Nilofer Merchant wants to live in world where all ideas matter.
Merchant, an innovation expert and opening keynote speaker at the ASAE 2017 Annual Meeting & Exposition, shared with nearly 5,000 attendees why it’s so important that new ideas can and do and should come from anyone and everywhere.
“Ideas are fuel for innovation,” she said. “Ideas are the way we build and make progress toward the future we want.”
We’re at an unprecedented moment in time, Merchant said. The internet and our constant connectedness have changed the way we see ourselves and allow others to see us. Today, individuals and their ideas are driving the modern world and economy.
Merchant has coined this phenomenon “onlyness.”
Onlyness values the distinct perspective that each individual brings to the table – it values what only they can contribute. Then as individuals build and create “like” communities and networks, this meaningful connectedness helps cultivate belonging and spread ideas on an unprecedented scale.
Where many people once would have fallen into the trap of believing that a person has to be in a position of power to share an idea. In reality, most ideas – up to 99 percent according to some studies Merchant has seen – come “from left field.” In other words, status or a seat at the table are no longer a prerequisite.
“Just because others say its marginal, doesn’t mean its not meaningful,” Merchant said.
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 14, 2017 edition of Association Adviser.