As an entrepreneur, strategic communications professional, and policy wonk, I've worked on social innovations in the for-profit and non-profit world, helping to develop campaigns and solutions to social and natural resource challenges.

I'm constantly tracking and analyzing what make us as humans, inspired to act and respond to new ideas. This is where I share my thoughts and notes. 


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The Evergreen State of Mind

A couple weeks ago I spoke at Dickinson College on the future of jobs in sustainability. A good portion of the theme of the speech focused on the Pacific Northwest as a case study for how the green economy and natural resources have been a significant part of the region's econmy for the last two decades, if not since explorers first arrived in the rich ecosystem.

This video series, titled Evergreen (found at is a joint production of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance and Seattle's More Dust Than Digital Films.   There is no doubt that the Pacific Northwest is a perfect example of a region that is more poised than any other region to move quickly to create immediate jobs in rapidly growing sectors such as Smart Grid.  It's not surprising that Jay Inslee is leading the way in this video; he's been doing more than just talking about our Apollo scale mission for energy for years.  This region isn't poised because they decided to recently jump on the band wagon, they've had an evergreen state of mind for some time now.


Car Sharing, Bike Sharing, and Video Sharing

e2 on PBS is clearly one of the most wonderfully shot, developed, and delivered video series on energy and the environment available on TV and on the web (via emPivot).  Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are the series narrators, and while these fellows are stars, the content clearly outshines even these famous actors' reputations.  With a perfect length and captivating content, the web versions of the show in a podcast format are clearly inspiring and mesmerizing. 


Jay Leno & FUEL

Jay Leno's Green Garage on

Jay Leno is to renewable energy what Oprah is to consumer products.
  Jay is quietly making a huge impact on America's awareness with his subtle and simple approach to understanding renewable energy issues.  Not only has Jay been spreading the word about fuel efficiency and vehicles, he's also really interested in the best renewable energy products for the home.   The most refreshing part about Jay Leno's approach is that he does it all with out sounding too preachy and he is well informed with out patting himself on the back for it.

Jay Leno as a green advocate is not news. With Monday night's interview of the FUEL's relatively unknown documentary producer and star Josh Tickell, Jay Leno is establishing him self as a champion of grass roots media efforts. While a lot of people have questioned his upcoming move to the 10 PM prime time slot, if Jay keeps elevating important issues to millions of Americans, he might just be able to make a lasting impression in the battle for America's attention.


Awareness About Climate Change in the mid-Atlantic

I've had a number of conversations over the last few days with friends and colleagues about public awareness related to climate change.  This video by the Climate Action Network provides an opinion about people's local understanding of where their electricity comes from in the mid-Atlantic.


"The Dig" on Coffee Shop Marketing

Check out other Photos by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

Discovering a New Band the Old Fashioned Way

We've all been there. The coffee shop bulletin board. Free guitar lessons, a new room mate needed (fill in your long list of what you need in a person), a bed for sale, the next big little concert, jobs to save the environment (and get paid too!), and a realtor's business card. Times are tough for these posting boards. The internet has taken over and replaced them. Actually BB's were some of the first active places on the early dial up ISPs. So BB's at your local coffee shop are dead, right?

Maybe not. As the dirge of information increases online, bulletin boards at local coffee shops, (you'll notice most Starbucks and other chain shops don't have BBs) have a unique opportunity to serve as what modern day advertisers might call, "viral distribution centers."

Sure there is an overwhelmingly amount of useless information. Most people though, look because they are curious and sometimes, you find a golden nugget. Which I did on Saturday at the coffee shop.

Waiting for my cup of 21 de Septiembre coffee at Big Bear Cafe in Washington, DC, I noticed a stack of blank TDK CD's with red marker writing on each disk placed on the shelf sitting next to the board games. Curious to find out if someone had left their collection of CDRW disks lying around I picked up one of the discs and started to investigate. THE DIG, LIVE AT THE BLACKCAT, Mon, Feb. 16th was the first thing I noticed on the disc. Ok, so this is a local DC band making their way up and giving away free discs I thought to myself. The songs on the disc were listed out. 1.) She's gonna kill that boy. 2.) Penitentiary. 3.) He's a woman. On the top of the label, THE DIG, , . As I picked up the entire stack of 50 discs I looked to see if all the discs are the same; if the band took the time to handwrite on each disc all this information. Yeup. Either this band is huge and has a sweatshop of interns writing out labels on CDRW discs or, the band sat around one night with a pack of sharpees and had a labeling party. I like the image of the latter.

Turns out THE DIG is up, on their new media marketing that is, and who ever is running that part of the band was smart enough to start interacting with their potential listeners in a very real way. In the coffee shop. After picking up the disc at Big Bear, I took it home, listened to it, and thought if I liked it that I would check out the web urls on the disc. The music was equally as sophisticated and intelligent as the way they got me hooked. Free music in a take home package, not over sold or too glitz. Simple, organic, hand made, but with a purpose. Kind of the way I like my coffee. The variety of promo websites turned out to be equally as adept and was surprised to find that this NY based band has over 10,000 followers on MySpace. On their home page you'll find the download for their free 16MB download that you can listen to on your computer. The whole thing got me feeling like the group was hinting at the Radiohead, free music strategy, without giving it all away.

I'll be heading to the Black Cat on Monday evening to see if their live shows are as smart as their marketing. One thing they've proven to me, coffee shop bb's aren't dead at all, you just have to do some diging, which is the fun part (Starbucks knows that coffee and music go together, but buying a CD or getting one free download from a card just isn't as interesting).