It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.
If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
The question my friend and colleague Bo Adams holds at the core of his research, and that drives his work is:“If school is supposed to prepare us for real life, then why isn’t school more like real life?” With this question in mind, and with the mantra of Innovation Diploma ringing in my ears “We’re not a class. We’re a start-up,” it seemed only natural for us to dole out contracts for students to restate their obligation and committment to the program. Here is the letter I sent home with the iD Cohort encouraging them to revisit whether they have the drive and committment to continue on this pioneering trajectory, and to actively choose themselves as innovators who want to make change now: