Finding Impact No.22💥

A personal story, innovation, virtual meetings, setting priorities and social distancing.

Greetings Friends

First, a personal story…

I was living in Nairobi with my family. I felt as if I was failing at work, I had a bunch of bills to pay and I was feeling vulnerable.

Kenya was our new home. Our family had been warmly welcomed to this beautiful country and we were finding our place in the community. All of it was in the hands of my one employer. It felt like a fragile existence, and I wanted to do something that would give my family a stronger foothold.

I can't remember who or what introduced me to Gary Vaynerchuk. He was this out-spoken YouTuber who had built his career making videos about wine. His message was simple: lack of time is no excuse for building the life you want. Get home from work, build your brand online and good things will happen.

To be honest, I was afraid of putting myself out there. I didn't want to expose myself to ridicule and fail in public. Everyone would be watching: family, friends, future employers. I had so much to lose, better to play it safe, right?

I remember driving home from work, staring down imminent job loss, when an interview with Brené Brown resonated with me. She quoted Theodore Roosevelt's speach as her inspiration to start sharing her work in public:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

So I resolved to just start. I worked late after everyone was in bed. I built my website. I used my iPhone camera to shoot videos. They're all tucked away in the bottom of a chest somewhere, and are too cringeworthy to share (ok here's one on the weird economics of saving lives), but they were important first steps.

I've met so many amazing people on my journey, many who I now call friends. I've interviewed some incredible people, spoken at conferences, learned a tonne, and been invited to some well-heeled events. It gave me the confidence to strike out on my own as a consultant. I can give my family the life we'd dreamed of. And I can stop work in the middle of the day to play the Horrible Histories board game with my 10 year old son on his birthday.

Now onto the content.

On Innovation

If you want innovation, don't try and get consensus. Ask a group of people what ice cream they want and you'll get some asking for chocolate, some for vanilla and a few wild ones like mango or ginger. But if you ask everyone to agree on a flavour, the group will go with chocolate or vanilla because it's easy. Similarly, if you want innovation, don't go for an option because it's easier to get consensus.

As Martin Luther King said:

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

On meetings

Lean Coffee meetings are a great way to create an agenda that is meaningful for attendees and facilitates productive conversations. They work well when there are several people representing multiple projects on a call.

I joined a virtual meet-up of an online community using Lean Coffee. Here's how it worked:

  1. Create a workspace which has 3 columns: To Discuss, In Process, Done and share with attendees

  2. The meeting starts with people writing the topics they want to discuss on virtual note cards and putting them into the To Discuss column on Miro

  3. Each person introduces their topics in 15-30 seconds per note. If topics seem similar, they can be combined and rephrased by mutual agreement

  4. Each person gets 3 votes to show which topic is important to them. They vote as a +1 to the note.

  5. Notes are ordered by number of votes, so the most popular topics are discussed first.

  6. Agree the time per note (5-15min).

  7. The top note is moved into the In Process column and the timer starts. Users can vote at the end of the time for either Discuss More, Not Sure, or Move On.

Find more resources here:

On setting priorities

If you don’t prioritise your life someone else will.

From Greg McKeown's great book ‘Essentialism

On social distancing

The Hygiene Hub is fuelled by a crack team of experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. There's tonnes of resources and case studies, in several languages.

My favourite is this animation shared by the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso on Facebook.

(But if you want handwashing, you can't beat this Vietnamese handwashing TikTok video for pure danceability)

On entertrainment

If you're looking for recommendations on Netflix, we sat down to watch Stateless. It's about refugees in Australia, and how one vulnerable woman lands-up there by accident. It's gripping.

Until next time,


P.S. Thanks for reading! I'd love it if you could share this newsletter on Twitter, on Facebook or on LinkedIn. It would mean the world. Have a great rest of your week.