Where Does Change Begin?

Does innovation begin in the mind and subsequent actions of an individual? In a competitive corporate think tank? In the halls of Congress? Maybe in a combination of all three, and maybe in that order. 

Here’s the headline that caused the stock market plunge this week:

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Team Up to Change Healthcare Costs  (Select gold link for video)

While the respective firm’s high-profile leaders — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon made the announcement, the effort will be spearheaded by three lesser-known individuals. I’m impressed and appreciative that the innovative leadership team will be predominantly female, as we’ve had to listen to only male voices (reflecting male perspectives) through so much of the national conversation on healthcare. From JPMorgan, that person is Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, a managing director at the bank. Representing Amazon is Beth Galetti, the company’s senior vice president of human resources. And from Berkshire Hathaway is one of Buffett’s extremely well-read investment deputies, Todd Combs, a value investor who previously ran hedge fund Castle Point Capital for five years.

Bezos, Buffet, and Dimon, three visionary executives, wanting what’s best for their companies’ bottom lines, recognizing the inter-play between their costs and their employees’ well-being and the national economy. Willing and able to take the risk of collaboration to innovate a new path. That’s where change begins.

In Western North Carolina we, too have individuals, only tangentially related to government, teaming up on innovative ideas to bring about positive change for citizens. I’m one of them, sitting at the table, in the conversation, doing what I can. I hope you’re already or soon among us. If you’re not in our area, I hope you’ll share with us what similar actions you’re taking where you live. We’re all in this together.

I’m “Willen”, Are You?

Collaborative Innovation For and By The Citizens of Western North Carolina

Wiser-Together World Cafes, sponsored by Western Mountain Region AARP

  • September 2017, Intergenerational conversations on “healthy aging across the lifespan”. Participants included regional college students, working professionals and entrepreneurs, retired professionals and entrepreneurs.
  • November 2017, Intergenerational conversations on “being of service”. Participants included active and retired military and ROTC students.

Silver to Gold (S2G), an initiative of Unite WNC

  • October 2017, Transportation World Cafe
  • January 2018, Hack-a-Thon on Transportation

Area Agency on Aging (AAA)