Dream On!

January 5, 2012


[The right to] dream is the difference between those who create the world, and those who live in it.” – Sonia Manchanda, the dreamer behind Dream:In.

What better way to start the new year than to talk about new dreams. But, before we do, let’s consider the art of design for a moment.

As a way of thinking, a skill, an approach to problem-solving, Design has been much in vogue recently. Daniel Pink wrote that it is one of the six essential skills for success in the 21st century. IDEO appears to be growing in leaps and bounds, and has a new non-profit avatar – IDEO.org – ambitiously dedicated to “designing an end to poverty”. And, as Bruce Nussbaum writes in Fast Company, you’d be surprised at how many of the technologies we use daily were dreamed up by people with a design background, including YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Airbnb and Vimeo.

But how could this work in less-tech countries?

Dream:In has one answer. Watch this lovely video on the power of dreams:

‘The Right to Dream’ | DREAM:IN Vision from DREAM:IN on Vimeo.

Bruce Nussbaum writes in Fast Company:

Idiom is pioneering an entirely new VC model called Dream:In. I was lucky enough to participate in it last year. It goes like this: Hundreds of students were trained to interview and tape thousands of people about their dreams–their aspirations, not their needs. The dreams were collected, categorized, and presented to business people, consultants, and folks like me to help draw up business plans to enable those dreams. Those plans are now in a portfolio, from which venture capitalists can choose by category, by individual concept, or by investing in the fund itself. Each year, students go out, dreams come in, business plans replenish the portfolio. When was the last time we even thought about a radical change in the VC model?

At the other end of the world, in the marginalized communities of tiny El Salvador, Amani Institute ED, Ilaina Rabbat, responded:

One of the workshops I run in El Salvador with youth is about dreams… The first reaction they have when you ask, “What is your dream?” is to say: “I don’t know, I don’t have any dreams”. And the more extroverted say “To go to university” or “Get a job”. But the end of the workshop, they really allow themselves to dream! Nobody had asked them before about their dreams. The next workshop then is about dreaming as a community, all together.

We live in a society where “dream on!” has become an expression of disdain. But if dreaming can change the way venture capital is allocated, and can help youth with no prospects dream up a better future, then it can change the world. Wait…it already has. It’s the only that ever has. So dream on.


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