We may all have to learn to be immigrants suggest Deb Pickfield, TEDx speaker and head honcho at Thinkspot.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 29, 2012  She was added to the speakers list at the last minute – or so it appeared,  but she may have had the idea most worth talking about at the Burlington TEDx, held at the Performing Arts Centre last Sunday.  Deb Pickfield, head honcho of Thinkspot, a place on Locust Street, where ideas move forward, just a hop skip and a short jump from where she spoke to more than 100 people suggesting  immigrants are the embodiment of innovation and that if we do not innovate, our economy cannot grow in a sustainable manner.

Using data and commentary from the Conference Board of Canada, Pickfield explained: “At every level of analysis, immigrants are shown to have an impact on innovation performance that is benefiting Canada.

 Immigrants are by definition seekers of a better way—the very embodiment of innovation

To immigrate:  to become established in a new environment

What can we learn from people who immigrate?

What would it take for us to behave and think like immigrants?

Can it happen when we simply learn the job of someone else or join a new network?

Why would someone immigrate? 

How would they feel?  Scared?  Uncertain?   Hopeful?

Why would the hope be worth the uncertainty and fear?

Why would people who immigrate be willing to risk everything and learn a whole new way of being in order to build a better future for themselves, their children, and their children’s children?

What can we learn from immigrants who RISK, SHARE, LEARN when they decide to leave their old environment?

Deb Pickfield, TEDx Burlington speaker and president of Thinkspot, suggests to an audience that immigrants are the real innovators and that we have much to learn from them.

Why are we afraid of RISK?

Why do we start to build walls around ourselves at age 9, Grade 4, when we realize others are better at certain things than us?

Why do we fear failure? 

Why is it difficult to embrace failure as learning?

What would it take for us to share what we have and know with others?

What would we share to create a better future for generations we don’t even know yet?

Why is it difficult to give up in order to share?

Why are we likely uncomfortable with these gaps of silence?

Why do we do our best to fill periods of silence?

What if we are not listening to others if we are waiting to fill the gaps of silence?

What if immigrants listen well to understand and to LEARN?

What would we do if we could not be understood?

Would we listen deeper to understand more?

What if by living in a community like Burlington, in a country like Canada, we become too comfortable?

What if by being comfortable we become complacent?

What if by being complacent we seek to protect what we have?

What if to protect we focus on safety and security?

What if by building safety and security we risk less?

What if by risking less, we learn and contribute less?

What if we could RISK, SHARE, LEARN like an immigrant?

What if these are the key ingredients for creativity?

What if we need to RISK, SHARE, LEARN to be innovative?

Can we be that strong?

Can we try, stumble, fall and keep on going?

Can we afford not to?

What if we make a point of RISKING, SHARING, LEARNING something every day?

What’s stopping us from having the heart of an immigrant?

Those are ideas worth sharing – but the comfortable who have become complacent and have forgotten how to share risk and learn are the ones who will eventually lose out to the innovators who are probably going to be immigrants who are going to eat our lunch and take away our clients – because they know how to risk, share and learn.

Pickfield is on to something – are the rest of us?





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