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Designing a Fearless Future

Simone Nelson Maude

In the dynamic landscape of identity and diversity, we seek to transcend labels and embrace our multifaceted selves. Whether we advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or challenge its very existence, our identities shape the conversation.

The Fearless Fund Lawsuit: A Catalyst for Discussion
The Fearless Fund lawsuit is one example of fervent discussions around DEI strategies that underscores the need to re-evaluate old definitions within a more fluid era. But how do we navigate this complex terrain? In this Delegate-led Meetup, participants will delve into the elements of identity-based expression to discover actionable pathways to solutions that can forge a broader coalition of support.

Maude’s session, “Designing a Fearless Future,” will explore how identity shifts DEI’s language, standards, and outcomes. Drawing inspiration from Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign, we’ll uncover valuable lessons for impact investors, entrepreneurs, and game-changers.

The final session exercise will challenge participants to describe the Fearless Fund to women of color entrepreneurs using the identity frameworks introduced in the session. This real-life example will show how identity moves DEI constructively beyond the present day and steps onto fertile grounds for transformative change.

I. Topics Explored:

A. Part 1: Identity Introduction
In the ever-evolving landscape of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), organizations committed to social impact grapple with a critical question: How can we truly bridge the equity gaps that persist in our society? While demographics have long been the go-to lens for identifying disparities, it’s time to recognize their limitations and embrace a more powerful approach centered around identity. We have moved beyond the point where we can simply look at another person and know what matters to them.

Humans embody a multitude of different identities, depending on who we’re with and what we’re doing. Some identities we adopt to meet the expectations of those around us. Others are culturally inspired by our backgrounds, traditions, and set of beliefs. Some we select based on lifestyle choices and interests. And still, some are meant to change as we grow older. But all these identities are defined by a connection to a community of people like us based on shared values, norms, and experiences. In the introduction to our session, the facilitator will break down each of these components, fostering a deeper understanding of our interconnected identities and the power they hold.

B. Part 2: The Power of Values
Our brains instinctively seek patterns. When patterns align, you’re one of the “us.” When they diverge, you become one of “them.” This phenomenon permeates our interactions, especially in storytelling. That’s why understanding the hidden nuance of values is a future-forward step toward understanding who we have become. The power of values lies in their universality, yet their expression remains uniquely tailored to how specific cohorts experience the world.

1) Value-Centric Storytelling: Participants share their origin stories, highlighting values that fuelled their personal journey and shaped their entrepreneurial paths.

2) Collaborative Values Mapping: Participants identify the universal values expressed differently through their stories and discuss how these values intersect with entrepreneurship, resilience, and innovation.

C. Part 3: Narratology Primer
Narrative norm structures are integral to our human experience, acknowledging what is on the surface while connecting to what is beyond the surface deep. Just as musicians utilize a set of eight basic chords to create an infinite variety of songs, narratology employs several base elements of narrative structure that serve as the building blocks for how identity communities express themselves. Consider the distinct expressive norms of the Black Church versus the Catholic Church or how differently we express ourselves at the Thanksgiving table vs. at the boardroom table. Each identity group infuses its expressions with a signature style that resonates as authentic to its collective identity.

Group Discussion: Think Different Deconstructed
In 1997, Steve Jobs launched Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign. The brilliance of this campaign lay in its ability to draw a clear line in the sand, defining who the brand was for without offending those for whom it clearly was not. The expression of its values remained uniquely tailored to the communities of dreamers, misfits, and rebels that the brand chose to align its experience. Unlike conventional marketing, Apple appealed to a shared identity rooted in nonconformity and innovation rather than the demographic of just PC buyers. The Maude facilitator will lead participants through a narrative norms framework to deconstruct the components of the campaign’s script that became a legendary marketing feat.

1) Storytelling Circle: Participants will share personal narratives related to entrepreneurship and resilience and analyze the narrative structure to find the value-based patterns. How do different voices, intents, and linguistic choices shape the message and to whom it’s aimed?

D. Part 4: The Fearless Fund’s Dilemma
The Fearless Fund stands at a crossroads. It seeks to address disparities without compromising its core purpose. Mandating a shift in its beneficiaries is not an option. So, how do we navigate this delicate balance? Our workshop employs Design Thinking methodologies involving collaborative ideation, collective intelligence, and rapid iteration to facilitate this exercise to develop a demographic-free description of the Fearless Fund.
1) Creative Constraint Exercise:
• Collaborative ideation: Participants are divided into small groups and given assignments to generate ideas by applying what they learned.
• Collective intelligence: Ideas are presented to the larger group and combined for participants to evaluate and decide which ideas to keep or discard.
• Rapid iteration: Participants are randomly reassigned to new groups for further ideation based on additional instructions for expansion and strengthening.
• Innovation: The collective intelligence and rapid iteration process are repeated to identify a single idea agreed upon by all groups.

