas was the Design Director for the 2008 Obama campaign and he wrapped up the day by sharing his simple tips for design. He really solidified the “we verses me” theme for me when he shared about the shift from the traditional politician telling the public what “I” will do to the Obama campaign giving the vision of what “we” can do together. He challenged us to always ask our clients, “what are we going to do together”.
I think that the majority of the room walked away from the event, wondering what are we going to do together? How could we make this city better? How can we solve the problems of our city, our nation, and our world.
The energy was incredible as the majority of the group headed over to Tapp for Happy Hour sponsored by HOPE International. Connections were being made, ideas were being shared and we I really believe we all left with a sense of hope and anticipation.
Read other’s thoughts on the day!