New frameworks for entrepreneurial ecosystem building and life.
In January of 2020, before the pandemic lockdown, I was at a gathering of futurists in Charlotte, NC. The assorted disciplines represented included economists, academics, ecosystem builders, entrepreneurs and the simply curious. There, I was introduced to a book by Yancey Strickler, co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, “This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World”. I was intrigued by the title, and put it on my ever growing list of books to read.
In the months that followed, like the rest of the world, I sought solace, sense and sanity in the new normal of chaos, uncertainty and misinformation. Learning to adapt was challenging, because the situation was ever evolving. Grasping a tangible guide seemed impossible, no compass existed.
That summer I decided to take a road trip and travel to the northeast coast to avoid the heat and spiking COVID numbers that plagued my state (Oklahoma). Along the way, I listened to the book, and at the risk of sounding cliche, it changed my life.
For the past few years, I have worked in the emerging field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building. It is a holistic and system level approach at the intersection of community building and economic development. A great deal of the work has been focused on defining and articulating this for a wider audience. Thanks to a global community of ecosystem building practitioners, there has been discernible momentum. Not only new thinking, but applying methodologies that have been investigated and refined by people like Donella Meadows, Peter Block, Margaret Wheatley and Otto Scharmer.
In reading “This Could Be Our Future”, I discovered a simple and eloquent structure which helped me map out the goals and vision I work on, personally and professionally. I was elated by the intention of moving beyond financial maximization as THE objective and looking beyond here and now. In the book, Yancey shares how progress is usually depicted as a hockey stick swoosh in an upward trajectory from left to right. He shared how decisions effect other people and evolve over time, but we seldom pay adequate attention to the rest of it. We needed to move BEyond Near Term Orientation, and the BENTO was born. Excited by this discovery, I joined…