By Michael Gordon on September 30, 2012 11:29 AM
If I were hosting the upcoming presidential debate on domestic policy, what questions would I ask?
They would center on inclusivity:
- How can we challenge the economic beliefs that are holding back our economy?
- How can we include the poor as a source of resourcefulness, innovation, and business opportunity?
- How can we better identify and support local (social) entrepreneurs?
- What urban centers are taking the lead in creating sustainable, inclusive communities?
- What innovative approaches to education are working and can prepare students for meaningful careers?
- How does social wellness use existing resources to create more inclusive health for us all?
- What does inclusive leadership look like?
These broad questions deserve our unwavering attention. No matter how you keep score–99 to 1, 53 to 47, or something else–too many are struggling to have decent life.
What if I were asked these questions–how would I answer them?
Glad you asked: In my new book Inclusivity: Will America Find Its Soul Again (written with Christian Sarkar, who also created paintings for the book), we tell fifty stories about those who are taking giant strides in tackling these issues. These vignettes tell of entrepreneurs leading a resurgence in Detroit, Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos) reinventing Las Vegas and David Orr (a leader in the environmental movement) creating the most sustainable community anywhere in the the midwest community of Oberlin, Ohio. We tell how poor kids–in our inner cities or equally poor rural areas–are being given new educaitonal opportunities and are rising to the occasion. We tell how doctors are writing prescriptions for food, how struggling high school students become devoted and successful tutors, and how a national entrepreneur identification and training program in South Africa could become a model for the United States.
More inclusive education and health care would go a long way towards fully using the talents of our populace and creating expanded opportunity for everyone–wealthy and poor alike. More inclusive places to live coupled with more inclusive economics would create not just a fairer, but a stronger, country. Those blazing the trail of inclusivity exhibit a kind of leadership that is uncommon–creating value for others first. But it is within the reach of us all.