ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘social responsibility’

EPA (and all of us) Need to Walk the Talk on Earth Day, with an Emphasis on “Walk”

Posted by Plish on April 22, 2014

Earth Day is a perfect day for people and organizations to ‘walk the talk’ about being ecologically friendly with their products and services.  It’s an opportunity to be innovative, to be creative with ways of making an impact on the world, to show that it’s not just talk.

I was extremely surprised then, when I saw that the EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, is jetting on  a week long, Earth Day themed tour.  Seriously.  Jetting?  When the EPA “ask(s) Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives,” shouldn’t the EPA lead the charge by doing things to reduce pollution?

With a little technology and marketing savvy, much more could be accomplished with much less environmental impact.

What would you think of these ideas?

  • A week long walking/bicycling caravan, with blogging of the entire trip.  Participants would be on “Good Morning America”, and other such shows.
  • A week of Skyping various news, daytime  and cooking shows. (Cooking? Heck yeah!! How much food is wasted, and waste created, in kitchens?)   Punctuate the week by having an open brainstorming discussion with Ms. McCarthy to allow the public to share ideas for ways to be more green.
  • Spend each day giving an interview from a mode of public transportation that’s more environmentally friendly.

 St. Francis of Assisi is the Catholic Church’s Patron Saint of the environment (I’ve created a non-denominational pledge to protect the environment, based upon the one in the hyperlink, below) .  There is a saying that is attributed to him that says: “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”  In other words, a lived message is more powerful, and preferred, to a spoken one.  Not that words aren’t necessary, but they are the secondary means of getting a message across.

Since environmental change begins within the hearts of people who change their behaviors, encouraging others to take “simple actions to reduce pollution,” while not living that message, is at best a lost opportunity, and at worst, a damaging activity – hurting the message and the environment.

What do you think of the EPA doing this?  What would you suggest would be more powerful from a messaging standpoint?

THE PLEDGE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

I / We Pledge to:

MEDITATE and reflect on the duty to care for the environment and how our decisions can also impact the poor, vulnerable, and voiceless in the world.

LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of damaging the environment.

ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, and other affiliations-contribute to environmental damage through our consumption, waste, etc.

ACT to modify our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to environmental damage.

BE AN ADVOCATE for environmentally protective principles and priorities in environmental discussions and decisions, especially as they can impact people who do not have a voice in these discussions.

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Posted in Co-Creation, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, nature, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Sustainable Technology, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Designing a Better World in the New Year

Posted by Plish on January 13, 2014

“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”

― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

The Life Influence Continuum - Click to see full size

Click To See Full Size

A New Year – New Beginnings in the Life Influence Continuum

Each person

A unique combination of genes

Growing in family that grows

Surrounded by friends (sometimes more, other times less)

At work

In society

Touching others

Being touched

Love and Trauma

Changing the now (and future generations!)

What are we designing?

Humans become Light through the touching of souls

Yet we limit embraces (Do we fear the Unique?)

Impoverishing the Continuum(s) –

Still, the Singularity calls…

~~~

What is the name of the Stream we swim?

Chaos? Where all is chance buffeting of semi-conscious molecules?

Time?  With Einstein’s pavers beneath oblivious feet?

Shadow?  We Dancing Projections of something beyond?

Hate? Tar and stenches of sulphur, inescapable…?

Love? Crystal aromas of joy, refracting soul Light – lifting, empowering…?

The Stream awaits its name –

live wisely…

~~~

People often say that Christmas isn’t about the gifts.

I disagree.

Christmas is about gifts.

It is ultimately about a gift of giving Self.

It is a Gift that can keep on giving – every day, every minute, every second…

Everyone can share that Gift…

Start today!

~~~

 

Posted in children, Co-Creation, Design, Evolution, Human Rights, innovation, Life Stages, Parents, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Giving Thanks, Changing the World and the Sacred Time Paradox

Posted by Plish on December 1, 2013

I wrote before on the Sacred Space Paradox.  The paradox is that as we set aside certain spaces like nature preserves and designate them ‘sacred’, by default we say that the rest of the world isn’t sacred in the same way.  As a result, instead of treating the entire world as a nature preserve, we relegate certain areas to ‘museum-esque’ status – meant to be interacted with in very controlled manners.

The corollary to the Sacred Space Paradox, is the Sacred Time Paradox.  We designate certain times as sacred and hence we behave in a certain manner in those times, but as a result, we de facto act in different ways during those ‘profane’ (not sacred) times.

Thanksgiving.

That special day in the year when we give thanks for all we have.  We give thanks for the bounty of harvest, for friends and family (and I am especially thankful for you, the reader!)  It is a time for togetherness and sharing.

So why do we make a point to be thankful but once a year? Is there anything that we do on Thanksgiving that we shouldn’t be doing every day?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to have a communal holiday that highlights giving thanks (at least in the ideal.)  But it’s important to be cognizant of the Sacred Time Paradox so that we can create a better world.

This weekend while relaxing post dinner, I came across this little blurb from Dear Abby in the local paper:

WP_20131129_001 (2)

Irrespective of the religious tone, each one of the lines is a great reminder of what it means to be truly thankful for something.  It’s not just about remembering, but about service and designing and innovating for others, to make their lives better.

That’s why I’m also including my “Thankfulness Process“.  I developed this flow chart to help us better understand what we’re thankful for and help us ponder ways in which we can transform that thankfulness into action.

thankfullnessprocessmichaelplishka2009

Let’s make a point to not fall too deeply into the Sacred Time Paradox.  Let’s reflect on what we’re thankful for more often, and more importantly, let’s use that thankfulness as an impetus to be more, and do more good, in this world.

Today, and every day, try and spend a few moments being thankful.  Not only can it help you be healthier, my wish for you is that it empowers you to create a better world for those less fortunate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in culture of innovation, Design, innovation, Philosophy, Social Innovation, The Future | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughts on Innovation and Design from Ukrainian Fashion Designer, Olga De NoGGa

Posted by Plish on April 6, 2013

DeNoGGa

 

 

 

On March 1st, Fashion Designer Olga De Nogga was in Chicago showcasing her designs at a fashion show sponsored and supported by ‘Ukrainian Women in Business’ as well as other Chicago community organizations.

I was fascinated by some of her work and wanted to get her thoughts on innovation and design.  Unfortunately, due to conflict,  I was not able to get to the show.  However, I was able to get a few questions to her and she was kind enough to take time out of her crazy travel schedule to answer them.  What follows is the interview and her thoughts.

Special thanks to Sofia Mikolyash and Iaroslava Babenchuk for  your indispensable contributions to the publication of this interview!

****Interview with Designer Olga De Nogga  –  March 2013****

What is your definition of innovation?

Overall, for me innovation is what impresses a human eye – something new and original – a new construction in clothing, some particular color solution. Innovation is a cornerstone of my creative method – starting from concept development for a collection, and finishing with its visualization in models.

 It seems that most of your materials are more traditional. What are your thoughts on new materials and newer manufacturing processes such as 3 dimensional printing? Any plans to use those in your future designs?

Intense, bright and open ways of expressing our reality has been always important for our nation as it is part of our self-identity, said Oleksandra Exter, a famous Ukrainian artist and experimenter. In my work you can see that. I always try to pay attention to new technologies, as it is important for a designer.  It allows me to see new horizons and widens the potential for new discoveries .But I also pay attention to the integrity of my personal style of designing so that it doesn’t get deformed by innovation and instead acquires plasticity and develops – it is important for a designer not to stop developing. Considering recent trends in innovation it is important for me nevertheless to stick to 100% natural fabrics.

What is it from the Ukrainian Culture that sings in your designs? In other words, what from the Ukrainian Cultural heritage are you trying to share and elevate through your design?

I can say for sure that it’s embroidery, colors – Ukrainian embroidery is generously colorful and particular. You can see that in my former collections and in the current one. The smoking jacket collection for women ‡ was dominated by bright colors that are not typical in smoking jackets. The construction of the jackets was also inspired by the traditional cut.

