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  • Writer's pictureDan Manning

If you don't know this woman's name, you are missing out

Last year, as I presented more and more workshops about innovation, I discovered I had a blindspot. Most of my examples of true innovators, people who changed their world with creative problem solving, were white men.

It was easy for me to point to Steve Jobs, the Wright Brothers, or Albert Einstein as people who made a lasting, world-wide impact through the force of their ideas, but I struggled to have the name of a more representative person at my fingertips.

I worked hard to have representation in my other workshops. My repertoire includes a great Maya Angelou story about our "little brain" and our "big brain". The story I tell about Mike the Creative Chimpanzee comes from Jane Goodall's work. The core of my creativity lesson comes from Dr. Teresa Amabile's work at Harvard.

But, I struggled to point to an epic innovation figure who was not a white, Western man. So, I worked to bring light into my blindness.

I discovered the (quite literally) earth-changing work of Wangari Maathai.

The 3 minute clip here is a portion of her acceptance speech she gave upon being awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. It is well worth 3 minutes of your time to learn how she tackled environmental, social, and political problems with a single, elegant, accessible solution...planting trees.

Who else should we know about?

Dan Manning is the Lead Instructor for #HumanIntelligence and the author of Thinking Better -- Critical Thinking & Creativity through Trusting Collaboration. If you are ready to start thinking better, send him a chat from here. He'll answer right away if he is not with another client.

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