As I get to know who’s who around the Centre for Social Innovation and learn about who does what, I have come to realize that like the fabled Justice League, CSI is a veritable Hero Central and its tenants are the backroom heroes who are working towards making the world a better place.
There are people here who save animals and others who feed children, some who save rivers and others who advocate for those whose voices are not heard. There is a cohort of heroes whose skills and talents enable these world-changing activities, people who believe in this shared vision of a future that is more kind, more just, more beautiful.
My friend Peter, in Australia, has a theory about employment and the path of least resistance; that most of us choose the career path that has been followed by those who came before us. Here at CSI there are so many people who have chosen the paths less traveled. They are paths whose destinations only these adventurers can see and so they are charged with sharing that vision with the rest of us, showing us where it goes, how to get there, what we can expect to find at the other end.
Philip Stern, aka CSI Socrates, calls this the Time of Tumult, and believes that we will remember these times when they are over as a time of changing world-views, a time when the tectonic plates of humanity are shifting, colliding, forming new social continents. Called Agents for Change, the tenants of CSI are like the white-hot core of social dynamics, harnessing or encouraging this energy and advocating, sometimes quietly and sometimes collectively for what the rest of us will come to call normal.
My office has glass walls and from it I can see Wonder Woman and Superman. I hear tell that Cat Woman is on the first floor. Leading the way into the future is CSI Executive Director Tonya Surman, a golden Paladin on her dancing charger, scribbled banner to guide us, sharp sword point for the un-heeding “Take tupperware!”
It makes me wonder if heroes are born or if it is a calling, the result of their brightly-coloured values in a world gone grey. Choosing passions and missions over security, reward or recognition, these multi-sector heroes leave a trail of been-there, done-that in their wake for the rest of us to follow, a path of least resistance that we can choose unthinkingly and still be on the way to that bright future.
I have a vision of the future and in it I am a very old lady (108) and I come here every day to the Centre for Social Innovation to set up a Sweet Spot and a Hot Pot. In my vision I still have my teeth and probably a new coat and it’s my mission to feed the Heroes of the future and maybe, just maybe, they will think of me as one of them.