“There is a danger that … society will become a class society unless service workers attain both income and dignity… ‘A healthy business,’ ‘cannot exist in a sick society.’” – Peter Druker
Last Friday I spoke at Wesleyan’s first African Innovation Summit. See blog post here.
I figured it best to focus on what gets me up in the morning – the opportunity to see human dignity in action. I believe people deserve a moment where they stand on the top of the metaphorical mountain and say, ‘Today I am the master of my fate and captain of my destiny’.
Although it’s not easy, it means the following things for me:
Create space for the inherent discussion of values, assumptions, processes and roles which innovation brings. If something is disruptive, and development almost always is – people need to come to terms with what it all means.
Don’t get so wrapped up in my purpose that I forget my role in the system. I’ll worry about being a good change management advisor and ignore the fact that I’m actually the communication glue between all levels of actors in a project. Knowing my purpose and my role helps me figure out sustainability needs and find partners that truly complement the role I play in the society/system/institution I’m working with.
Finally I need to remember to sweat the details. The details make the difference between a technical solution and an experience that is transformational. Making people feel valued, heard, giving them time to think and build trust. Nowhere is this more evident than in the health sector where ignoring traditional norms, ignoring how health workers engage with clients leads to disastrous results. People want to be respected and they want to be treated with dignity. Our solutions are not enough, the process and experience with which we provide them matters too.
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