Sunday, May 22, 2011

I know why I do what I you?

Where you do you get inspired?  Where do you clear your head?  For me it is often at the movies.  Tonight, I went to the movies as often happens, I am able to clear the cacophony that resides in my every whirling mind.  And as usual, that clarity helps me conceptualize a great many things.  As I sat listening to the music on the way home I thought about social media.  Why?  What importance could this hold?

Actually, it helped me see even further beyond where I am today and the change I am focused on creating.  At my core, I believe I am a change agent now as I have often said, that Innovation is to Pupa as Change Agent is to butterfly.

That being said there is a distinct flow to how we end up in the spot we are at the moment you may choose to read this.  And in this moment I can clearly see the flow of how I got here and most importantly I have the clarity to understand that purpose.

Today...I am a Chief Evangelist taking up the cause of championing social media
Before that...the Global Vice President helping create models to help drive change
Before that...A Technology Broker linking the wonders of discovery to the needs of a business
Before that...A Technology Developer pushing the boundaries of people thought was possible
Before that...A budding innovator studying my trade as a chemist in graduate school
And this goes on and on and on...

But the real question is how is this path created and how do we lose sight as we develop in our career?  And the reason I leave my personal side out (I am a father, husband and son of course), because sadly much of what drives us in today's society is our professional development.  But that is what is interesting, because in our quest as a person and professional we must find truth in why we do it.  For many, it is simply a job while for others it is everything.  I choose to take a wider view of my career.  I often believe what is most important is to be a life learner, because this mindset helps break the boundaries of everything we do on a day to day basis in every interaction we have.  

Because we must have some sort of professional purpose to help us learn, provide, or even feel passion, I ask anyone reading this do you have clarity of how you became what you currently are and do you understand where you are trying to move to?  

As I drove home, I thought about that and realized the theme I must face with each and every step I make is that everything above is about change, learning and taking on challenges others find impossible.  On a personal side, I strive to continuously learn from anyone and everyone around me all the time.  The confluence of these two concepts is all about where I am heading.  To where, you may or may not ask?

I guess I have believed for many years now that it is becoming my purpose to help others see the power of what's possible and what has continued to bother me is how I am watching a population in the country I live turn its back on the fundamentals that create the building blocks for what creates the possible.  What the hell does that mean?   Well I hear everyday how our population of worthy scientists and therefore innovators is dwindling and that we cannot compete.  Even though as you look at where I have been my choices have taken me further and further from the basic science I found passion in as a high school and college student.  But I consider myself lucky to have escaped.  Why?  Because the sum of my experiences up to this point have enabled me to do something more important.  To collaborate, to facilitate others to believe in what they think is impossible, to negotiate with others to believe and most importantly to mobilize people to take what they believe in and go with it.  The sum of my experiences has granted me the fortune of being open to learning from others and taking on challenges that stretch how I think about everything everday.

So where am I going?  My quest and I choose to spell it out here is to take the gifts given to me as a change agent to find a way to help rebuild the innovation foundation that America is losing as the corporate culture takes over everywhere.  I would love to raise money and champion the cause of finding people willing to re-invest in the principles of basic research.  Why basic esoteric research?  Because as I ran from it in the past towards the financial gains the corporate success can bring, my time getting closer to those possibilities is seemingly bringing me back around the importance of simply understand at its fundamental how to break the boundaries of what is possible.  Basic research is just that, the foundation for which practicality is built.  In this case, without funding the fundamentals or the building blocks how can one expect to create a stable house. In our country, basic research has given way to applied research problems and funding for research is geared to the person whose work can be tied to the tangible results that bring application benefits.  I say this slippery slope is wrong for innovation and wrong for our future growth.  Research for the sake of research is becoming a lost art because it cannot get funded.  My close friend is a professor and she tells me that getting funding for the basic work she does is increasingly difficult.

If I can create the financial freedom, I will ultimately go full circle and create funding for professors or people engaged in basic research.  Call it my scientific Gates Foundation.  

Great...who cares...maybe this goal inspires you, but that is not the point of this post.  If you go through how I arrived writing this you can see how each steps is giving me the ability to actually get there...

I left big corporations to work in a startup.  I have excelled as an intrapreneur, but now I am learning to be an entrepreneur.  With this experience in the fast world of new business, I have gained courage to start something of my own one day.  I never would have thought like this had I not chosen to move into the space I am in now.

I work in social media...I have learned how it can quickly get a message out...thus I am now blogging.  18 months ago when I started this blog I wrote one post a month and only had about 200 views until March.  In March, I started being a Chief Evangelist and now I write a few times a week and this blog has gotten over 1000 views this month more than double than last month.

I worked as a change agent of culture at Daymon Worldwide.  This experience will give me the skill to help envision and create the framework to mobilize people to see how to work together to create the catalysis for the cause of making this issue front and center.

I worked as a technology broker who became skilled in negotiating and managing alliances, something critical to making the the organization a reality because partnership with others is possible.  Alliance management is something that builds bridges and those bridges are the foundation for creating new things more quickly.  More quickly because alliance principles say the sum is greater than its parts and it is built on trust.

I worked to develop and implement new technologies while making cleaning products.  This has taught me how to see basic technologies in a way that makes them applicable to solving problems.  And the gift of creating cleaning products for "everyone" has taught me about the consumer variable.  Literally how to put myself in the shoes of someone else when creating a tangible output.   It is a rare gift and I thank Clorox for teaching me this ability it comes in handy everyday.  Linking emotion to usage so to speak.

I was a student learning to be a great scientist who understood how to study variables, become an expert at scientific method and to walk in the shoes of those who truly love science.  It was very painful, but taught me the fundamentals of thinking about technology and possibility because I was charged with breaking the boundaries of what was known by proving something unknown.

And most importantly I can't forget the people who have taught me how to learn these skills, abilities and self evaluation.  They deserve a shoutout (and a link)

Robert Porter Lynch - Who taught me the word Creationship which is state of ultimate collaboration.
Robert Rosenfeld - The mentor who taught the power of people in this journey
John Hommeyer - A business man and mentor who creates innovation in a way that others can see
Helen Eckmann - A woman who believes in the power of leadership and how it shapes others
Frank Cohenour - A man who balances leadership, business and friendship better than anyone
Peter Ford - A scientist with the highest of ethics who teaches people scientific fortitude

What does this all show.  It shows how having vision for what you want to accomplish starts with tackling learning what you need every step of the way.  It shows that those around you can influence how quickly you learn about what you want to do.  And more importantly, to recognize what each experience brings your personally besides the wealth that brings freedom or stuff (which ever you fancy).  But it also shows clarity of path, a linkage between events and most importantly it creates passion as you accomplish things as  you grow and choose to change.

And helps you see the gaps that can help you get where you ultimately want to go.  Where ever that may be.  For me, it is to bring back the foundation that we are starting to miss in America.  Innovation the President is said is critical.  I agree, but I believe we need to take a huge step back on get on the balcony so we can see the dance floor.  The dance floor these days is a mess because what we believe will get us that innovation is all wrong.  It isn't about business or what I call the Corporatetocracy which rules us, it is about fundamentals of learning.

I am getting clearer how to get to where I am going because I strive as best I can to be humble and to see the quest to where you want to get starts with knowing you might need help to make it.  

Are you clear?  If not get will help you cure your frustration and help you get going.

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