Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

What does “socially conscious contracts” mean?  Well, can you be socially conscious if you aren’t conscious?  Listen to this talk I recently gave to a class in New Paradigms at the Touro Law Center in Central Islip, NY…

Click here to watch the lecture Sharing Law & Conscious Contracting: Facilitating Socially Conscious Contracts

Photo on 3-31-15 at 12.02 PM #3

As a final semester 3L I think about this a lot — give a listen to see if you identify with this worldview or if approaching your legal career from a more creative perspective is something you might want to give more consideration to… Please also look out for future posts on this topic, including exercises aimed at facilitating tough conversations with your own self…

The G8 Summit has convened a social impact investment task force.  This body just published a report entitled Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets — Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Capital For Public Good.  It’s a treatise on what is needed to bring government, business, the social sector and foundations, institutional and private investors, and impact entrepreneurs into some sort of common platform for idea building and for action.

Screenshot 2014-09-23 11.46.33A quote at the beginning of the report comes from Pope Francis: “It is urgent that governments throughout the world commit themselves to developing an international framework capable of promoting a market of high impact investments and thus to combating an economy which excludes and discards.”  David Cameron, from the World Economic Forum in Davos (2013) weighs in as well, referring to the world’s “shared social and economic challenges.”

Particularly because of its reference to the “heart” of markets, this report, as I perused a post about it on Twitter, struck my interest.  Partially because I’ve become enamored with the concept of a heart in law and business — and appreciate the use of the word even if its practical meaning is yet to be very fleshed out (pun intended) or tends to ultimately be rendered meaningless as politics co-op what might otherwise be very meaningful (even if still “just” rhetoric).  But I’m also appreciating a piece Triple Pundit put out about this report, and want to riff off of that even more than the report itself. talks about what is really needed in order for this beautiful and lofty vision of collaboration to take root in our topsy turvy, hyper-capitalist world.  Marta Maretich shrewdly points out,

…in the dazzle of the report’s many authoritative recommendations for governments, policymakers an impact sector leaders, there’s a danger of overlooking a vital detail: real change doesn’t come from institutions or governments, nor does it come in the form of policies, manifestos or even laws. These things are necessary for the growth of our sector now, as the report neatly demonstrates, but they are just expressions of a more profound shift that will be needed if impact is to fulfill its potential.

Because real change comes from people, from the things they believe — their values — and from the decisions they make as a result of those beliefs.

So for me this report is a reminder that to get to the heart of progress, we must each be in touch with our own hearts.  Then our beliefs and our actions, our goals and our outcomes, can be aligned.  Then, we may have a shot at “real” transformation…

What terrifies and excites me about becoming a lawyer?  Lots of things.  In the spirit of purging fear and inviting the new, here they are…

  1. the frustration of never being able to help people enough
  2. the frustration of needing to charge people $ in order to help them at all
  3. the prospect of engaging in work that is satisfying only to the extent that it is noble — in other words, not feeling effective personally because the justice system itself is so lacking in its effectiveness
  4. the prospect of being stuck in a practice that leaves me feeling drained rather than energized
  5. what excites me is the idea of innovating better systems, those using processes that integrate and reflect rather than ignore and diminish what is elemental about being human — namely our capacity for conscious change, for transformation on an individual and collective (thus evolutionary) scale
  6. it also excites me to envision my personal potential for transformation, on physical, mental and emotional planes.  It both overwhelms and inspires me to meditate on the ability I have to evolve.

Today’s post is a review of a book I’ve recently been soaking up, called Disruption Revolution: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & the New Rules of Leadership.  It was written by David Passiak, who was once a scholar of religion.  His focus then was on how emerging communications technologies tended to coincide with periods of religious, political and cultural/social innovation, from the “Great Awakenings” of the 1700s and 1800s catalyzed by innovations in the printing press, through the Civil Rights and Sixties counterculture movements accelerated by the mass adoption of radio, television, film and music (see

Passiak left academia though to pursue a career in innovative technologies consulting, working for companies like Volkswagen and a number of start-ups.  He also founded a company called Social Meditate, an innovation and strategy consulting firm.

Disruption Revolution is a collection of interviews with a laundry list of successful leaders in the arena of tech innovation, from those who are more design-inclined to Harvard Business School professors and New Economy media moguls such as the editor of PandoDaily – a site reporting on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship.  These chapters provide perspective on the technology that’s driving changes in our business landscape, as well as on the mentalities and approaches that seem to bode best for innovators and entrepreneurs.

The book also contains an interview with Vincent Horn, an entrepreneur I recently spoke with myself about his site  Horn’s interest, and the galvanizing force of BuddhistGeeks, is the intersection (or perhaps more accurately, overlap) between technology and mindfulness.  His thesis is, basically, that not only can we have both, but we must.  And he, along with his partner Emily Horn, have succeeded in building a community of thought on this subject, not just a platform for their own beliefs (visit the site to see what I mean…).

Another piece in the book that spoke to me featured a conversation with Jeremiah Owyang, an expert on the emerging collaborative economy.  His interest is in the big crowd companies (i.e. Zipcar, Airbnb, etc.) as opposed to smaller-scale, more private enterprises you might find out about upon researching sharing law (also known as the sharing economy).  The emphasis here is on the burgeoning prevalence of companies that seek to provide services to customers within the confines of people’s various financial situations.  The idea is, people are wanting less and less to ‘own’ things in a traditional sense (i.e. vacuums or even houses), both because the cost of these things is so expensive, and because of social media, they simply don’t need to.  “Sharing” rides or tools or places to stay for temporary or even extended periods of time is becoming more and more the substance of commerce.  Disruption Revolution explains this and contextualizes what it means for the future of entrepreneurship in our society moving forward.

One last tidbit I’ll share (pun intended) is how much I enjoyed the chapters on leadership, in which the ‘monsters in your head’ and the concept of “choosing yourself” in the process of negotiations are discussed.  The themes here revolve around being in touch with what has brought you to the place of decision-making you are at, being clear about why you are there, and being open and honest with even your competition in order to achieve the best results.  Game-playing in the New Economy, the experts are even telling us, is stupid.  Authenticity is key.  Being present with your own intentions and through that being aware of others’ intentions is essential.  And through all of that, tapping into your intuition to guide you in discerning the right moves for you and your business is perhaps what matters most.

As a law student, and as an entrepreneur, I’ve found this volume super interesting.  It flies in the face of much that we learn in school growing up, and certainly in the face of what we hear in the mainstream media about what makes for a successful leader and business person.  It’s not about assuming you are right, it’s about being able to question, and from there, deriving vision and confidence.  Then comes the translation of vision to others, the attraction of capital, and the capacity to make real what you see.