simple ideas that make a big difference


Today I’ve been thinking about how some simple ideas can help make a far reaching difference. The current issue of the fabulous Dumbo Feather includes a conversation with Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS. The idea; for every pair of shoes (and now eyewear) purchased, TOMS gives away a pair of shoes to a barefoot child. Blake confesses he had no idea how huge the business would become.

Even though I recently replaced myself on the Melbourne Chapter of the Awesome Foundation, this morning I responded to a request to record a radio interview for the ABC about the phenomena. I have written about it before on this blog, but I was corralled into thinking again about the simplicity of the idea: 10 people x $100/month = $1000/month to support awesomeness in the world. No strings attached. Generous, risky, chaotic, inconsistent, powerful, liberating, impactful … and more.

The relentless flow of awesome ideas that come in are testament to the creativity of people. You would think that there is a limit to ideas on how to make the world better. Nup. Apparently not … from simple profound humanitarian responses (fill a backpack with useful stuff to give to people sleeping on the streets) to rejuvenating rooftops in CBDs, to little systems that turn dog poo into energy in local parks, to putting live music on trams, to … the list goes on. So far over 600 projects funded (multiply that by probably 40 applications). Awesome.

And I wondered again about the chasm between having an idea … or a dream, and doing something about it. Yes, many people featured in places like Dumbo Feather or a rollcall of Awesome Foundation grant recipients are exceptional, talented people. But I wonder whether one of the key things that separates them from the masses is the simple commitment to ‘do’. Uncomplicated, sometimes courageous, typically risky. I’m not talking about fancy pants activity, it will more likely look like what Frank Chimero calls doing things the ‘long hard stupid way‘.

If you want some more inspiration to become a doer, have a look at David Hyatt’s The Path of a Doer or John-Paul Flintoff’s surpisingly practical handbook How to Change the World.