Proposed number of participants: 21

Track

DEI, Ownership and Impact

Format

Delegate-led Meet Up (1 Facilitator)

Speakers

  • NameAudrey Mitchell
  • TitleCEO
  • OrganizationMaude

Description

In the dynamic landscape of identity and diversity, we seek to transcend labels and embrace our multifaceted selves. Whether we advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or challenge its very existence, our identities shape the conversation.

The Fearless Fund Lawsuit: A Catalyst for Discussion
The Fearless Fund lawsuit is one example of fervent discussions around DEI strategies that underscores the need to re-evaluate old definitions within a more fluid era. But how do we navigate this complex terrain? In this Delegate-led Meetup, participants will delve into the elements of identity-based expression to discover actionable pathways to solutions that can forge a broader coalition of support.

Maude’s session, “Designing a Fearless Future,” will explore how identity shifts DEI’s language, standards, and outcomes. Drawing inspiration from Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign, we’ll uncover valuable lessons for impact investors, entrepreneurs, and game-changers.

The final session exercise will challenge participants to describe the Fearless Fund to women of color entrepreneurs using the identity frameworks introduced in the session. This real-life example will show how identity moves DEI constructively beyond the present day and steps onto fertile grounds for transformative change.

I. Topics Explored:

A. Part 1: Identity Introduction
In the ever-evolving landscape of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), organizations committed to social impact grapple with a critical question: How can we truly bridge the equity gaps that persist in our society? While demographics have long been the go-to lens for identifying disparities, it’s time to recognize their limitations and embrace a more powerful approach centered around identity. We have moved beyond the point where we can simply look at another person and know what matters to them.

Humans embody a multitude of different identities, depending on who we’re with and what we’re doing. Some identities we adopt to meet the expectations of those around us. Others are culturally inspired by our backgrounds, traditions, and set of beliefs. Some we select based on lifestyle choices and interests. And still, some are meant to change as we grow older. But all these identities are defined by a connection to a community of people like us based on shared values, norms, and experiences. In the introduction to our session, the facilitator will break down each of these components, fostering a deeper understanding of our interconnected identities and the power they hold.

B. Part 2: The Power of Values
Our brains instinctively seek patterns. When patterns align, you’re one of the “us.” When they diverge, you become one of “them.” This phenomenon permeates our interactions, especially in storytelling. That’s why understanding the hidden nuance of values is a future-forward step toward understanding who we have become. The power of values lies in their universality, yet their expression remains uniquely tailored to how specific cohorts experience the world.

1) Value-Centric Storytelling: Participants share their origin stories, highlighting values that fuelled their personal journey and shaped their entrepreneurial paths.

2) Collaborative Values Mapping: Participants identify the universal values expressed differently through their stories and discuss how these values intersect with entrepreneurship, resilience, and innovation.

C. Part 3: Narratology Primer
Narrative norm structures are integral to our human experience, acknowledging what is on the surface while connecting to what is beyond the surface deep. Just as musicians utilize a set of eight basic chords to create an infinite variety of songs, narratology employs several base elements of narrative structure that serve as the building blocks for how identity communities express themselves. Consider the distinct expressive norms of the Black Church versus the Catholic Church or how differently we express ourselves at the Thanksgiving table vs. at the boardroom table. Each identity group infuses its expressions with a signature style that resonates as authentic to its collective identity.

Group Discussion: Think Different Deconstructed
In 1997, Steve Jobs launched Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign. The brilliance of this campaign lay in its ability to draw a clear line in the sand, defining who the brand was for without offending those for whom it clearly was not. The expression of its values remained uniquely tailored to the communities of dreamers, misfits, and rebels that the brand chose to align its experience. Unlike conventional marketing, Apple appealed to a shared identity rooted in nonconformity and innovation rather than the demographic of just PC buyers. The Maude facilitator will lead participants through a narrative norms framework to deconstruct the components of the campaign’s script that became a legendary marketing feat.

1) Storytelling Circle: Participants will share personal narratives related to entrepreneurship and resilience and analyze the narrative structure to find the value-based patterns. How do different voices, intents, and linguistic choices shape the message and to whom it’s aimed?

D. Part 4: The Fearless Fund’s Dilemma
The Fearless Fund stands at a crossroads. It seeks to address disparities without compromising its core purpose. Mandating a shift in its beneficiaries is not an option. So, how do we navigate this delicate balance? Our workshop employs Design Thinking methodologies involving collaborative ideation, collective intelligence, and rapid iteration to facilitate this exercise to develop a demographic-free description of the Fearless Fund.
1) Creative Constraint Exercise:
• Collaborative ideation: Participants are divided into small groups and given assignments to generate ideas by applying what they learned.
• Collective intelligence: Ideas are presented to the larger group and combined for participants to evaluate and decide which ideas to keep or discard.
• Rapid iteration: Participants are randomly reassigned to new groups for further ideation based on additional instructions for expansion and strengthening.
• Innovation: The collective intelligence and rapid iteration process are repeated to identify a single idea agreed upon by all groups.

Proposed number of participants: 21

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