In the spirit of “radical transparency” and letting go of “perfection,” here are my notes for today’s talk. I repeat a few things a few times because they’re important and deserve many mentions.

How do Technology & Entrepreneurship play a role in Progressive Leadership?

Author & NYU Professor Clay Shirky:

“A revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools, it happens when society adopts new behaviors.”

… 4 P’s of Marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, Place. New P: Purpose

Deloitte’s fourth annual Millennial Survey explored what tomorrow’s leaders think of business today. According to the results, business should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits.” 77% surveyed chose Purpose over pay.

Web 2.0: Content + Connection -> Communication -> Community > Content + Connection > …

Beyond Social Media: Social Innovation

  • U-Haul & AMERCO Investors Club to enable the market to invest in its trucks, offering a share of the dividends of asset-backed performance
  • GE partners with Quirky, where inventors who submit new product ideas share in the financial rewards.
  • Hasbro partnered with Shapeways 3D printer community to offer up the IP of toys and let makers glean revenue from every created product
  • Barclay’s Card created the Barclays Ring, which enables communities of committed customers to design and use the credit card as well as distribute profits to the their favorite non-profits.
  • Empowering the jobless with alternative sources of revenue: Etsy, Lyft/Uber, TaskRabbit, eLance/upwork, microlending, crowdfunding (Pave, Patreon, GoFundMe, Kickstarter/IndieGoGo)
    • No Job Security.
    • Give People CHOICE, Not Charity.

Design Thinking & Lean Startup Methodologies

  • Agile: Performance over Perfection
  • Adaptable: Insight, Ideate, Implement, Iterate
  • Empathic: Human-Centered — Doing the Right Thing, then Doing the Thing RIght. No Market, No Merit

Keep in Mind: Awareness, Access, Affordability, Acceptability. Digital Divide. Diversity.

  • How did you get involved in technology and innovation?

You don’t have to be a techie or engineer or “social media guru.” Many people’s paths are “quests,” mine was more of a journey: early reader, consuming content, curious Encyclopedia Brown & “Mysteries of the Universe,” mom=nurse & dad=computer engineer so always interested in how people work and how things work, cardiothoracic surgeon to fashion design to marketing & public relations to writing & editing to movies to government & politics to nonprofits to branding to energy to venture capital to design agency to TED & beyond. Common thread: Wanting to learn through experience, wanting to solve problems & create opportunities, wanting to help people, and wanting to help people solve problems & create opportunities.

  • What is going on that you find most promising in the technology and innovation space that progressive advocates need to be aware of, or that are ripe for use by activists?

Innovation: People, Place, Process


  • Innovation from Top-Down to Bottom-Up
  • HCD: Urban Planning, Products, Services, Policies, Manufacturing, Architecture, etc.
  • Anyone can do it. Adaptive Leadership: Inspired by Evolution — 1) Keep what’s working, 2) Discard what doesn’t, 3) Try new things. It’s about Activity, not Authority; Progress over Perfection.
  • Anyone can do it, Anywhere, Anytime. Collaborative Creation: CoWorking, Pop-Shops, Makerspaces, DIY Bio, LiquidSpace, Wikipedia.
  • Anyone can do it Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow. Sharing Economy: Craigslist, AirBnB, RenttheRunway, Voluntourism: You don’t have to own it to OWN IT.



  • People Processing: Cognitive Neuroscience — HOW we think determines WHAT we think. EQ, then IQ. Neurolinguistics — What we say influences how we think.
  • Data-Driven Storytelling > Data-Driven Decision-Making:

Tactile & Tactical:

…but Privacy, Ethics — where do I end and WE begin?

  • How would you advise our Fellows about how to connect with innovators and technologists to advance the progressive causes they champion?

Internal Research:

  • What’s Your Goal?
  • How do you identify your core strengths and build upon them strategically?
  • How do you avoid racing forward in an unfocused, and ultimately self-defeating, way?
  • How do you figure out what works? (Measure what’s important! Insight, Ideate, Implement, Iterate)
  • How can your company or organization create sustainable impact at scale?

External Research:

  • Online: + the people whom the people you respect follow & people your friends recommend
  • Go to Hubs, Aggregators: Accelerators, CoWorking Spaces, Meetups
  • See what they care about, what topics they discuss, and ask “Why?” five times

TED Talks for New Leaders: