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Project Row Houses’ sister organization Row House Community Development Corporation (Row House CDC), formed in August 2003, now receives 5% of referral fees for all purchases made through the Amazon.com Associates Program. All contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. Row House CDC is based in Houston’s historic Third Ward, and envisions uniting mixed-income housing, green space, public facilities, artists’ living/studio spaces and historic preservation.

To support Row House CDC, please visit http://www.rowhousecdc.org/.

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Keith Yamashita appears on CNBC’s series “The Business of Innovation,” a show about leadership, innovation, and the daring of some of the world’s most ambitious companies. This five-part series airs on Monday nights, starting June 2nd. Maria Bartiromo hosts the show, and Keith is one of the on-air thought leaders who interview CEOs and other innovators. The show features leaders from a number of Keith’s SYPartners’ clients, past and present, such as Nike, Starbucks, Herman Miller, Facebook, among many others. In filming the show, they talked with everyone from legendary leaders like Jack Welch and Howard Schultz to budding entrepreneurs at the Stanford Institute of Design, as well as Silicon Valley’s Randy Komisar, Nobel Laureate Muhummad Yunnis, FedEx CIO Rob Carter, hip-hop clothing moguls, and leaders of entire nations like Singapore. For the next five weeks, Keith will also be blogging about episodes and topics of the show at http://www.keithyamashita.com.

The show airs Mondays at 9pm Eastern time/6pm Pacific time. More information about the show can be read at http://innovation.cnbc.com/.

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LECTURE SUMMARY
Changemakers: Make the Impossible Possible
February 27, 2008

SPEAKER
Bill Strickland, President and CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation; author, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary

MODERATOR
Nana Watanabe, photographer and author, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making a Difference and Changemakers II: Working as a Social Entrepreneur

Armed with his trusty slide show and 30 years of experience as a leading social entrepreneur, Bill Strickland shared his inspirational story to a packed house at Japan Society on Wednesday, February 27. The program began with an introduction by award-winning photographer and author Nana Watanabe, whose serendipitous meeting with a punk rocker-turned-social entrepreneur earlier in her career motivated her to seek out and publicize the efforts made by social entrepreneurs. Inspired by her successful first book, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making the Difference, Japan Society invited her to photograph participants in the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network retreat in San Francisco in June 2006, where she met Bill. Deeply moved and impressed by Bill’s work, Nana profiled Bill in her most recent book Changemakers: Working as a Social Entrepreneur.

Bill Strickland describing his organization in Pittsburgh, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After being introduced and invited to the podium, Bill, a man standing around six feet-five inches tall and whose presence commands attention, began his presentation much like every other presentation he has given: with a joke. He has one presentation and he knows it and openly jokes about it. He says he feels sorry for those who have chosen to listen to it yet again, but deep down you know what he’s about to talk about is no joke. It’s this disarming and charming attitude that puts an audience at ease and allows his powerful message to reach the hearts and souls of people every day.

Bill began his slide show by describing his organization, the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, and the numerous job training and community arts programs they provide to disadvantaged children and adults. Inspired and, as Bill puts it, “saved” by his high school art teacher, Bill knew from the time he entered the University of Pittsburgh as a probationary student that he wanted to transform the lives of the people in his neighborhood. He knew that the first step in achieving his goal was to build a center worthy of the people he wanted to help. It would have to be a beautiful structure with tons of natural light, beautiful displays of artwork, flowers and a huge fountain in front of the building, because according to Bill, “When you put people in a world-class facility, you create world-class people. When you put them in prisons, you get prisoners.” This was his first step in killing the “spiritual cancer” infecting the poor people living in the ghetto. As a result, he had a student of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright design and build his center, which as we all found out, became the scale model for the Pittsburgh Airport.

The second ingredient of Manchester Bidwell’s recipe for success is the cutting-edge education people receive. Not only are students given a sense of the possibilities, but also a sense of control over their lives through music and arts programs. Additionally adults are learning trades such as pharmacology, culinary arts, and horticulture that can be applied to finding jobs that Manchester Bidwell has smartly identified as hard to fill by corporations in the greater Pittsburgh area. Connecting music and ceramics with pharmacology might seem like an odd paring, however Bill’s ability to see opportunities where others might only see obstacles allowed him obtain funding and expand Manchester Bidwell to the point where it is today. His relationship with the late Senator John Heinz brought his center a million dollar kitchen and top-notch culinary arts program, and contacts with Hewlett-Packard birthed a state-of-the-art computer lab and visual arts program.

