Twenty years ago, the Church of England ordained the first female priest. Apple released the first Macintosh computer to use the new PowerPC Microprocessor. Whoopi Goldberg was both the first woman to solo host and the first African-American female to host the Academy Awards. That year, Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust drama, Schindler’s List, won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Meanwhile, race relations in the U.S. were strained in popular and intellectual circles, perpetuated by the O.J. Simpson trial and the polarizing best seller, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Tensions across the nation were high, and still the country moved forward, innovating and evolving toward our world as we know it today.
I think our capacity for change and innovation falls on a spectrum. There are the few trailblazers on one end with the ability to see around the bend and lead toward tomorrow. And, there are those on the other end, reluctant to embrace new ideas and content to preserve the status quo at any cost. Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Our world has changed since 1994, and with it, so have the conversations globally, locally and regionally. In St. Louis, we are moving toward greater collaboration and strategic partnerships in our region at most levels of local government. Our collective commitment to regionalism appears stronger than ever, evidenced by the recently formed St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Corporate leaders, led by Civic Progress, the Regional Business Council and the Regional Chambers, are steeped in discussion on how to attract talent, grow business, seed innovation and promote diversity in the region.
We, in the nonprofit sector, are taking a fresh look at the world and assessing our relevance against a changing marketplace. Academic and healthcare institutions are reimagining how they deliver services and embracing performance-based funding models. Human service organizations are developing evidence-based models for helping more people achieve a basic level of support and move toward self-sufficiency. Led by a new generation of volunteer leadership, many organizations are executing innovative revenue strategies to support their work.
A mentor shared with me recently that the world will move on with or without us. Those who are on the front end of innovation have historically possessed the gift of composure but rarely patience.
We each have something to contribute to the world. What actions are you taking to make the world a better place? Let us know in the comments.
Originally published at www.helpingpeople.org.