Needed Now More Than Ever

Dr. David A. Bray

Distinguished Fellow

Stimson Center

"We the People": choices and compromises—both recognized as central

A few days ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to give the closing keynote at an event of folks from the private sector, public sector, non-profits, and academia focused on "building bridges" across these different sectors for the purpose of innovation. The closing talk was on "The Importance of Civic Innovation" and stressed that:

  • Building Bridges Is Needed Now More Than Ever
  • Innovative Spirits Are Needed Now More Than Ever
  • We the People Are Needed Now More Than Ever

At the same time anyone seeking to introduce changes or help lead innovation should be prepared to encounter flak. Our human systems are designed to resist change, and leading requires you to step outside the expectations of others -- which means incurring friction. Leaders need to be prepared to manage that friction, brave that heat, and don their flak jackets to help make change occur.

The best leaders work across sectors -- private, public, non-profits, and academia. Multiple parties, multiple benefits.

Needed Now More Than Ever

A great endeavor, of courage, creativity, and ideas from us all

I closed by sharing the first four stanza's of Rudyard Kipling's "If --" (1895) and then, with all respects to Kipling, added four more of my own in his style, appropriate for our modern day challenges and shared opportunities.

Thoughts, comments, and feedback welcomed below:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can serve multiple parties, including the greater good
Though none may ever notice what you endure,
If you can innovate solutions so together we could
Choose to make our world prosperous and secure;

If you can embody what “We the People” stands for:
Choices and compromises—both recognized as central,
Then yours is a society sharing a great endeavor
Of courage, creativity, and ideas from us all.

Sep 17, 2015