People are bringing a fashion sense to things that usually are not considered primarily fashionable – eye glasses, wheelchairs, canes, artificial legs and arms. What are your thoughts on this and in the bigger picture, what role does fashion design contribute to the growth of individuals and the growth of humanity?

I agree that contemporary fashion is changing very dynamically – each season – which is why many designers plug into their collections sometimes unnecessary or accidental pieces. At times they care more about the shock effect rather than the aesthetic value of such plug-ins. They are trying to attract attention to themselves that way. However, such designers very often lose the conceptual dimension of their work, and undervalue their search for new images and shapes. It is important to mention that contemporary fashion not only brings in new visual tendencies but also can address certain social aspects. Last year the Ukraine Fashion week was framed by a theme of Ecology, in particular focusing on water and ways to preserve water supply on the planet. Fashion weeks now highlight that it is fashionable to be healthy and that addresses certain social issues.

‡The word to describe the “Smoking Jacket” Collection is also the word used for tuxedos.

****End****

I am fascinated by  her thoughts about innovation getting in the way of natural development, which is very often what many companies want to happen.  Would love to flesh that out further with her some day over a cocktail.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Arts, creativity, Design, Fashion, innovation, Interviews, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Music, Art, Creativity, Nature and More – An Interview with Jon Anderson of YES

Posted by Plish on February 13, 2013

Check out this recent interview with Jon Anderson of YES.   (There is a sign-in on the page but you can click the ‘x’ and listen to the interview without registering if that is your choice.)

He shares perspectives on life, creativity, nature, music and more.

From the webpage:

Millions of enthusiastic concert goers during the 1970′s and early 1980′s had a marvelous treat on their hands, going from one progressive rock concert to another. Whether it was a live concert or gazing into the magnificent dreamlike artwork of Roger Dean or the sounds of Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Nektar or Yes, the music evoked beautiful images of the night sky, where we could gave at the shining stars and create our own “Wondrous Stories.”

Verge Multimedia’s Steven Zuckerman had the opportunity to spend about 40 minutes in conversation with world renown singer, songwriter and artist Jon Anderson who spent a majority of his career as the front-man of YES, bringing the audience into a world of beautiful imagery and ideas that resonated in the hearts of the band members.

Jon told (Zuckerman) that the music begins with the creator, and, in other words, flows through him. Composing and singing songs about the earth, environment, peace, love, harmony and beauty are not personal songs for the composer, but they’re Wondrous Stories (no pun intended) to arouse curiosity and confirm that as human beings, as part of this place we call our home, (we) need to be in balance with Nature, for without Nature, we are nothing. We are all part of the same material.

Said Zuckerman, “(While I) originally penned out several questions before the conversation, I tossed them aside to “just have a conversation.” We hope you will enjoy the conversation we had.”

Enjoy!

Posted in Arts, Creative Environments, creativity, Great Creative Minds, innovation, Interviews, meditation, Musical Creativity, nature, Nature of Creativity, Play, Social Responsibility, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Working For Peace (From a Thankful Place)

Posted by Plish on November 21, 2012

As we here in the United States get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, we can be thankful that even with the disagreements we have, we can still go to sleep and not have to worry about missiles landing on our homes.  In other parts of the world, people aren’t as fortunate.

In the Middle East, things are particularly sensitive right now.  Nevertheless, there are those that are working for peace in the midst of turmoil.  Wednesday morning (in the US), peacemakers and educators in Israel, Gaza and Palestine will gather together in a non-violent dialogue.  You can listen and be a participant by visiting the website here.

Let’s all share from our plenty.

~peace~

 

Posted in Human Rights, innovation, Politics, problem solving, Religion, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Innovative Model for Fundraising and Fomenting Change

Posted by Plish on October 5, 2011

This week I’m sharing a guest blog post (with a video showing some of their work) from Jimmy Lee, a co-founder of CreatePossible*.   He’s an inspiring dynamo of a person whose words, vision and innovative perspectives will surely inspire you.  So, without any further ado…

***

It has been almost four years since I left the White House in Washington DC and three years since I decided to run for the United States Congress in the State of Illinois. Since that time I decided I would come alongside strategic leaders in communities around the world to help them fulfill their vision of making a difference in communities they are a part of.

