Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Only Love Can Save The World: Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, a time for breakthroughs

In honor of what would have been my mother's 98th birthday, I published an essay on the HuffPost sharing my memory of how brave she was when I was ten years old. Seeing the movie "Wonder Woman" caused me to remember this very painful - but extraordinary, given what my Mom did - period in my life. And the film helped me finally understand that it was the depth of my Mom's love for my sister and I that caused her to literally risk her life to do what she did.

I have been thinking a lot about the lesson of the film: "Only love can truly save the world". More on that in a moment, but first this...

While writing this essay was a huge breakthrough for me, the miracle that then happened blew me away! Thanks to the power of social media, Gal Gadot saw my essay and liked it so much that on Sept 12th she shared it on Twitter... adding "There truly is a little Wonder in ALL of us!" 💕

This extraordinary act of generosity on Gal's part follows a connection I've felt with her, Wonder Woman, and her film since last year (when I went to both the Wonder Woman at the UN event in celebration of gender equality and R.I. ComicCon... where I actually got to speak briefly with Gal while getting her autograph). It also builds on the relationship I've had with the entertainment world in general since childhood. 

That world has been my ongoing source of hope and inspiration since I first watched reruns of the Adventures of Superman on TV as a child (along with shows like Sky King, Sea Hunt, and Leave It To Beaver) through the original Star Trek (so many important personal values lessons) and Batman (so much joy on display from those wonderful crime fighters) from ages 11-13 to more recent series like Battlestar Galactica (again, many important value lessons). The number of motion pictures that have helped me think about life are too numerous to mention, but I share a special fondness for the first Superman film with Wonder Woman's director, Patty Jenkins. I loved the sincerity and personal integrity of Christopher Reeve's performance that I posted this video so people could study this key character moment (which is also a commentary on our times)...

I have spent more than 25 years working to champion the advanced problem solving methods I first discovered during my career as an engineering program manager.  And while I had some success within such networks as the American Society for Quality, the Association for Quality & Participation, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the UN Global Compact, and the 100 Year StarShip project (and even got to experiment with using Star Trek to make organizational strategy development inspirational and fun), my work now has much more heart in it than ever before. I have Wonder Woman (the film) to thank for helping me reach into that forgotten part of myself. And I have Gal Gadot to thank for showing me that my personal story - not just what I've learned from the management gurus I studied with - can make a difference.

At a time when our real world seems headed for an increasingly dangerous, potentially global crisis (not just in how we relate to Mother Earth but in how we relate to Each Other), I have seen many calls for us all to go beyond where we've gone before in our personal efforts to end this crisis and help make the world a better place.

With my newfound awareness of the importance of love in this "getting out of the crisis" equation, I am now working to add that perspective to how people view the innovation-focused, continuous learning and improvement-based philosophies I champion in my writings and talks. There is a "new design for our world" out there waiting to be seen and then implemented. It is a "design" based on a "love of new knowledge", a "love of learning", a "love of asking questions", and a "love of how being human means not being perfect... of loving making mistakes, because they are opportunities to learn and improve". And it is based on a "love of the diverse nature of the human family... a love of the fact that we are NOT all the same... a love of how that means there's a lot to learn from each other's cultures". 

The thinking "science" of such principles as "discontinuous change" (brilliantly presented by Russ Ackoff in his TEDTalk-like presentation) is still critically important...

But I believe now that people will never be comfortable using such thinking "tools" if they still live in a world dominated by fear. Fear leads the masses to follow so-called "strong man" leaders (as Trump claims to be). Love leads us to be open to exploring places we've never been before.... sometimes partnered with people we've never partnered with before.

I believe this new "human social system" design can begin to be marketed and implemented in America first (the land of new beginnings) and spread throughout the world soon afterwards. And I believe the corporate social responsibility movement (AKA the sustainable business community) is the ideal place for this process to begin. I envision a partnership forming that ultimately includes such forward thinking wealthy people as Mike Bloomberg (business), Oprah Winfrey (entertainment), and Bill Gates (philanthropy) ... and mainstream entertainment companies (Disney, Paramount, etc)... but also including entertainment leaders who reach us at a personal level through music, film, sports, and more. Beyonce, Bruce Springfield, Emma Watson, and Tom Hanks are just a few of the names that come to mind.... and the wonderful Gal Gadot! 

