Nurturing the ecology of talent as well as individual talent
The collective genius of people is the most powerful tool we have work on the world’s problems.
Each intervention we make plants a seed in the ground. Some lie fallow. Some grow into small, beautiful organisms. Some grow like mycelium under the ground, invisibly entangling themselves before breaching the surface as far as the eye can see.
I have decided to be more deliberate about the part of my work that nurtures this system. Here is my plan.
#1: Operationalise diversity as a superpower
I am going to stop thinking about diversity as “ESG” and deliberately think about it as a superpower. When I allow it to be a checkbox, it will not be nurtured. If I believe it brings advantage, I will put in the time.
- Scavenge & hunt for diversity. This means not accepting the easy flow of possible candidates for roles. There is one by the way, and this is how we end up re-enforcing shallow pools of talent. I will find new networks and pull people into new experiences.
- Know which communities I operate in. Understand what they want and what they can bring to the ecosystem. Think about how to measure that.
- Discover new communities. This means ‘tuning in’ to other voices, spending time in different online and offline communities, learning new ways of seeing.
- Make surprising hires. Our second hire in our infinite plastic recycling company was a creative director. More of that.
#2: Habitually share what I think about and build
As strong ideas are discovered, they should be shared. The more people that can use them and build upon them, the better for the community in general. We’ve been doing it for hundreds of years in science. Let’s take that approach to all ideas.
- Is this an internal idea or a public post? Ask this question whenever I make something. Does it really need to be in my private journal or might others find this helpful? Should that memo on a new thesis for the firm be emailed to 10 people or shared on Twitter? Default to public.
- Share tools and playbooks. As we operationalise things, share them. No one should be re-inventing the wheel. Find the patterns, share them with a larger group to test the repeatability. Then share to a larger group.
- Find new channels. I am writing every day on Twitter. But where else should ideas be shared? I am building my tribe but where else should I share?
#3: Play the infinite game
In the infinite game, there are no winners and losers — only the game. The task is to keep the game in motion. Competing to the point that some people lose, destroys momentum. Many of the solutions we are building require new industries to rise and this can’t be done alone.
- Ask — do you really need to compete on this? What could we do together? Could we breakthrough faster if we do so collectively?
- Consider which technology should be open sourced. Which technologies should be protected as advantage and which would cause a new category to rise faster if shared? Like Tesla sharing its patents.
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