As we near the close of 2019, I want to take the time to reflect on the many relationships and ideas that make Beer and Napkins possible. It is easy to forget all the things we do and the people who make it happen in the year! First, I am appreciative of my accomplice, Paul Hebert who has been with me cultivating the Beer and Napkins vision for almost 10 years. Also, my friends and colleagues Tony Miller, Pam Wood Browne, Greg Holiday, and my brother Joel McCreight who have continually encouraged and nurtured our crazy ideas. Additionally, I want to thank two special individuals who have inspired me, Saul Kaplan, founder of the Business Innovation Factory, who has connected me to wonderfully serendipitous network and unlocked my perception of the connective and collaborative power of community. Last but not least, David Gray, who took special time with me to expand my knowledge of visual thinking. I know there are many more who have contributed to Beer and Napkins and have helped me grow, forgive me if I did not mention you, but I am grateful for you.
Not sure if it is my age or viewpoint, but 2019 has been a hectic year personally and professionally. Stack on the geopolitical chaos that has been permeating our feeds and collective psyche, I could think of no better acronym to describe the zeitgeist we are experiencing…
VUCA, coined at the Army War College to describe this chaotic, asymmetrical environment was the theme of Beer and Napkins this year. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This theme was the top of my TEDxTalk I conducted in March this year, it chronicled my non-linear career path along with a perspective of freedom fighters, borrowing on the lyrics from the play Hamilton’s Stay Alive, “Outrun, Outlast, and Hit ‘em Quick and Get out Fast”. Key takeaways: To be successful in the VUCA world, Reduce your Biases, Embed yourself in a Community, and Try Small Experiments.
See my TEDxTalk here: Face Change Like a Freedom Fighter
Thank you, Lisa Corley, for the picture!
Much of the year was building on this theme with meetups, podcasts dedicated to dialogue on how to navigate this VUCA world.
As part of this year’s theme we wanted to recognize those who embody Freedom Fighter qualities, appropriately focused in the “revolutionary” month of July we recognized the following individuals for their bias reducing, community building, and experimental focus.
The recipients were:
Each of these Freedom Fighters helps their respective communities in education, preparation, and connections. Thank you for your inspiration!
In 2019, we had several VUCA Meetups with the topic around Career Hacking. Our goal was to build a community around experimentation, pushing the boundaries around traditional career paths and approaches to job searches, career assessments, and resources.
We also had a unique opportunity to expand our conversations to the Chicago area. Special thank you to Molly M. Cantrell-Kraig for hosting a VUCA session on resilience and sharing her new bias busting book “Circuit Train Your Brain”
Big thanks to Pete Wendell, another BIF connection for helping nurture the Chicago conversations.
Events and Meetups are at the heart of our vision to nurture ideas in 3rd Spaces. Community Tap has been a big supporter and we appreciate the space where we can drink good beer and do community brainstorming. Thank you Community Tap! A big thank you to Susan McLarty, Coordinator for Greenville Homeless Alliance, of the city of Greenville. In partnership, this past year Beer and Napkins coordinated three events related to sustainable and resilient Greenville communities. We called it LinkinGVL.
The two events were:
LinkingGVL: Rethinking the link of Affordable Housing and Accessible Public Transportation
LinkingGVL: Rethinking Link of the Comprehensive Plan: Connecting Housing, Transportation and Land Use.
We love Podcasts! It is a great way to learn and connect with great minds! We recorded three podcasts this year, we had an innovator, an artist, and a futurist… what a fun and engaging experience this year with these awesome folks
Innovator, Consultant, and Mentor Deb Mills-Scofield – The Blue Lobster
UK Artist and Creative Organizational Development – Doug Shaw – Keep It Messy!
Futurist and Advisor- Dr. Chris Rice- Future is Not what it Seems
What’s Next…The Roaring Twenties
Well, let’s just hope there is no prohibition! We may just have to go underground. In all seriousness, we hope to continue to diversify our connections, our projects, and perspectives this coming year. Being a Freedom Fighter will become ubiquitously part of our modus in the coming years. Please stay tuned for our long-gestating Beer and Napkins Field Book. As we pursued small experiences beyond our Greenville home, we strive to continue our vision of a revolution of ideas throughout this country and the world through partnerships, ecosystem development, and technology. Please let us know your ideas and thoughts on how we can serve you and your community.
Thank you and have a blessed New Year
Founder, Beer and Napkins.