Please Stop trying to change the world

I just finished Vivian Gornick’s wonderful book on how to write personal narrative, called The Situation and the Story. In it, Gornick explains how crafting personal stories with broad appeal—rather than boring personal anecdotes (the “I guess you had to be there” stories)—requires detachment. Only by putting some distance between ourselves and our own personal

Empathy begins with language

Lucy Kellaway writes funny commentaries on business in her podcasts for the Financial Times. On the 16th of June, in one called “Descent Into Drivel is a Sign of Apple’s Fall” she takes on the language of Apple’s recruiting ads as a sign of its impending demise. Her point is well taken. Apple says they’re

Design for Social Innovation, Moving Past the Assembly Line

The most pressing challenge businesses face isn’t finding new opportunities for growth and market share; it’s changing the

You Gotta Get Out More

Why being humbled by nature will make you a better social innovator (and a better human). I was knocked out by the responses to my recent post on “Creating our Way to Well-Being”, particularly by the number of people who shared their relationships with nature. And, I was saddened by the stories of glorious times

Heller Good. An Accidental Visionary Mashes up Design, Social Innovation

It’s hard to sum up Cheryl Heller. She’s a fine artist, CEO of Heller Communication Design, chair of

Sappi Design Partners Awarded Top Honors in Design Industry

This year AIGA, the professional association for design, is recognizing 24 design leaders, among them Cheryl Heller and Dana Arnett, who have been vital to shaping the Sappi brand over the past two decades. Patti Groh, who has been with Sappi for 21 years—first at SD Warren, then Potlatch—has worked closely with both of them, and

The Start of Sappi’s Ideas that Matter: Cheryl Heller

  In 1999, Sappi received a suggestion that we start a cause-related program for designers and end-users. The goal of the program was to recognize design on paper that benefited worthy causes. Not only would this new program help bring attention to the power of design and communication on paper, but it would also reinforce

Mission? Vision? Values? Forget It.

Originally posted on “Rinse and re-use” should not apply to something as important as the expression of your enterprise and its future. One common misconception among entrepreneurs is the belief (because they’re told repeatedly) that they need to capture their business idea – however radical – in the structured and declarative statements called mission, vision

Creating Our Way To Wellbeing

Originally posted on I have felt for a long time that there are giant, simple truths about the

How To Make Conflict A Tool For Social Change

Why we should relish difficult conversations and be grateful for the conflict in our lives. Do you avoid

Being A “Ms./Mr. Fix-It” Is An Approach to Life

Originally posted on In social innovation (and in everything else for that matter), there’s a very important distinction

Putting It All On The Table: Art As A Force For Social Change

Of all the forms that social innovation and social enterprise take around the world, we rarely think of art as one of them. But maybe we should. Art has the power to transform – perhaps far greater than the stuff we’ve been trying. Last Friday, a gallery exhibit opened in New York for the express

Are you a generalist who dreams of being an expert? Read this.

Have you ever heard the advice “pick one thing and stick to it”? Many entrepreneurs have a very hard time specializing in just one thing. Take comfort in these wise and inspiring words, because a world full of specialists is a sad and unforgiving place.  This was written for In February of 2008, in

The New Design: Business Tool For Innovation

Originally posted on Justmeans The traditional purview of design in business is the making of objects and other artifacts. The traditional view of designers is as talented but narrow experts who are guided by their own personal vision when determining (dictating when they can) what the world, or the company, needs next. Now there’s a new