Viewpoint: The Ownership of Ideas

Where do you begin when you seek to stoke your imagination or fuel your curiosity? Personally, I seek out big ideas and bold action being taken by others – and one great place to find a LOT of those is TED. For anyone unfamiliar, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and the organization boasts what is perhaps the largest repository of “ideas worth sharing” to be found anywhere on the Internet.

It has been a long-time dream of mine to share the TED stage, and I am humbled to say that I have been invited to deliver a TEDx talk at the upcoming TEDxQuinnipiacU on April 30th. I will be presenting one of the core ideas that is foundational to our work and vision at A Tipping Point. 

That said, the purpose of this post is much more important than a promotion for a talk that may or may not leave me in a flop sweat reminiscent of another Ted (from the TV show Scrubs).

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Last week I took the train down to New York for its first ever Circular City Week. In the whirlwind 24 hours that followed, I was introduced to cutting-edge approaches to building design and creation, drank coffee from the “next-gen cup” you may soon see at every Starbucks, looked out over Midtown Manhattan from the Finnish Consulate, received a crash course in the current state of drinking straw innovation, reconnected with incredible friends… and got hit upside the head by a couple of profound realizations. 

More on some of that to come.

Right now, I want to offer one of the realizations I took away from listening at Circular City Week. It was brought on, as many things are, by something that someone else said somewhat casually. That something (heavily paraphrased) was that:

“The words ‘pursuit of happiness’ are perhaps the most dangerous words in our Constitution . . .

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This afternoon I met Faith. She greeted me with a warm smile as I walked through the familiar vestibule and into Rice Pot, a favorite Thai restaurant near my apartment in New Haven. We had never met before, but our mutual love for the natural world and all things circular had inspired her to reach out to me a couple of days ago.

Faith works at one of the largest and most influential companies in the world. When I asked her how she came to be working on circular economy projects within that particular organization, she simply responded, “I created my job.”

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Viewpoint: Decoupling Growth and Fulfillment

I sometimes struggle, as I believe we all do from time to time, to articulate things that I feel to be right or true. Language, as beautiful a gift as it is, has its limitations.

When I attempt to explain why I feel that some of my more “extreme” views amount to something of a moral imperative given our collective state of polarization and ecological crisis, my words often feel lacking. My heart knows something that my mind cannot yet see, let alone explain.

One such belief of mine is that economic growth is not the answer to all our problems and must be re-examined as a priority. This position, especially at a time when the dominant narrative is that we must grow to survive and that such growth is a precondition for greater equality, seems radical and unfounded. Yet I believe that a better world will emerge from deeper soil and compassion, not deeper pockets. And I am not alone.

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