As a relatively unknown actor now identified with the values of her Wonder Woman character, Gal now has the potential to be a unique beacon of hope ... an inspirational public voice calling for a future which embodies the broad definition of love I have mentioned above. I believe love of our fellow members of the human family is critical. But I also believe love of the qualities that make us human (curiosity, experimentation, sharing knowledge so as to increase the collective wisdom, etc) is critically important too. And Gal's "brand" has a lot of love in it now, thanks to Wonder Woman! Here's one scene that shows that very well...

I am working to connect with Gal about all this now. (If you believe you can help, please contact me.) And I will be attending the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in NYC October 12-13. Wish me luck finding people there who are willing to push the frontiers of the sustainable business movement!

Here's to a day when everyone discovers (or rediscovers) that "only love can truly save the world"! 💗

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Announcing The Integrity Day Project

On July 12th, I posted a "work in progress" manifesto on IntegrityDay.org, the site for my new project. I invite you to comment on what I've written. I will post again here at Trimtab Management Systems when the manifesto is complete and has been published elsewhere.

July 12th is sustainability pioneer Buckminster Fuller's birthday and is the day I intend to become a global day of celebration for all things related to transitioning humanity from a scarcity-based, win-lose, cut throat competition, constant war-between-different-cultures social system to a social system based on abundance, everyone-can-win, cooperation (where 1+1=3, 4, or more), and peaceful coexistence and sharing of knowledge between different cultures.

The Integrity Day Project will both celebrate those other, related projects and be an educational project itself. Its educational programs will be offered to the public, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governments.

The quest for global peace and prosperity has a long history. What isn't commonly known is that breakthroughs in the physical and social sciences over the last 50 years has finally made achieving that quest possible. There is much humanity needs to learn (and to unlearn) to do so, and the mission of the Integrity Day Project will be to facilitate the realization by a critical mass of humanity that this is now true.  "Until the people demand it, their leaders can't give it to them" is an expression that comes to mind. The Integrity Day Project will enable its participants to be the leaders who bring about this transformation!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Steve Brant speaks on World Peace at Rotary International's NYC Club

On April 13, 2017, I had the honor of presenting my work to Rotary International's NYC Club, when I spoke on a Systems Thinking approach to World Peace. 

I want to thank my Rotary sponsor and club board member, Larry Cohen, for making it possible for me to speak at the Rotary Club that's been associated with the UN since the UN was created in 1945.

The main points I made in my 30 minute talk were these:

The world needs a new road map for achieving World Peace, because our current approach - based on mechanical thinking, where fixing broken parts seems to be the way to go - isn't working.

I told why my own life’s story led me at an early age to seek out a better, more peaceful world and led me to begin researching the subject more formally in 1979. 

I explained (with help from a video of Buckminster Fuller) how humanity must break free of the fundamental belief in “scarcity of resources” that is the root cause answer to the question “Why do we fight?”. 

I discussed how Hollywood has an essential role to play in teaching the public (“telling the story”) that scientific advancement now permits humanity to replace scarcity with abundance-based thinking… the kind of macro historic shift explored in historian James Burke’s landmark “The Day the Universe Changed” TV series.

I made the point that this new approach will show the public that sustainable development is about not just healing the relationship between humanity and Mother Earth but healing the relationship between humanity and itself. 

And I ended my talk by referring to Rotary’s “making a difference” theme for 2017-2018, how its history of working to end the threat of polio is analogous to viewing achieving world peace as a global mental “health challenge", and how (in the final film clip I showed) film star Tom Hanks once said that achieving a “power of cooperation” breakthrough - as existed during the Apollo space program - could lead humanity to achieve “the impossible”. 

Here is the video of my talk:

And here are the slides and videos I used: