I look at myself as a lifelong activist. You can see my biography here. What makes me different?
From my earliest teen memories I saw the world as different in my mind from what my eyes delivered. I saw futuristic visions of automobiles, I saw neighborhoods without phone lines and people being energized by new entertainment forms.
By the time I was 16, I was being recruited as a leader of every group I visited. I saw that I could get people to respond to my vision. In a few short years I was learning how to make change.
I first learned how to influence people: share my vision with them. A simple talk or speech and I had supporters.
Take simple steps, one at a time, always one step at a time. Divide projects into simple single steps one at a time.
Years later, as a business advisor, I found the problem many business people had was that they could have a vision but they couldn’t see the single series of concrete steps to get to that vision.
Most importantly I began to see what could be changed and what couldn’t. I also saw how long some forms of change could take.
When I created the first universal credit card, what I did was to help the people around me see what simple, legal and logical steps we had to take. I also, by that time, age 28, had a strategic sense: get top management involved early. The new card was in customer hands within eight months.
When I saw the need to make our democracy work better, with true representation by legislators selected at random, I saw that the process would be slow. I wrote an article and published a book. The first actual steps in the political realm (a British Columbia initiative) took 15 years. We are still probably 10 years from the first real random legislature, somewhere in the world. 50 years from conception to potent execution. Longer than 8 months.
It took me 3 months to create a national public radio program; which ran for 9 years.
Somehow, I learned this. I also learned that the tools to bring about change are always readily at hand; the right person, the right group or the right medium…. find them and figure out how to make use of them.