Clarity First Newsletter,
December 13, 2019

“The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

In her book, We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie observes that the problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be, rather than recognizing how we are. She makes the clear case that our most important roles as humans are to support each other in being more intelligent, more knowledgeable, more creative and ever more innovative.

Happy Friday. I hope that you are finding ways to expand your world, even during the time of year when the days are shortest.

Our Democracy

How the digital revolution has irrevocably altered how we engage with participatory democracy, and with how democracy works for us.

“In our new book, Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism, we address the three greatest challenges on the horizon: how the participatory power of social media has been a game changer for democratic governance, the impact of digital capitalism on the future of work and social equality, and the challenge that China presents to a polarized and paralyzed West. We present three chief responses, the three “p’s”: participation without populism, predistribution of wealth instead of only the redistribution of the industrial welfare state era, and “positive nationalism” as the precondition of global cooperation. It is not enough, we argue, for the dysfunctional democracies of the West to stand up to the growing influence of authoritarian states like China and Russia; they must in the first place, and above all, seek to repair themselves or risk ending up on the wrong side of history.”

Book Excerpt: Rethinking Democracy, the Social Contract, and Globalization

Futures Thinking

“The biggest reason we’re not good at seeing into the great beyond is that our brains are fixed on the near future.”

“We’re terrible at predicting the future. Blame psychology, evolution, or the complexity of the data, but the truth is that we mostly get in our own way. “Is it possible to get better at prediction? Or, could we create systems to do it for us?” Quartz did some asking.

Article Compilation: Prediction


What is trauma-informed design and why is it important?

“Trauma-informed design is about integrating the principles of trauma-informed care into design with the goal of creating physical spaces that promote safety, well-being and healing.

“This requires realizing how the physical environment affects identity, worth and dignity, and how it promotes empowerment. It requires recognizing that the physical environment has an impact on attitude, mood and behavior because there is a strong link between our physiological state, our emotional state and the physical environment. It also means that intentionally designing and maintaining healing environments leads to empowerment and resists retraumatizing those who have already experienced so much trauma.”

Article: The Importance Of Trauma-Informed Design

Architecture, Equity

Exploring the ways in which a more equitable society is achieved through thoughtful–and intentional–design.

Butaro Hospital [Photo: Iwan Baan/courtesy The Monacelli Press]

“We’ve come to believe that architecture is in the realm of human rights. Access to a well and purposefully designed environment is, in our minds, in the realm of rights,” says Michael Murphy, founding principal and chief executive officer at MASS Design Group, a nonprofit architecture firm that specializes in building environments for underserved populations. “We live 90% of our lives in planned buildings, we need access to housing and healthcare and public space, [and] the built environment is inevitably intertwined with who has access to public goods and a built environment that serves their needs.”

Article: The World’s Most Beautiful Architecture is Also the Most Equitable

Futures Thinking, Personal Development

Researchers call it the “end of history illusion.” We think everything will remain unchanged from here on out. And it never does.

“We all think the way things are now is the way things will continue to be. If you’re flying high, that’s not so bad, but if you’re falling, flailing or treading water, then this is a dangerous tendency. Here’s how to counteract it.”

Article: Why Are We So Bad At Predicting What Will Happen To Us In The Future? 

Group Process

When planning a meeting focus on need, purpose and desired outputs.

Drawing by Avril Orloff, from the Beehive Productions course on Harvesting and Collective Sensemaking

“Every meeting produces outputs that are both tangible and intangible, as well as individual and collective.

“Tangible collective outputs include meeting artifacts, such as data, reports, visible shared purpose, decisions action plans, structure and organization, and records of the event. Intangible collective outputs include social relationships, collective learning, and social cohesion.

“Tangible individual outputs can be skills, personal takeaways, a clear personal workplan, or a knowledge of one’s role and responsibilities. Intangible individual outputs can include belonging, encouragement, clarity of purpose, enjoyment, and a sense of purpose.”

Article: We’re Not Planning a Meeting, We’re Planning a Harvest.

Marketing Communications

Your organization will benefit most from using a combination of channels – social media, email, website, and blog – to get your story out into the community.

“Content marketing encompasses all the channels and communication methods you use to tell your nonprofit’s story.

“Great stories have always been part of the nonprofit sector’s DNA. It’s the story and impact of an organization that keep a nonprofit’s employees, donors, volunteers, and other supporters engaged and invested in the mission.

“So what’s different now? The possibilities for sharing those stories that have exploded in the last decade. Most nonprofits continue to produce some print materials. Brochures and fliers still look great on street fair tables and library information kiosks. But it would be a mistake for any nonprofit to assume that their audience can’t be reached digitally.”

Article: Content Strategy for Nonprofits: Make the Most of Your Story


“From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them. This new stage musical reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race.

Adrienne Warren and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Manuel Harlan)

“One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards and her live shows have been seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history.

“Featuring her much loved songs, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd. Tony Award® nominee Adrienne Warren, who played “Tina Turner” in the hit London West End production, reprises her critically acclaimed performance on Broadway.”

On Sunday of this week Michel Martin interviewed the playwright Katori Hall and Adrienne Warren about the show on NPR’s Weekend Edition. They share that Turner herself was personally involved in the production of the London show, being very available to Warren while she got her arms around the role.  “I had time with her one-on-one, where I was able to ask her anything I wanted to ask her about her as a woman, about her as a performer, about her time with Ike, about her time after Ike. And that was very crucial to the development of this performance for me…First thing, I was like – how do you do this? How do you be you was the first thing I said. And she said ‘the thing is: there are no shortcuts to hard work’. And she’s right. And I really took that to heart, and I put that in everything, in my training. I trained for about eight months before I even started the run in London, in boxing and transformed my body and tried to find her voice within my own voice. And I knew I had to give everything, every part of myself into this role in order to do it, successfully, and to truly pay homage to her in the way in which she deserves.” It’s a great interview, well worth a listen.

Radio Interview:  ‘I Done Been Through Some Things’: The Tina Turner Musical Is Now On Broadway

Image of the Week

“People raise their hands during a mass opposition rally against President Nicolás Maduro, in which Venezuela’s National Assembly head, Juan Guaidó, declared himself the country’s “acting president” on the anniversary of a 1958 uprising that overthrew a military dictatorship, in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 23, 2019. The movement, sparked by disputed election results, led to a presidential crisis in Venezuela that continued throughout the year.” Credit Federico Parra / AFP / GettyLast week The Atlantic published their annual showcase of The Top News Photos of 2019. What a year it’s been.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

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