Friday, September 17, 2010

Ever wish you knew what to do with 'wet blankets'

The easiest thing to do is come up with ways that a new idea won't work, and I guess that's why there's no shortage of people volunteering to do just that.  Great advice from Seth Godin this morning...

Turning the tables on critical trolls

How to deal with the colleague/board member/voter who is quick to criticize whatever you're proposing? It can't work/it's been done before/it's never been done before/you can't do it/we don't have the time/money/skills...  So easy to be right when everyone else is wrong, so easy to be confident when someone else is putting themselves on the line.

I start with this:  Do we agree that there's a problem?  Do we agree that we need to take action, that something needs to be done, that there's an opportunity here?

If we don't agree on that, then don't waste time listening to my solution. Let's spend more time deciding if there's a problem or opportunity here. Once we agree on that, then the response seems simple: "What do you think we should do?"

To get Seth's daily posts, go here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Creating Our Way To A 'Be Fruitful & Multiply' Economy.

How strong is your desire to inspire real answers in your community?

Solutions start with problems, it is so basic we miss it. Scaled up, economic hard times are opportunities for a leap forward by societies willing to cultivate true creativity. We are endowed with a very powerful, universal drive to create fruitfulness. That sentence reveals the how: Create.

I am convinced that the failure of so many of the economic solutions coming out of Washington today is not so much that they are big-government solutions rather than local or that they are 'progressive' solutions rather than conservative. To me, the strategic failure of these solutions are that they do not inspire meaningful creativity and imagination.

I have long been fascinated by demonstrations of creative fruitfulness generated from simple seed investments such as Micro-lending, Community loan funds, Pay-it-Forward school projects, and Tenfold Challenges. I wonder how much of the way out of our current difficulties would be found in local communities helping locate the creative impulse in all of us while we inspire each other to 'create' our own way out of economic paralysis.

Adopting just one idea from the vast creative arsenal available to us: What if we challenged young people with small seed investments to create Tenfold returns? The scenario goes like this: A challenge is made, sometimes by a church or school, to take a seed cash amount and double or triple it or create a tenfold return. That return is usually earmarked to fund some community project, but could just as easily fund that young person to expand a business idea or fund their continued education. A portion could also go to fund two other youth entrepreneurs, and so goes the multiplication. In practice, some (but not all) take the challenge, and those that do almost always meet their goal and create the multiplying effect, but also discover great things about themselves in the process.

Think about it from your perspective (or for the young people in your family or community)... if someone were to make an offer of giving you $10 and challenging you to turn it into $100 in 30 days, could you do it and would you accept the challenge?

Would you accept a $100 to $1,000 challenge in 90 days?
Or, a $1,000 to $10,000 challenge in 6 months?
How about $10,000 to $100,000 in a year?

How many new businesses could be started in your own community? How many lives would be changed? Could your community become a model for others? What stories could your church create?

These thoughts are challenging, but then again we are already living in challenging times. Maybe a little community conversation and imaginative thinking would be well worth it... and maybe, just maybe it might be the beginning of our own economic stimulus, and a recovery of much more than we first imagined.