Friday, May 29, 2015

High Touch through High Tech--Creating Unity Through Technology

High Tech and High Touch—Creating Unity Through Technology
By Daniel Guillory, CEO, Innovations International

Dr. William Guillory had an idea about 10 years ago.   Many times people talk about how institutions need to change to create a society where each person, with all of the differences they bring, can truly be a part of the mainstream.   However, that can seem like a challenging prospect to anyone.  The question Dr. Guillory asked was how each individual person can impact the world around them and create an environment of inclusion in their home, in their community, and at work.  That is something that is reachable and attainable for each and every one of us.   But he also asked one other question—if a number of us did chose to do this, could it have some larger effect….bigger than any one of us as individuals could have?

As a former scientist, naturally the first place he looked was...the world of….disease?   Yes…disease—plague, pestilence—those items that have quickly and efficiently created deadly situations for living creatures.    And what he realized as he learned was how different diseases moved virally.   At the same time, social networking via the internet was in its early stages.  Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn, and Myspace were all in their infancy, but he observed that many of the principles of how news and information spread seemed similar.   As a scientist, he continued with his inquiry…the next question he asked was whether those some principles could be applied to the idea of inclusion?  Could we create a more inclusive society for people with these same principles, where people that are different have an opportunity to participate in the mainstream?

Any scientist tests out his theory in the laboratory.   In this case, the laboratory for Dr. Guillory was a large automobile manufacturer.   If we can make this work in a company, then we can hopefully make this work in the world.   Everyone in the organization was exposed to the idea that by doing small actions in behalf of the people that we see and interact with most often at work, we can change the environment.  Saying thank you to someone who you haven’t before, going to speak with someone in person instead of sending an email, inviting someone new to lunch, helping someone to learn a software program, or choosing to mentor a new employee—these small acts began to have a ripple effect in the organization and truly transformed the working environment.

However, just doing something “nice” for someone doesn’t ensure transformation of a relationship or collectively a culture, from exclusion to inclusion. The essential ingredient involves authenticity with no expectation in return. Adding this ingredient creates the potential for transformation in the quality of relationship; one small increment at a time. When practiced as a natural behavioral pattern, over time, the result is a collective distribution of inclusive relationships throughout a family, an organization, a society, or a planet of people.

The question at this point is “How do we begin to touch thousands or even millions of people?”  That is where we believe technology offers us the answer.   In spite of traditional barriers—race, gender, class, education, economic status—almost all adults have smartphones or information technology….in fact most say that they cannot see living without either or both.   Since they are such an important a part of our lives, technology is our entry point.

Our goal is to create a free mobile application where you can enter the 5 or 6 individuals closest to you.  And for each person, you can choose 1 or 2 small acts of inclusion or appreciation© for each of them.   The mobile app will remind you to do the act on a regular basis, and as you complete each of the actions, you will be acknowledged.  The more actions you complete, the more you will see your own tree of influence start to grow. As each of us are reminded and motivated to do this more, it becomes contagious (or viral) and influences those around us to do the same. 

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