Monday, November 19, 2018

Celebrating Thinking Differently at the MI2 Forum

Guest Blogger:
Emily Paku
Program Coordinator
One of my biggest takeaways from the MI2 Forum, was during Steven Johnson’s session. Johnson, innovation expert and author of ‘Farsighted’, stressed the importance of mapping out alternate scenarios when making decisions and shifting from “whether or not” to “what if”. An example he shared was the High Line in Manhattan, NY. The High Line was a high traffic railroad where freight trains transported food. In the 1980s, use of the train dwindled leaving city council asking “whether or not” they’d demolish the structure. At the same time, a resident of the community rallied neighbors encouraging the city council to preserve the structure and asked “what if” they turned the structure into a park. Today, the High Line is one of NYC’s most popular park and has stimulated real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods increasing real-estate values near the park. The decision to turn the old structure into a park was made by community members with diverse background and experiences. Johnson further clarified the importance of diversifying your own interests and hobbies to which consequently diversifies your own approach to making decisions (e.g. a MedStar Investigator during the day, a rock star at night).
With the High Line success story in mind, I left the forum thinking differently and understanding the importance of diversifying my hobbies and making future-oriented decisions. Who knows, one day you may find me performing on stage with the Foo Fighters!

Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager
Each year that I attend the Mi2 forum, I find something to takeaway with me and apply to my regular work and life. This year, I had the pleasure of attending with other MHRI associates who had never experienced the event and their fresh eyes found different parts important.
For this year, I found a few things that really resonated with me:
  • Diversity trumps ability in teams, with those teams that include a wide variety of members out-performing and producing more than teams on one type. This is tied to thinking about teams as more than just those in the room: is your idea of team inclusive enough?
  • A well designed city park can have the same long-term impact as street grids.
  • Is the 3- to 5-year plan the right approach? Perhaps using a 6-month plan and a 15-year plan, like most of silicon valley, will get me closer to where I want to be.
  • It’s not always what question you ask: it’s what causes you to ask the question in the first place.

If you are interested in learning more, the entire event was live-streamed and the videos archived. The archives of the Forum live stream videos are available here.  And over the next few weeks, the official videos of the presentations will be posted on the same site:

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