WOBI contributing editor Forrest Jones caught up with Stephen Ritz before WOBI on Innovation for a quick Q&A session prior to his presentation at the forum on June 4-5.
1. As head of the Green Bronx Machine, you're providing food, nutrition and job skills that at-risk children will need to thrive nowadays. How do green walls help kids in ways beyond providing nutrition?
When kids learn about nature and learn about nurture; their lives and their relationships with the built and living environments change exponentially for the better. We’re changing mindsets and landscapes across the Bronx and moving those who are and were traditionally “apart from” to becoming “a part of” in ways that benefit 100% of society, across all sectors! To think we can grow our own economy, while engaging kids in school and generating tremendous academic and health outcomes rooted in technology that can help feed the world and help mitigate some of the most pressing environmental challenges of this and future generations is helping my students to become 21st Century “Solutionaries!” We are changing the nature of the food chain; moving folks from simple consumers to becoming producers! Thirty thousand pounds of student grown vegetables later, my favorite crop is organically grown citizens, graduates and members of the middle class; kids who are aspiring to things they’ve never even imagined before! I also love Arugula and Asian Eggplant! We’re growing people!
WOBI contributing editor Forrest Jones caught up with Peter Sims before WOBI on Innovation for a quick Q&A session prior to his presentation at the forum that will take place on June 4-5.
1. --You've found that rather than starting with big ideas or planning a project in advance, successful entrepreneurs make a methodical series of "little bets." What is a "little bet" and how does it work?
A little bet is a low-risk experiment taken to discover, develop, and test an idea. Amazon’s offerings, Pixar’s films, the design for a Frank Gehry building are all the result of countless little bets, guided by a sense of mission, just as Chris Rock develops new comedy routines by making little bets with small audiences. The outcomes are unpredictable, yet the discovery mindset can be learned. Little bets are at the center of an approach to get to the right idea that any of us can learn without getting stymied by perfectionism, risk-aversion, or excessive planning.
1. -Your book The First Mile focuses on that critical moment when an innovator turns an idea into reality. How important are the embryonic stages of a business venture to longer-term success or failure?
Absolutely critical. I think Thomas Edison probably put it best when he said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Many businesses never get to the first mile – they stay stuck in the head of the would-be innovator. The vast majority of those that do fail. The decisions an innovator makes when they take that step from paper to reality can make all the difference.