Entrepreneurship as a Cure for Violence

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I-CAMP is a program to teach young people entrepreneurial skills such as computer programming. I-CAMP stands for Intrinsic, Community, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, which are fundamental elements for building wealth and health. According to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow:

If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas, like Chicago, have been labeled felons for life. These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste – a group of people who are permanently relegated, by law, to an inferior second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits — much as their grandparents and great-grandparents once were during the Jim Crow era.

There is a study that tracks murders in Newark, NY as an ‘infectious disease:’

Homicides in Newark have spread through the city over the past 30 years like an infectious disease and can be tracked and treated like a public health issue with prevention, inoculation and treatment, according to a study by Michigan State University.

The study, among the first to track murder through the lens of medical research, is part of a widening trend among local leaders and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat violent crime like a medical condition.

At the root of the problem, we at I-CAMP, see a population who doesn’t understand their own power of agency. Seth Godin wrote a blog entry addressing this issue:

Agency is the ability to make a decision, and to be responsible for the decision you make….

Every worker in every job is given a pass, because he’s just doing his job. The cigarette marketer or the foreman in the low-wage sweatshop… they’re just doing their jobs.

This free pass is something that makes the industrial economy so attractive to many people. They’ve been raised to want someone else to be responsible for the what and the how, and they’d just like a job, thanks very much.

As the industrial company sputters and fades, there’s a fork in the road. In one direction lies the opportunity to regain agency, to take responsibility for ever more of our actions and their effects. In the other direction is the race to the bottom, and the dehumanizing process of more compliance, a cog in an uncaring system.

It is important that we teach our children that we are all capable of doing work that matters and that our call is to step beyond our limits into an new understanding of what it means to be human.

Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

[Y]ou [cannot] understand why someone [is] healthy [or wealthy] if all you [do is] think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You [have] to look beyond the individual. You [have] to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town… their family came from. You [have] to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. ~ Malcolm Gladwell

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery— the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. ~ Daniel Pink

From an article by Vivek Wadhwa, we can take a lesson from the Indians:

Indians have done amazingly well as entrepreneurs in the Valley, but other groups—African Americans and women, to name two—remain largely out of sight.

Why were Indians so successful?

They agreed that the key to uplifting their community, and fostering more entrepreneurship in general, was to teach and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs.

It is time to adopt new education and business paradigms that reflects the science.
Dan Pink - Purpose

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Our economy, our democracy, and our society would all benefit from reducing inequality and increasing equality of opportunity.
The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz
According to Chris Dixon at Startup School 2013, there are two ways to develop startup ideas: through direct experience with tools/technologies, problems, perspectives; or through abstract things like analyst reports, trends, analogies (Airbnb for X, Uber for Y). The best ideas come through direct experience. The abstract things tend to be an encapsulation of conventional wisdom. When you diff your direct experience with conventional wisdom, that’s where the best startup ideas come from.
Since the direct experience of the people on the other side of the digital divide is very different, it should be the source of some great startup ideas.
I-CAMP is developing programs that include:
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