Some Things I Learned in Mexico

Last week I spent a few days in Mexico City to give a workshop on Transformative Storytelling and to mentor startup founders at the Smart Impact Accelerator. Here are some things that I learned from my visit:

  • Many of the startup concepts from the groups that I mentored were derivative ideas of things that already exist elsewhere, whether they relate to e-commerce, social enterprise, or education. But that’s ok. It’s all about the execution anyway, and how the startups can learn to leverage their specific local knowledge and expertise to make their ventures work here in Mexico.
  • There is a small but scrappy startup scene down here. The Mexican government is also putting money into supporting innovation.

Read the rest of my travel reflections and recommendations on Medium.

Some Things I Learned in Mexico

#GivingTuesday, New York Social Good Holiday Bash, & Catalyst User Survey

There’s #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday, and now #GivingTuesday, a movement to create a global day of giving on Tuesday, December 2. Hundreds of organizations have raised over $6,000,000 on Indiegogo in preparations for #GivingTuesday and on their way to raise millions more with your support.

We invite you to this interactive celebration to listen, experience, and share in these organizations’ impact stories this #GivingTuesday. Learn about great causes that are changing lives worldwide this holiday season. Vote on the 15 organizations that will pitch live during the event to win $5,000 (Voting begins at midnight on December 2 here). Enjoy holiday hors d’eouvres and spirits along with tunes by DJ Phi Unit

*** 100% of ticket sales will go towards charity, as part of the prize money for the winning pitch.

Join us on December 11th for the New York Social Good Holiday Bash!

We’re excited to be partnering with Be Social Change to ring in the holidays and build stronger connective tissue among the people and organizations driving social innovation in NYC! On December 11th at 6:30 PM, join us at Wix Lounge to for New York Social Good Holiday Bash! In the great company of our fellow purpose-driven New Yorkers, we’ll be enjoying tasty snacks, drinks, and festivities.

You can purchase your ticket here: bit.ly/NYSGbash. For a 25% discount, use the promo code “NYSGholiday” at checkout.

Save the date, invite your friends, and celebrate collective impact, new connections and collaborations with the New York Social Good community!

See you on December 11th!

Help us test CATALYST tools today: join the debates and tell us more about your experience with DebateHub

The CATALYST Consortium has begun alpha testing of the DebateHub, a collective intelligence platform for group ideation, discussion, and debate. DebateHub also includes cutting edge tools to help community managers (visualize and understand the social dynamics and argument balance of a given debate or deliberation.

Purpose and the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute have partnered with a several communities who have begun experimenting with DebateHub. These communities include Wisdom Hackers, a group of artists, activists, and entrepreneurs building an “incubator” for philosophy and wisdom into the discourse of contemporary living, as well as the alumni association of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Catalyst consortium partner Purpose is also using DebateHub as a transparent and inclusive place to plan its spring campaign and upcoming testbed, in which the organization plans to use DebateHub as a platform for hosting a large scale public discussion about imagining the future of European identity.

We need your help to improve DebateHub. Please give DebateHub a try and give us your feedback by filling out the short survey, which takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your help. We look forward to your input in our iterative design process and product development.

Reviews of my Wisdom Hackers Dispatch, “The Thinking Body”

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How do we go beyond office ergonomics and liberate our full kinesthetic creativity in the information economy?

Preview my Wisdom Hackers dispatch, “The Thinking Body” on Medium, and subscribe to read the full piece at The Pigeonhole.

“Good stuff!” – Eamon Kircher-Allen

“Descartes would be scandalized.” – Alexa Clay

“Superb essay that will transform your experience of that office chair you are sitting on right NOW” – Tom Kenning

“This article really got me thinking. As I get deeper into my meditation practice and have taken up ballet as a form of exercise the body has been on my mind (pun intended). It also reminded me of my English teaching days and thinking about how Japanese schools did a much better job of giving elementary school kids time to move. I definitely want to bring the body more into my work and have been wondering how to do so? Check out the piece! And share how you learn from your body?” – Liz Gallo

“Lee-Sean’s contemplative, well researched piece is a manifesto for office workers caged in both body and spirit. Weaving quotes from rare literary gems with firsthand interviews, he makes a convincing case for the integration of kinesthetics in the workplace as an antidote to both physical stress and intellectual torpor. A must read for anybody with a 9-5 job and a stiff neck.” – Kris Hartley

Art & Activism Lessons with André Cymone

0003777389_10Last week, I had a chance to talk about the intersections of music and activism with André Cymone. André is Prince’s childhood friend and original bass player. He later went on to build a musical career as a songwriter and producer. In his recent work, André is working to revive a rich American tradition of socially conscious music. We discussed ways we could all could use our creativity and talents to improve our communities and country.