Two years ago my brother and I came together to start a company called CREATE POSSIBLE  to do just that . Together we were able to help numerous organizations/leaders raise $22 million dollars last year through three core values we believe in: relationship building, sustainability, and also partnerships.

As I’m learning from those around me (who are doing this so much better than myself) I thought I would find a way to share those lessons with you.

Each of you have been someone I have worked with in the past and I know your heart is to help the organization you are a part of to be strategic and innovative.

First lesson: What are some questions your organization should be asking in relation to your donors/investors?

1.) How is a donor/investor/corporation growing and reaching their own “personal” goals through their partnership with you?

2.) Is your organization measuring success by the number of givers/investor you attain or by funding amounts? What should success for the work you are doing be measured by?

3.) Do you only communicate with your givers/investors when you need money or when you are fundraising? How else can you be caring for them, communicating with them, and building a relationship with them?

4.) Do you still value your friendship and relationship with potential givers/investors even if they decide not to give to me? Is your relationship with these people based primarily on that?

5.) Do you have opportunities for givers/investors to donate outside of financial means – what does it look like for them to donate their time, their skills, their relationships, their network, etc…

6.) If you wanted a giver/investor to be an advocate for you to their network and their friends- would they be able to do that? What does it mean for someone to be an advocate of the work you are doing? Are we providing opportunities for that and coming alongside so they are successful in being able to share with their friends?

7.) Are you learning to be innovative as an organization in the different areas of development – or are you just copying from other models because it works and you assume it will work for us as well too?

8.) Are you too broad in what you are doing – do you need to be more specific and focused as you are looking to be more strategic in utilizing your resources?

9.) Are you learning to take steps one at a time – valuing the journey you are taking with your giver/investors and helping everyone in your network learn and learn through your partnership together?

10.) And finally, do you have too much staff and not stewarding your resources wisely? Are you raising money for the sake of raising money and quite honestly need to be cutting instead of adding?

What do we believe:

Old Model of Fundraising/Development

Organization —— Network —— Fundraising

In the old model of fundraising an organization accesses their network for the purpose of fundraising.

Success is defined by the number of donors attained and the amount of money that is raised.

New Model of Fundraising/Development

Organization —— Network —— Advocates —— Investor

We believe there is a more strategic model where success is defined by mutually beneficial relationships, partnership, and accountability. Here an organization accesses their network so they can become advocates of the organization and eventually investors to the organization. We look for opportunities where the network is valued for more than just their financial resources but valued for their own personal network, their skills, time, etc….The goal of the model is to create investors who are accountable and deeply involved in helping the organization fulfill the vision it was created for.

 

*- The CreatePossible site is glitchy in IE v9, but runs beautifully in Chrome.

Posted in Entrepreneurship 2.0, Funding Innovation, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility, Society, Start-Ups, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Building a Better World – A Lesson on Waste and Human Nature from the Internet

Posted by Plish on June 2, 2010

Humans have a tendency to see to  immense resources as inexhaustible…

Until they get close to exhaustion.

Water, our air, petroleum products, various plants and animals. They’re all examples of resources  humans use and use, often not being aware of the consequences until it’s too late.

So, I decided to check and see if another immense and inexhaustible resource was being misused by people.

The Internet.

And, it is.

While writing a post for this blog a couple days ago I noticed that one image I downloaded from the web was surprisingly large.  So, for kicks I decided to see if I could keep it the same quality but reduce the file size.  I didn’t do any tweaking of contrast or brightness.  Here are the results:

136k

 

58.6k

I was shocked.  The file was almost twice the size as what was needed.  Sure it’s not perfect but it still looks pretty good. I would venture to say that if you didn’t have the other one next to it you wouldn’t even know.  But, is this a pattern on the internet?   I went over to  5 other sites, and downloaded a few more pictures from them to see if this is a prevalent problem.  Below are two of the more glaring examples.    Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Best Practices, culture of innovation, Design, design thinking, innovation, problem solving, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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