If you are truly invested in playing a bigger game, you are going to need to find a way to stand up and make a difference. All change requires a shift in the social context within which my new technical idea has a chance to flourish. This means changing the minds of my audience. One of the hardest things to grasp is that it's not something about you that has to change first, it's something about me. It's my job to stand out, not yours to pay attention. This is the grand and wicked paradox of impact leadership.
The first thing I noticed about Graeme Edge is the magnificent mop of architectural hair that enters any room just before he does. Everything about Graeme is disruptive, including this mane. It’s a trademark not unlike Seth Godin’s polished dome, but on the other side of the spectrum.
Graeme and his partners are impact entrepreneurs–a group of millennial leaders who decided to do something about the global energy challenge by launching an event that has already become the preeminent one of its kind.
The second annual Energy Dispuptors conference opened this fall to a sold out crowd in Calgary, the center of the energy industry in Canada. An edgy slate of luminaries streamed provocative ideas and much needed perspective on the fractious and complex global energy conversation. They believe Canada has a unique opportunity to lead the world in innovations that deal with the inevitable, imperative and potentially massively profitable transition from fossil fuels and their emissions.
There are amazing technologies underway and coming on line. Regardless of your stance on climate change it would have been difficult to leave the event without an appreciation for the value of innovation in this sector. And as with any disruption, human ingenuity is not the limiting factor. The real challenge is adoption, absorption, and the stubborn social and political context.
Anyone seeking to make an impact invariably faces headwinds and external challenges. Old models and old systems are deeply entrenched and highly resistant to change. It's very easy to shut down and give up in the face of unrelenting resistance. It's also easy to miss the real opportunity underpinning the drama.
Taken out of the social-political context, issues like climate change are opportunities to unpack more of our collective talent. Graeme has the unique talent of inspiring people to let go of their old thinking and take courageous and calculated leaps of faith into something better. Real change only takes hold when it begins within its leaders. Graeme has been doing his personal work. Impact begins in the mind of an innovator and ends with meaningful social change.