A look at what – and who – is pushing the future in new directions

John Hope Bryant: Our First Dood

The Push tagline, “Push the Future in New Directions,” reflects our mission to, on the one hand, track the people, ideas, and technologies that are shaping our future while, on the other hand, give people the tools and inspiration required to be Push-ers in their own right.

Ultimately, we’re interested in Pushing three categories of behavior: Thinking, Seeing, Doing. All our content and programming will be catalogued in this way, which we hope will bring a spark of inspiration to our fun finds and analysis.
Under the heading of “Do” we celebrate people who are pushing the future in new directions. They are innovators who are making things happen and, as such, are models for the kind of thinking and committed action that lead change. We refer to these Push heroes as “Doods.”
Our First Dood (the anti-Todd Palin) is John Hope Bryant, Founder of Operation Hope, an organization dedicated to raising the level of financial literacy in communities stuck in poverty. Bryant maintains that the barrier to success is no longer about race, or civil rights, but about access to capital, what he calls “silver rights.”

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“A person with no hope is the most dangerous person in the world. We need to give individuals a stake in the system, or they will seek to destroy it. This is silver rights in action.”

John Hope Bryant says he’s out to make smart sexy. That the next emerging markets are in our own back (mostly urban) yard; that our communities, in terms of an economic recovery, are (dys)functioning as underperforming capital; that people have to see options before they know they have options; and that role models who can make smart sexy are critical to showing the way to success.

The next step is to give people the tools they need to help themselves by knowing how money works, how to use a bank, start a business, and manage and grow entrepreneurship within oneself and community. It’s the kind of bottom-up change that’s so popular now through mechanisms such as microfinance, of which the well known model of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is the grandaddy. In addition to insititutions (or people, as in the case of Kiva.org) that make small loans to individual entrepreneurs, the model has been used successfully to bring telephony to underdeveloped areas of the world (Grameen Phone) and is now being used to bring distributed power to off-grid areas as a further step to alleviate poverty in places for which there’s typically been little hope.
But enough of this, you really have to hear the man speak. He grabs you and makes you want to jump up in a full-throated “Amen!”

Article By: Cecily Sommers

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