I could just take one of the bullet points by itself, but I feel that the real secret that I identify with is hidden among several of these statements. Let me first list them.
"Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re
not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make
them a better stove instead.)"
"Listen to the right people. "
by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there."
Along with these truths, let me also state the truth I discovered while working on my missions, that the personal connection is more powerful than a symbolic gesture.
The wh*** point of the EVOKE network is that together we can solve problems that one person cannot even begin to solve. For a long time now I have believed that great things do happen by the sum of thousands of small actions. That is how economies act, how history is made. Of late, much has been made of trying to spark these small actions that add up to big things. Viral videos, crowdsourcing, and even slacktivism. Charities and commercial ventures know their power.
These are powerful, but somewhere along the way, it became acceptable for the average person to just share soundbites, clips, and links. Passing on information, wearing a ribbon, or posting a message in your forum signature. Awareness is important. Awareness can spark compassion. But awareness without true knowledge is weak, and knowing that people are "starving in Africa" as every American mom used to say a generation or two ago does not help put food in their mouths. It is true that a bunch of small donations can add up to a lot, but in an economic crisis, the average person does not feel secure spending much.
Most of my life, I've been a water droplet, trying to swim in a useful direction and convincing my neighbors to do the same, hoping to form a wave. I've been spreading awareness and donating when I felt I could. But doing these missions has shown me that hoping that the whim of the crowd follows the right direction is good, but not enough. I don't have as much money as I would like, but I have time and I have skills. What needs to be done is to identify tasks and then to identify people to help accomplish those tasks to form teams.
I've never been a leader, and I always thought only leaders could be social activists, and followers could only be donors. But every leader needs a team. I have yet not found my one call. I'll work on that in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, if there is a team who finds my skills worthwhile, please call on me. Let's take advantage of the burst of inspiration and the ease of communication, and let's make it sustain past the first spark.
I do not yet know how to succinctly describe my inspiring truth. For now, I will go with this: crowdsourcing is good, and an organized, communicating crowd is better.