Many writers set out with the intention of writing a book, many fail for a myriad of reasons, this is mine.
First, I want to talk about ‘failure’. I work with entrepreneurs, and as an ecosystem builder, I speak about the notion of failing as ceasing to do something you planned to do, in the manner in which you thought you would. While dictionary definitions connect the word to abandonment, lack of success and/or achievement and falling short somehow; I do not associate that level of profound loss and decline to trying and not doing. This does not mean I do not take the work seriously or I am not sad it didn’t come to fruition, I choose not to be devastated or labelled because I tried and it didn’t come out the way I had envisioned. It’s what I tell the entrepreneurs I mentor, and in my effort to model what’s needed to create what’s possible, I am embodying my ideals.
So, “The Book”…
After a couple of years of doing work in the nascent field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building, I felt it was time to take the things I learned and put it out into the world. There were a couple of reasons for this. I went from someone who was introduced the term; “ecosystem building” before it became a buzzword, to a volunteer ideating and grokking on what it was and how to do it, to an active participant nationally and globally. Individuals and organizations seek me out to learn more and I have had the honor and privilege of a system level, field view. As I have shared before, I don’t have all the answers, though I have the benefit of direct engagement with a large number of people who are doing this work, and have been at it since before Dan Isenberg used the term in his Harvard Business Review article (wiki reference). So, over the years, I have gained parts of the answer and learned a great deal about systems level thinking, complexity science, abundance mindset, community building and complex adaptive systems from thought leaders such as: Donella Meadows, Carol Dweck, Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block, Otto Sharmer and Peter Senge.
My contract work with the Kauffman Foundation as a consultant supporting ecosystem building practitioners in the field ended Dec 2020. The emails, LinkedIn requests and calls did not, however. For much of 2021 Q1, I tracked the reasons why people reached out. They fell into 3 buckets:
- What the heck is ecosystem building and how do you do it?
- How did you reinvent yourself/…