TVC078 Emergent Stephen Scott Johnson
Welcome back to my Influencer Series episodes. this time talking movements, culture and the ripple effect, with Emergent author and culture king Stephen Scott Johnson.
A genius in the world of creativity, innovation, advertising and creating movements, Stephen is passionate about helping people connect with their purpose and igniting that in people and organisations.
How do companies and people can create a sense of shared purpose that unites collaboration and connection on a large scale. How do they do this for meaningful impact?
Emerging Creative Insights and Connection
Whether it was business or personal, it was about movements. What aligns with your purpose, and what you stand for as an individual?
When we first met Stephen and I started talking about creating insights and connection for people to accountably live the life they want to. “What if we could have a conversation? Actually really connect with these people, and what would that look like?”
Stephens journey and the focus of his work for the past 20 years has been around fuelling stronger and more authentic engagement. The movement focus started on a non for profit mission years ago.
Blending Purpose and Projects – Where it began and UNICEF
Passionate about the environment and people having access to medicine and health services, Stephen was invited to help out on a project with UNICEF. The goal was to distribute insecticide impregnated mosquito nets. That’s, he says, is where it all really started.
With a million infants dying a year from malaria, part of that problem was getting the nets to people that needed them the most. In the really remote places in the world. The UN had an agenda to distribute 20 million nets by 2012.
Unfortunately the fund raising channels in not for profit were all competing against one another, so it was this dying model within an even bigger dying model. Stephens answer – what if we could get them all connected and working together? They found a way to leverage the principles of movements, to connect them all to each other, for extraordinary results.
This movement became the Undercover Movement, and it became the UN Malaria Envoy, the World Malaria Envoy, which delivered it’s 20 million nets two years before it’s target.
Making A Movement At Home and At Work
So how do you translate shared purpose when you’re working with organisations. How do individuals find their purpose in a company and at home?
When co-creation of a higher purpose that we all believe the perspective shifts, there is an opportunity and an invitation for organisations to ask
- Are there social problems that intersect with our business?
- If so how can we address them through our operation?
Then the importance of getting staff, clients involved and all their partners and suppliers involved in co-creating that higher purpose. This is when you create critical aspiration to something that’s bigger than you or me, and the organisation.
Moving from Selfish To Selfless
There’s a well known quote from former AFL coach, Neale Daniher “It’s not what we say, it’s what we do. It’s not being selfish, it’s being selfless.”
When organisations move from being selfish into selfless, and when individuals do that, the connection to the greater purposes.
- It starts at home.
- It starts within you, and it’s the conscious leadership, it’s actually how you bring yourself to a situation first and foremost.
- Then how you do that with one and two and three people, a few other people and then how does that impact the culture of the place you’re working in.
The distinction between working with, not for, and innovating with not for.
When you innovate with, you unlock a level of innovation and creativity that isn’t possible in any other measure, it’s really powerful.
Conscious Leadership In Life
There’s no real recipe for emergence and a movement. It starts with having presence and a mindset of possibility and or a growth mind set, others would call it.
When you pause to reflect on the impact you create, you start to actually think about
- Am I comfortable with myself
- How do I show up?
- How does my personality, and how does my behaviour impact my environment?
- Does it add value to it?
- Does it really kind of disrupt but not in a good way?”
- What does a contribution look like, and how can you create more impact?
It’s not to say that you have to become something else, but I talk about becoming something more. Because all of your history is really important and relevant to where you are now, and where you go in the future.
The Takeaways To Be Emergent
One: Is to pause and listen, sense your environment, sense what’s going on around you, and then based on what you sense, respond.
Sense your environment.
Two: Do not be afraid to collaborate, be interdependent, not independent.
So when you’re an island, or you isolate yourself, learn about the value of actually listening and then being empowered to collaborate.
Three: Be curious all the time, to never have a fixed mind around anything, that be open to the possibility that something you didn’t see, or sense before, is actually is right in front of you, there to be explored and tapped into.
More than anything else, we all have the ability to connect, to ensure what we do and how we interact creates a higher purpose, a positive impact – even if it’s just in our immediate environment. The smallest ripples can create the largest impact over time.
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Special thanks to Stephen for his time and Ben Mack Productions for filming that day.
Yours in Vitality