Not all visions are equal. Some never get beyond the ‘motherhood and apple pie’ stage – good ideas that unleash no energy for change. Others transform the world.
“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” said Victor Hugo one hundred and fifty years ago. Yet, the power Hugo refers to remains elusive, carefully guarded by a paradox: there’s nothing more personal than a vision, yet the visions that ultimately prove transformative have nothing to do with us as individuals.
The seeds for transformation lie in seeing our reality more clearly, without preconceptions and judgments. When we learn to see our part in creating things that we don’t like, we can begin to develop a different relationship with our ‘problems’. We’re no longer victims. We become open to what might be possible, and we’re inevitably led to the question “So what do we want to create?”
Since forming Marmalade Fish I have been asking myself, what is the future that we want to create as a society, as a community, and what is the purpose of business in order to bring that type of future about?
One of my favourite sayings, attributed to Margaret Mead, has always been, never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. In my mind, you can do almost anything with just five people. With only one person, it’s hard. But when you put that one person with four or five more, you have a force to contend with. All of a sudden you have enough momentum to make almost anything that’s imminent or within reach actually real. I think that’s what entrepreneurship is all about – creating that kind of vision and force.
Simone Amber of Schlumberger, an innovator in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, once said:
It took me many years to take the step from idea to moving into action. Don’t blame yourself for that. What’s important is that you stay true to your intention. But once I took that first step, doors opened, helping hands began to show up. It was as if I have been put on a track.
Our job is to sense and seize opportunities as they arise. Whenever the real opportunities arise, it usually is not exactly where you expect it to happen. But when it does happen, and it resonates with your deeper intention, my advice is to act in an instant. At the One Young World Summit in Bangkok I asked Kofi Annan, “How do you change the world?” to which he replied, “Person by person, village by village, nation by nation.”