#5 Finding Inspiration

The TED Talk “How great leaders inspire action” by Simon Sinek had many anecdotes that made me think. For example, he said “We follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” This was an interesting statement to me, since I hadn’t really thought of success.  The video also connected that to the politicians of today, “with their comprehensive 12-point plans. They’re not inspiring anybody.”

In my research, I found that there were very few articles about disruptive innovation, specifically related to indigenous peoples. One of the articles I found mentioned the Grand Canyon Skywalk and how the Hualapai Tribe gave up some sacred land to make a tourist attraction, and that with this previously not thought idea, the tribe is able to provide more funds to fight problems faced by the tribe. Another example presented was the Yolgnu Clan of East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. This tribe operates a small timber and construction business that aims to advance in sustainable development of the economy. The article said “The global goal is to create sustainable jobs, income, educational opportunity, and career paths for members free from government financial subsidies and welfare.”

If I were to pursue this topic further into our process, the WHY, HOW, and WHAT method pitch that I currently would use would probably be as follows:

When asked of how you think about the native peoples that live here in Vermont, what would you say? Many people would respond according to the multiple incorrect stereotypes presented by the American culture. For example, some Vermonters may say, “Well, they all went away, didn’t they?”, whiuch is far from true. Personally, I know some people who are quite offended by these harmful assumptions about their cultures. I want to change this, so I am trying to teach more children about the Abenaki peoples in the state of Vermont.


Sinek, Simon, director. How Great Leaders Inspire Action. TED Talks: How Great Leaders Inspire Action | TED Talk, www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.
Volynets, Iryna. Social Innovation and Aboriginal Communities . Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network, Mar. 2015, uakn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/UAKN-Paper-Social-Innovation-and-Aboriginal-Communities-March-20151.pdf#page=19&zoom=auto,-99,239.
Theo Ellis Novotny

3 Responses to “#5 Finding Inspiration

  • Hi T.D.,
    For such a long time indigenous peoples across the United States and the whole world have been marginalized, treated unfairly, and ignored by the governments they are now supposed to “belong” to. It’s interesting because in many ways I always thought that many of the problems Native Americans faced were in the past. The US trying to send Native American children to school any longer to teach them how to be a “true American.” They’re no longer being pushed farther and farther westward, but I realize now from your posts that their problems are far from over. I think there’s a lot of public education you’ll be able to do on this topic, simply because it’s not something I hear about as frequently as say, climate change.

  • T.D.,

    I’m pleased to see you broadened your research and looked at what other tribes around the world have done to innovate. It’s important to have a broader context when trying to fully understand localized issues. I do wonder exactly how it connects to your idea of educating Vermonters about the Abenaki people. Are the Abenaki pursuing some sort of disruptive innovation or would adding the Abenaki into the curriculum be a sort of disruptive innovation?


  • T.D.,
    Nice closing paragraph! I like where you’re headed and that you’ve got an audience and a specific call to action, or at least one that’s more specific. Good job and keep up the good work!


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