OK. Maybe not a handout per se, but here’s my proposal in response to the Occupy movement: every large corporation should adopt a small business that is working in the arena of innovation. Most specifically, this is a self serving vision: I would like my business, FullThought, to be matched with a corporate partner.
Here are the basics to my thoughts: besides large profits, many corporations have generous budgets to work with; most of the rest of us don’t; not only is wealth becoming controlled by a few, this means so is opportunityand innovation; all the innovations we need cannot live in the heads and hearts of the few who have power and wealth; innovation can build a vibrant, sustainable future for humanity; and innovation in this era is not all in the arena of technology.
My business, FullThought, teaches the power of improving our ability to hear, see and collaborate with the other humans around us. I teach and facilitate an approach to focused conversation that is simple and transformative. I believe the frontiers of human advancement in this era will continue to be explored through our achievements in technology. And, the human race is complicated.And, we have a long history of being complicated with each other.
So I also believe that our ability to find, decipher and carefully calculate the impact and miracles of these new landscapes will depend on our human abilities to relate, communicate and collaborate across vast differences in history, culture and specialty. FullThought can make a contribution to our path forward.
As I watched the planes fly into the World Trade Towers, I realized that the information age needs to morph quickly into the relationship age. If we have the data, technology and the means to build large planes and tall buildings, but we are going to use the former as weapons against the latter, we are not long for this earth.
Likewise, if we build spoils for the few, and tolerate instability for the masses, this too is not a sustainable path.
Many of us have our eye on Occupy Wall Street. We understand and have witnessed the erosion of security in America that compels large numbers of our talented, hardworking young people to not only take to the streets but to stay there. This erosion of security has not come because of a lack of prosperity. It has come at a time of great prosperity for the few and the big.
We watch Occupy America, give praise and are hopeful.
And we wonder what “the asks” are going to be. How will this show of populist urgency and wakeup turn things around?
Reflecting on this question recently, it occurred to me that it may not all be about what is asked by the masses. We are not in our city centers to say that all who have profited from this era are evil. Many who have built empires and fortunes are simply following the rules and laws we have created together that favor wealth and power. Many have done so firmly believing that prosperity in America trickles down to all. Many also have the ability to see and respond to Occupy America with hope and innovation.
Idealistic? I know. But it doesn't hurt to imagine and hope.
If you are in this crowd, part of the 1%, one of the answers we need may be as simple as you opening headquarter doors, or division doors to a small business entrepreneur.
We would most likely find each other enjoyable company.
As small business owners, we would have a great deal to gain and learn from you. The package could be small by the standards of your budgets and an enormous boost to us. I am thinking about a $50,000 salary for 3 – 5 years with limited access to your financial, legal, marketing and creative teams. Maybe a couple lovely lunches can be thrown in too. We maintain all rights to our products and have the opportunity to incubate, establish and grow to independence in a stable, funded business setting, something completely foreign to most of us.
You get to be a part of heralding in innovation and being part of the solution in America.
You also get the benefit of our innovation intimately immersed in your business. In my case, maybe FullThought can help you surface a clearer assessment of the implications of varied opinions, strategies, decisions and key moves as you navigate complicated terrain.
I think it could go beyond a win – win, to a global win. Innovation happens in the uniqueness of the partnership; it also happens in the opportunity for many small businesses and the kernels of genius they hold, to succeed against great odds.
With this path a little higher ground is carved out. The next generation gets to figure out how to take it even higher.
It’s certainly not a hand out.
I’m ready and game.