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Sun, Jun

Letting our Wild Things Go


Dear Social Innovations Colleagues,

Innovation happens when we let go of our fears of losing control, and focus on the issue we are trying to solve. What we realize is that when we let go of our fears of losing control we open ourselves up to true partnerships and these partnerships serve as the catalyst for innovation. This point especially jumped out at me recently as Nikolaj (my 8-year old) and I went to see Where the Wild Things Are.

When watching the movie all kinds of emotions immediately took me on childhood memory lane. The "Wild Things" are in all of us and is about who we are as human beings, with our family and friends and in our work places as colleagues and partners. While the "Wild Things" may be more apparent in a kid like the story-line's character, Max, the "Wild Things" don't disappear as we get older, we're just better at disguising and controlling them. They are our good and bad feelings and emotions - all wrapped up in one - and always competing for inner positioning. Depending on what inner Wild emotional Thing is in charge, we show our fears, our anger, our guilt, our happiness, our sense of satisfaction and purpose and much more. Unfortunately the bad wild side especially comes out when we don't feel loved or valued and when we feel betrayed by others.

The movie has all kinds of lessons about human psychology, but one part of the movie struck me as relevant to one of the key ingredients of the innovations we feature in the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. In this part Max finds peace with his Wild Things friends when they together focus on the rather routine task of building a fort together, and Max giving the "Wild Things" his complete attention and focus. By partnering and making a difference together, Wild Things are kept at peace and Max is happy. This is the good life, the basic and mundane stuff, which can only be done when we as human beings or Wild Things partner with one another and get the basic tasks of life done.

As you read through all the articles on innovations, what you will find is that all the innovators have great stories to tell, but ultimately, the successes of their innovations, solving complex, but mundane and basic issues in our society, were all a result of partnerships and partners letting go of control and fears.


Tine Hansen-Turton is co-founder of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal.