The vision of the place where I work is about that, about taking the idea of technology … The reality of technology and robotics serving corporations and government and creating empowerment in individuals and learners and communities to use technology When you were talking about democratizing other things, something that we do that I feel maybe speaking to that is we make environmental sensors affordable. So we now are working on an air quality sensor and a water quality sensor.
I think the water quality monitor usually would cost you $5,000 and you have to get into the river and install it and we’re developing one that would cost $150 and another one that you can also use to just monitor the water inside your house. So it’s taking that information that belongs to science or the government and allowing everybody to have access to what is the quality of water, what is the … What am I braving and this but I’m getting a lot of e-mails every day about when can I get one? So I feel like we hit on something there that the idea of everybody should have access to that. That knowledge belongs to everybody.
I like your question because for me, I ended up with the NGO as an outcome of my for profit business and as of my infamous practitioner letting go of the attached thinking is power now and being open to other perspectives. So five years ago, I have never heard of the democratic school movement and I realized that all of the pushed out youth that I was working with were actually practicing democracy in their schooling. They were getting A’s and B’s and enjoying the classes they enjoyed and where they thrived and they were getting D’s and F’s in the things they didn’t like.
So they were actually choosing what they were studying and they were doing it diligently and I realized that my employees in my for profit were doing really well at the things that they were attached to and believed in and they were doing really poorly and failing in the things they weren’t. So one of the things, tools I use when I work with young people is that we set intentions. It’s very similar to … My understanding is that the democratic schools where you’re speaking with a facilitator of a learning outcome you want. So we set an intention. So if a child wants an outcome to be, then one of them is building the Brooklyn Bridge, he wants to build it to scale.
He has an outcome and he’s going to work backwards. We’re going to work with him on how he can do that on CAD. So there’s geometry, there’s geography. There’s all these things that he has to learn, but he’s choosing to learn it. I now incorporate that in my company where a little strange, we’re a little zap to goal like-minded. We don’t start working until noon hour on Monday because we meditate collectively and then we set an intention. And we’re doing this if we want an outcome and how do we collectively work together for that outcome. So we’ve eliminated every meeting in our office, listening to each other over talk and produce nothing and it’s a real shift.
So I’m seeing the same results putting democratic philosophies into my NGO as in my for profit business. It’s created a really comfortable space for us to produce and it’s created a comfortable learning space for the kids.
I want to check in with everybody who’s standing outside here, if anybody has any comments or questions about anything you’ve heard so far and if not, we’ll continue our conversation. Yes?
I’m incredibly transparent, yeah. I’ve let them know my own journey which I can share very shortly. When I was a young girl I knew I wanted to be an art teacher. I wanted to be an artist. I had an art teacher, same one in elementary school and then she moved to my high school and she had her art click and she told me I wasn’t an artist. I believed it. I believed the false story that informed me and I went to school, I didn’t study art. Out of nowhere, I painted a giant mural on the back of my dorm room.
I get all these crazed self-esteem goes to zero to sixty. I said, what am I doing and now, I’m painting 4-story murals that wrap around the sides of buildings like the artist is flowing and I got there by challenging that belief and channeling my intention and so I tell that to my students that I had a false belief. I had a story that wasn’t in alignment with my true desire and I challenged that story and then I achieved the success that is my birth right. You have a desire. Every one of these young people we work with is a genius in some way and I feel like our job is to get their clutter out of the way and the clutter is their own stories of self-limiting thought as well as the put down culture of their peers and sometimes, the put down culture of their extended family.
And something I talk to them about is like listen; I’m the paradigm shifter of my family. I’m the one who broke chains of abuse. I’m the one who made choices. I’m the one who went away to college. I’m the one who followed my dream. I was the first one in my family to really pursue these ideas. And I was like; you may be the paradigm shifter. You may be the one who breaks these notions and you may rise to a whole other level and you’re going to be incredibly interesting in dynamic because you have this amazing story of overcoming something which makes of really interesting people who are really great to be around.