Posts tagged stories
Social movements are comprised of 4 things: ideas, narratives, symbols, and leaders.

Maajid Nawaz, Founder of Khudi and executive Director of Quilliam Foundation, the world’s first counter-extremism thinktank.

Really excited to have met the Khudi team with Reboot while in Islamabad last month.

Development + Design + Stories

What would happen if you combined design and systems thinking with international development initiatives. What if there were design ambassadors that worked within countries to help identify problems and enable local people to think critically through solutions. What if there were ways to encourage this. Educate about this. Develop an international literacy and understanding between cultures and across oceans. I think this kind of strategic, systemic and design oriented thinking could be really exciting. I think combined with the power of storytelling it could be even more exciting.

(Originally published on January 4, 2011)

Conversations make designers better explorers

I spent a bit of the afternoon reading about conversations.

I didn’t get very far before I was distracted by all the different voices in my head talking to each other, which reminded me that the most interesting conversations are oftentimes the ones you carry on with yourself. It also reminded me that these conversations are usually the most important, so here are some thoughts that have made their way into normal speech and onto the page:

As a designer and communicator, and as a person who is fascinated by the stories people tell, I love learning about the languages that people speak. I love their stories, am enthralled by their experiences and I am incredibly frustrated when I can’t have a conversation with someone simply (or not so simply) because I don’t know their language. Either I physically can’t form the sounds in my mouth and imbue them with a meaning that is comprehensible to the person sitting on the other side of the table - or my experiences are so different from theirs that, even with a common spoken language, I have few ways to understand the experiences or ideas they are trying to tell me about.

Conversations undeniably change the way we think about and interact with the people we engage with on a daily basis.They remind us that the real world - the one that is “out there” is different than the one we have created inside our heads and challenge us to find ways to bring the two closer together. I spent the majority of the past year traveling to places where people didn’t speak my language. It gave me a lot of time to talk to myself, but also afforded me huge opportunity to try and talk with people that I don’t understand. Not only because I literally can’t make out a single word they form on their lips - but also because they come from places and backgrounds that are completely foreign to me.

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Adventures in other places

i posted this on my Pakistan Blog a few months ago. The ideas are still very present so I thought i would repost - if for no other reason than to remind myself that the world is real. It is there. It has problems and stories to tell us. I’m itching for a way to get back out into it … sooner rather than later… 

July 21, 2010: I have just finished reading the entirety of a blog written by my dear friend Shannon who has spent the past two years in South Africa. It never ceases to amaze me the effects that our geography has on our experiences, our emotions, our likes, dislikes, our relationships and perceptions of the world. Without a doubt, place is important. I have come to understand through my own travels and the adventures of my close friends that, for lack of a better word, there is something very special about the places we go and the ways we choose to experience them. These places, whether they are far away or close to home, ingrain themselves and tie themselves inextricably to those experiences. A seemingly obvious statement, but something that makes itself undeniably apparent to me the more places I go. This past year I had the chance to visit Shan in South Africa, and can say without hesitation, that it is one of the most meaningful experiences with a particular geography I have had. I can say honestly that I have no idea what that means – I don’t know why I felt so connected to a place that I had never been before nor had ever really considered going to until I found myself with some spare time and a good friend who needed company. Perhaps it was this relationship that made the place pull on my heartstrings, maybe it was the landscape or the weather,the rich culture or painful history. Maybe it was simply the wonderful people I met and the amazing things we experienced. Maybe it was all of that. But maybe it was even more than that.  After reading through two years worth of Shannon’s adventures and insights, victories and heartbreaks, I cannot claim any true knowledge of the place except the miniscule bits and pieces that seeped into my three weeks there. I will say, that of all the places I have been, of all the streets I have wandered – South Africa has been one of the few that have truly surprised me. And I love that.

(Originally published on November 3, 2010)


I think a lot about storytelling. about context. about how context affects the stories we tell. i wonder how our lives, how our businesses and interactions would change if we put more effort into telling really interesting stories.. Or, if nothing else, created stories out of things we don’t find very interesting. Would we be more eager to learn? Would we retain more information? Would we find more meaning from our experiences and environments? I tend to think.. YES.

(Originally published on October 13, 2010)

Emails I wrote today

to john zapolski i wrote about business and culture.

to chris fahey i wrote about human specifications and genghis khan.

to liz danzico i wrote about going to conferences and future goals

Here is a bit of what I said:

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Stories from Pakistan

My friend and mountain guide, Ayub, is from the area surrounding Gilgit, Pakistan. He recently wrote and sent me photos of a local Gilgit-Baltistan wedding. You can check them out on my blog about pakistan.

(Originally published on October 4, 2010)