Start with your own story

When I asked André why he does what he does as an artist and activist, he turned to his life history and that of his family. Talking about “art and activism” in the context of civil rights and social justice can be a big and abstract topic, but André grounded things in his own lived experience. He grew up in Minneapolis in a family of six children at a time when the black community was mobilizing for equal civil rights. His brother fought in Vietnam. His mother was a housekeeper who put herself through school, became a social worker, and was able to move the family to a better neighborhood. For André, music became a way of finding a voice and strengthening social connection.

I learned from our conversation that biographical details matter. As artists or activists trying inspire action and incite action, our own personal stories explains the “why” behind what we do. It helps to situate the abstractly political into the concretely personal. It helps us relate with others in our communities, and others that we are trying to reach. A movement starts with a personal story.

Be an ‘Artist’ that challenges people (rather than just an ‘Entertainer’)

“Maybe it started with Elvis. He started out as being Elvis the artist and being kind of daring and risky, but when he put on that rhinestone suit, he became Elvis entertainer. That changed the way people looked at music, artist, and all of that. People started just going after the entertainment factor. People don’t want to hear songs about trouble and strife, they just want to drive to work and be happy.”

But some people want to be challenged. They want to hear the truth. They want to hear ‘art’ as opposed to ‘entertainment.’

We also talked about artists like John Lennon, who started out an entertainer (a good one at that) in the original boyband, the Beatles, and later transformed himself into an “artist” and an activist to speak out for peace and against the Vietnam War. The world still needs artists to step up to the plate, now more than ever.

Use your gift and be a conduit

“The hope is in people like you. We all have a role in making the world we want to pass on to the next generation. My gift is storytelling and songwriting. It’s up to people like me to step up and do what you were put here for. Music is a healing thing. Music is a spiritual thing.”

Sometimes, realizing one’s role in the world means being a conduit for something greater than ourselves. It means surrendering to some higher force and inspiration, reinterpreting somebody else’s story and struggle, and just letting go of the ego.

“If you are an artist and you have a gift, you will write songs that you didn’t really write, because you are just the conduit. This happens to me and to other artists that I know all the time. You will write a song and then say, ‘I never meant to write that song, but before I noticed it was done, music, words, everything. Take the pain and suffering from the world and turn it into music or art. Take other people’s stories and struggles and elevate those stories.”

We all have an individual gift that we can put forth. What is yours?

VOTE!

“Vote. Make a difference. If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”

Cymone has been devoting his time to encouraging eligible voters to register and vote. I got to preview his upbeat new track called “Vote,” which sounds like a cross between early Prince and School House Rock.

While art and technology has opened up many new channels to organize, to participate, and to make change, there are still some old-school forms of political power that we must not forget about. So if you are eligible, register to vote, and show up on election day.

Here are some online resources to help you register and vote:

Also check out André Cymone’s interview with Mike Ragogna on HuffPost Entertainment (just after Barry Manilow)

Originally published at the Huffington Post

#FoossaFinds – 22 October 2014

The Thinking Body

Did you know that Einstein’s insights for the theory of relativity came to him in the form of kinesthetic sensations in his muscles?

In a Wisdom Hackers ebook published this week, Foossa’s Lee-Sean Huang explores issues of embodied cognition and “the thinking body.” You can read a free excerpt of the ebook on Medium, and subscribe to the full series on The Pigeonhole. We also welcome you to join us in discussing these ideas on DebateHub.

Articles

@leesean – A Fitness Tracker for Online Communities? Collective Intelligence Meets Wisdom Hackers

@TechReview – Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?”

Event

Join Purpose and the #GivingTuesday team for a panel on how to maximize donations to your organization
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Purpose, 115 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor (Bet. 18th & 19th St.) New York NY 10003
FREE with RSVP

#SpiritAnimals

@Dodo/@Melissa_Cronin – Triple Rescue: Baby Ostriches Comfort Baby Elephant As He’s Airlifted
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@leesean – Happy Autumn Survivalist Squirrel
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Reposted from Foossa.com