Bill Strickland and Nana Watanabe fielding questions from the audience. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After expounding Manchester Bidwell’s philosophy of light and beauty as a way to lift people out of poverty, Bill explained his new goal: 100 centers in the United States and 100 around the rest of the globe. Centers have already been built in San Francisco, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids, MI, and new centers in places like Philadelphia and New Orleans are in the planning stages. Internationally, Bill was recently in Israel and sat down with Jews and Arabs where they discussed a plan for a new center that would target a diverse group of Jewish and Arab children and adults as well as immigrants to Israel from Russia, Ethiopia and around the world. Conversations about building centers have also begun in Ireland, South Africa, San Paulo and Costa Rica

Bill wants his book Make the Impossible Possible to be a source of inspiration and guiding light for people without hope. He wants a number one book for the media attention and financial backing that a best selling book can bring to help him communicate his message all over the world.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, reception and book signings by Bill and Nana.

[photos by Satoru Ishikawa]

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ダニエル・ピンクのブログを今日ちらっと見ていたら、ソーシャル・ネットワーク・サービスのFacebookに彼の著書”A Whole New Mind” (邦題は「ハイ・コンセプト 新しいことを考え出す人の時代」)のディスカッション・グループが出来たとか。なので私も早速参加。OrkutやFriendsterが最初に登場したときには、友人に勧められて登録をしたものの、あまり利用もせずにそのままになってしまった。オーストラリアに住む、あまり頻繁に連絡をしない友人からFacebook加入招待メールが届き、断るのも悪いと思い、つい一週間ほど前にアカウントをつくったら、数人の友人からメールがきてまた少し友達の輪が広がった。実はプロフィールにいろいろ書き込んだりする作業が億劫なので、最低限のことしか書いていない。同僚のA(24才)は、大学時代の友人とはFacebookを通じて密なコミュニケーションをとっていて、35才になってもFacebookを使い続けているだろうと断言していた。それを聞いて、彼の世代にはSNSを使ったコミュニケーションが、ライフスタイルに組み込まれているんだなと思った。

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For all of you that just purchased or want to purchase a new iPhone please take a couple minutes to step back and think about the Apple’s new product and what it means in terms of global connectivity and the importance of the Internet. Chances are if you are in the hunt for a new iPhone then you are probably connected to the Internet in more ways than one, either through your current cell phone, Blackberry, laptop computer, desktop computer, school computer or work computer. Yes, the iPhone is a phone, ipod and many other things, but most importantly, it serves as yet another Internet-penetrating-device. It’s another way for people to google, youtube and facebook to their heart’s content. Currently 69% of North America is connected to the Internet, according to Internet World Stats. I’m willing to bet this increases that number. Those of you who live in the United States like me know this country is very well connected. Most of us take LAN outlets and wireless hubs for granted nowadays. Need to check you e-mail? Pop into a Starbucks. Going on a date tonight and need to check movie times? Pull out your Blackberry. At times when I’m walking down the street or riding in a subway car it seems like everybody around me is connected to the Internet through some handheld device.

This introduction of the Blackberry, iPhone and Internet-ready cell phones is a testament to the importance of the Internet. These little tools are truly the closest thing to holding the world in the palm of your hand other than grabbing a globe and making a cute joke. Think of everything you have ever searched for, all the videos you’ve watched on YouTube, all of the music you’ve downloaded and articles and blogs you’ve read and you come to realize what an amazing invention the Internet is. You can learn languages, take virtual journeys through Tibet, manage your bank account and read Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, every public school in the United States is connected to the Internet. Nobody would think of you as crazy if you said everybody in the world should be connected to the Internet. However the problem of the lack of global connectivity exists in a very big way: Only 14% of the world is connected to the Internet. 14%!!! Only 43% of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America are connected to the Internet combined; however they make up about 82% of the world’s population! North America makes up only 5.1% of the world population but is connected to the Internet better than any other region in the world. That means people throughout the world have little or no access to what we take for granted day in and day out. Without computers and tools that allow Internet access people miss out on opportunities to learn skills and information essential to improving their lives. However, as dire as the situation may seem, this problem is more than solvable.

As you read this people are creating new ways to bring the Internet to those less fortunate.

Buying a new computer? Send your old one to Africa. Have an innovative idea on how to accelerate global connectivity? Give AMD’s Open Architecture Challenge sponsored by AMD 50×15 initiative a shot. By providing an opportunity to access the Internet you provide access to educational, social and economic information that can help allow people to improve their lives.

Before you buy that new iPhone or click on that icon that magically whisks you away to the Internet take a minute to think about those people who might really benefit from the Internet. They won’t be checking out movie trailers, they’ll be looking for ways to survive.

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