2017: The Way We Work

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Carrie Freeman is the managing partner of SecondMuse, responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the company. Carrie is a thought leader on the roles and intersection of technology, sustainability, innovation and corporate responsibility. Prior to joining SecondMuse, Carrie worked for Intel Corporation as Director of Sustainable Business Innovation pioneering strategies such as a corporate impact investing fund and developing technology market solutions to solve global sustainability challenges. Carrie shares these poignant thoughts about the way we work.

In the last century the world has seen an unprecedented expansion of economic activity that has generated material prosperity for many, but not for all. The prevailing approach to economic expansion is beginning to undermine the local and global ecosystems on which human health and well-being depend. The speed of global change can compound these challenges, but can also present opportunities to address them. At SecondMuse, we want to disrupt the prevailing system in a positive way by seeking out these opportunities in order to create a more just and equitable world.

We believe in the oneness of humanity. As such, we actively promote the equality of all people and work towards the elimination of all forms of prejudice. We believe that all humans should have a life of dignity, beauty and abundance.

We also believe that collective prosperity begins with authentic and organic connections.

Inclusion: Human beings are born with the tools to do good and work together, so we take a human-centered approach to problem-solving. That means understanding that all humans, regardless of race, creed, gender, socio-economic status or nationality can make change happen. They must not only be heard, but sought out. Working together makes us stronger.

Empathy: We are empathetic to those we try to help and listen with fresh ears to their stories. We then ask questions in order learn and understand. Attempting to change the world isn't easy, but the struggle to do so can bring out the best in people; their compassion, their strength, their intelligence and their joy. When we harness that human energy, we can indeed change the world together.

Movement Creation: We define and convene changemakers and then create movements. We empower people to discover and mobilize around their shared ideas together. In this way, we give authentic people and ideas the space they need to inspire one another and perhaps become something that we may not have planned for them.

Emerging Technology: As we build engagements and movements around our work, we turn to the power of big data and immersive media to create connections and intimate bridges between otherwise disconnected human experiences. Corporations and governments are turning to big data to improve the quality of life for their citizens and customers, as well as improving environmental conditions, public health, public service delivery and citizen engagement. Cutting-edge technologies, like virtual and augmented reality, are the kind of breakthrough innovations that will disrupt business as we know it. Thanks to social media and crowdsourcing storytelling campaigns, we can share stories across borders and invite people to look for a part of themselves in us, around the digital sphere. In this way, we create spaces for people to find their collective voice, and the resources for it to manifest into something great.

At SecondMuse, we believe human beings possess intrinsic capacities for altruism and collaboration. Rather than focusing on just a small part of a larger problem, we look to systemic solutions, ways to fix not only one minor obstacle, but to alter the trajectory of the global infrastructure. We need big solutions for big problems.

Tackling such a large task is daunting, but there are steps we can take to make our goals attainable. First we need to break down the organizational silos that so often inhibit progress. We do that by collaborating, creating a space for open dialogue, and encouraging universal participation. We must be honest and clear in all our interactions - with our partners, with the communities with which we work, and most important, with each other.

We must be empathetic and see the world from other points of view, rather than just our own. We need to engage with people affected by global change and understand how their stories relate to the problems we are trying to solve. That requires listening to them, really listening without any preconceived notions and then asking questions that help us more deeply understand their environment and how their individual stories relate to the larger problems.

That way, we possess a willingness to learn and understand. Finally, we need to create an environment where experimentation and creativity can flourish and touch all around us. We need to build the capacity to collaborate and innovate in all our partners, and in every step of our work.