Notes from !deation

By my second sentence of writing Things I’ve learned from !ideation, I knew that I was going to have to separate out this post from that post. Or the first post would have way too long. So if you’re wanting notes, here’s my notes. If you’re wanting thoughts, then check out the other post.

·       What does it take to move people — To actually make them fans rather than just customers. Customers buy, but fans endorse. Fans evangelize your brand and your cause.
·       How do we move people from participant into evangelist, and eventually, into “owner.”
·       “When the broken ask you to dance, you dance.”

CHRIS HEUERTZ, Word Made Flesh
·       You can’t put a price tag on freedom either. You’re still making her a commodity. It doesn’t take $35, it takes 35 years.
·       What is contemplative activism?
·       If you don’t know anyone that’s poor, don’t go chase them down.
·       Be a good neighbor, then become a good friend.

SEAN CARASSO, Falling Whistles
·       Default towards action
·       Bias towards ignorance
·       Rapid protype
·       Fail often, fail early, fail cheap, fail often

MIKE FOSTER, People of the Second Chance
·       Don’t mistake volume for enthusiasm
·       Don’t mistake passion for clarity
·       Don’t estimate people’s focus, attention or concern
·       Don’t preach, persuade

1. Create from your passion
2. Hyper-clarity: so what?
3. Don’t bake too long, you’ll burn it. // Don’t be handcuffed by perfection, get the dog food to the dogs. What is essential and what is important? Find the essential and launch.
4. Put things at peril // make daily doses of peril in your work
5. Make me feel
6. Live your brand

ESTHER HAVENS, photographer
What are we about? TELLING stories or CHANGING stories?

·       50% of homeless people are women and children
·       Addressing homelessness means addressing the ruin of the family unit.
·       Why do we think that homeless people want we have? like what we like?
·       “We need to stop evangelizing homeless people, they know Jesus. We need to start being an answer to their prayer.” Amen.

BEN KEESEY, Invisible Children
·       Authenticity has to be at the core of your foundation
·       Have a connection and storyline that is deeper than statistics
·       Bring people to an experience that they may never have
·       Make it relatable to your audience even if they’ve never felt it before (bring in characters or a story-teller)
·       Dream big. Dream huge early on. Identify the problem, make it relatable, then go after it. Be intentional to insert folks in the convo that will dream huge with you.
·       Spread the story. It’s directly a result of having face-to-face communication with kids. Prerequisite is technology… but it’s about going to schools, giving lectures. This semester they will do 1700 screenings to 500,000 kids. The offline component of face to face is our success. The strength of the roadie model is new people to the cause, with new intensity, who have a deep-dive passion.
·       “If my life were at stake, I hope someone else treats it like a dire emergency.”
·       The child sponsorship model shows us that pledge donations bring in the money. We ask donors to give money to an idea, and it gives us more freedom. It’s about donor trust. If you can raise the money unrestricted, spend it well, then be transparent — that might be the most efficient way to fundraise.
·       Two reasons we decided to invest in merch: 1) We like the aesthetic of products (packaging, music, feel, sound). We want to be intentional about our product (and embracing this). We like to have t-shirts that people like wearing and will wear more than once. We care about our nice merch. 2) It has to be appropriate for your audience.
·       Show proof — people are skeptical. Gain trust. *There has to be an internal tenacity for excellence and proof. You have to demand it of yourself because donors don’t see all the details.
·       Form a tribe… people who would say, “when you call, ill answer”
·       What’s more valuable… time or money?

How to get tangible results
1. Get there, get your feet wet.
2. Find partners
3. Mend fences. Deliver good work and proactively promote it.
4. Measure, collect stats. Analyze those stats. Every project sounds great on paper.
5. Invest in what works. Do what works. Find a better way, then do it. Be skeptical about conventional wisdom. Never settle.

KEITH KALL, World Vision
Embracing business, capitalism and corporations
“No single key, no formula can, in principle, solve the solution of individuals or societies; that general solutions are not solutions, universal ends are never real ends…” -Alexandar Herzen (1812-1870)

1. If you love the poor, then you need to embrace business practices. (The importance of metrics for impact… the beauty of business is that if you don’t have the right metrics, you fail. Mediocrity is, too, often the norm. This means the number of people you’ve “helped” is not impact. Bed nets are not impact. Reduction in malaria is impact. DO not measure movement, measure impact.
2. If you love the poor, then you need to embrace capitalism. Capitalist ventures make a living on helping others. Poverty reduction walks hand in hand with wealth creation. There will always be bad apples. The way you cannot blame gravity when someone jumps, you can’t blame the system. You can only blame the actor.
3. If you love the poor you need to embrace corporations. Corporations go where individual donors don’t.

Progress begets progress
Be about the mission, not the medium. Stop being medium centric, we need to be medium agnostic.
Find work at intersections
Share ideas liberally. If an idea can be so easily stolen, then it probably wasn’t a good idea to start with.
Share ownership of ideas.
Seek competition.
Fight your way to breakthroughs.
Don’t become burdened by consensus.
Gain confidence from doubt. At what point do people know they were onto something?


You’ll notice by now that I should’ve taken more notes. And this is why I fail to be a good secretary.

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