Mar 30, 2012

I've spent the last few days at the Skoll Forum in Oxford, where ServiceSpace received one of the few scholarships for their annual "celebration of social entrepreneurs" that featured a wide array of change makers. A humble Antonio Meloto, when asked about running for president of Philippines, said, "I value the freedom to serve more than the power to rule." Leading neuro scientists talked about understanding behavior change through brain analysis; for example, on the tax forms, UK government added a line: "9 out of 10 people in Britian pay their taxes on time" and that increased participation by 15%, and yieled an additional 160M pounds in tax contributions. The ever so inspiring Larry Brilliant, a long time ambassador of ServiceSpace, led a panel with Arianna Huffington, Helene Gayle (CEO of Care), Ian Goldin (Oxford), Joe Cirincione (Ploughshares Fund) -- and had them all reflecting on inner transformation, in light of the global tragedy of the commons. "We have to cultivate wisdom and for that our global village needs elders," someone noted. The founder of Tostan spoke about how they changed social norms in Africa (where female genital mutilation was originally celebrated by the communities) -- "In the first five years, there were only 5 communities that embraced nonviolence against women; when didn't know when it would tip, but we just kept honoring the process and in the next five years, over 5000 communities joined." The head of Sierra Club quipped, "I realized I was well-briefed but not well informed."  Lots of great folks. Of course, you do meet leaders who believe that if you can't prove empathy or social capital with quantifiable metrics, then it means the idea is not good enough.  And there's an overarching addiction to "solving the problems of the world" and an unspoken affair with "scale" but you did have those who felt that "Life is not like a game of chess to beat, but a Jackson Pollack's painting to appreciate."  It was a nice opportunity to scatter a few seeds of giftivism. :)  Like this morning, I had lunch with an Evangelical congressmen (a really nice guy!), who spoke about Jesus's "law of love" and was very taken by Karma Kitchen. :)  

Bookmark and Share


Projects I'm Involved With

"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."