“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
This is one of my favor quotes of Dr. Maya Angelou, because it encompasses a “scientific law” of creativity that can often be misunderstood. Creativity isn’t a limited resource. The more you deeply understand, open yourself up to possibilities and trust those around you, great things can happen exponentially. This to me sums up the power and promise of Matter.
The concept of “changing media for good” is complex. It is more than the producers and distributors of content. Media is an active dialogue that is constantly being shaped and transformed by numerous voices. Matter understands the need to not just accelerate and empower its entrepreneurs, but also the larger ecosystem of actors, including our partners and everyday people, which is critical for creating the change we want to see in the world — “media for good”. That’s why I’m excited, humbled and honored to be a part of a team that is full of expansive, creative, and driven thinkers as well as doers.
Creativity requires you to dwell in many worlds at once in order to identify opportunities and connect disparate people and ideas. My career path has been one where I’ve brought together many worlds and used my commitment to social change, design thinking and entrepreneurship to cultivate communities of diverse actors. As a result, the way I approach programming/training is one where I’m seeking to help develop and empower the entire person, not just their “business know-how”. Simultaneously, I’m also guiding the activation of the community that entrepreneurs and innovators are a part of. This virtuous cycle between the entrepreneur and community strengthens all who are involved and creates the right conditions for the type of collaboration necessary for not only a successful venture, but also a more impactful world.
Whether it’s coordinating global hackathons through National Day of Civic Hacking and NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge or speaking about the importance of open data at the White House Open Data Innovation Summit last Fall or facilitating workshops linking technology and human rights from the ground-up at RightsCon, I have always been focused on how to increase everyone’s access to the tools and information necessary to address the issues we face as a global community. This passion has taken me as far as Tuvalu, where I worked with community members and government officials in the wake of Cyclone Pam, then to Uganda, where, together with journalists and activists, I re-evaluated and developed new software and training to ensure their safety and security.
Time in Timor-Leste was an opportunity to develop a design thinking-based entrepreneurship training and immersive experience around food security for innovators across the Pacific. We explored the use of VR technology and storytelling to inspire the further development of a regional innovation ecosystem. The experience of designing and helping to run a community-sourced hardware incubator, Next Top Makers — a program of Futureworks NYC, that connects manufacturers, startups, services, spaces and partners to build a “21st-century production economy” for New York — has been equally rewarding and valuable.
The most powerful connection is that between the heart and mind. Once that connection is made, any type of change is not only possible but very likely to happen! Media, particularly storytelling, is the perfect vehicle to facilitate that connection. I look forward to bringing my global background in the development/accompaniment of entrepreneurs to our Matter cohort and sharing how to think about the larger system of media through the lens of entrepreneurship. Let’s get ready for this grand adventure together. I can’t wait to hear about your learnings and I’ll definitely be eager to share mine.