The fact that more people are paying attention to what’s going on around them gives Rosabeth Moss Kanter hope.
Question: What is your outlook?
Rosabeth Moss Kanter: I tend to be a natural optimist. I tend to talk positively about things. So my answer has to be "it depends. I think that if we continue current trends … current trends, many of them look negative. Current trends are that the income divide is widening around the world. Health problems coming from one place to another are getting scarier … that we might have pandemics that we're not prepared for. I mean those are a horror show of potential problems. On the other hand I am optimistic because I see more people paying attention to that. I see more leaders in institutions. I see more optimistic and hopeful candidates that don't want to turn their back on the world . . . that wanna solve problems. I'm seeing more young people who wanna get involved and make a difference. And I think it depends. If we encourage that kind of leadership … if we vote for those kinds of candidates …. if we each say, “What could I do to recycle? I have a friend who started a company called “One Bag at a Time so that we don't have to use as many grocery bags. Well it's true. If each one of us takes some small steps, those add up. If each one of us takes a positive agenda seriously . . . but we have to believe it's possible. Let's not give up.
I end “America the Principled", my new book, by do… writing what I call a “pep talk for America". Well, you know that sounds … kind of sounds like a cheerleader; but sometimes I think the country does need a pep talk. I hear too many people to say, "These problems are too big. We can't possibly do something about them. But yes we can. We have millions of people. Let's educate some more. Let's improve public education. Let's get high school students working on pieces of some of these problems. There was a set of high school students in New Hampshire that worked on an alternative fuel made from used cooking oil from local restaurants. And they were doing that as a science project. Well who knows? Maybe they'll have a breakthrough and we'll run all of our hybrid cars on used cooking oil from New Hampshire restaurants. I think it's possible. It's a matter of confidence.
Recorded on: 6/13/07