Michael Shaun Conaway is the well-known director of the award-winning documentary, WeRiseUP – and my guest today on Inside Ideas.
“People, together, can invent a world that works for all of us, that works for the planet.”Michael Shaun Conaway
The hit film asks what success looks like for humanity, a question it explores with some of the world’s most influential leaders, who are united in their desire to show humanity that a desirable world really is still out there for the taking.
“I really can’t imagine focussing on anything else other than having people rise up to create a better world – I think I’ll go to the end of my days championing that,” Michael told me.
And he also wants the film to inspire people to ask themselves what success looks like for them.
“The basic lesson of the film is, discover what your gifts are. Figure out what your purpose in life is, what’s important to you,” he says. “Think what you’d like to make a difference in and then figure out a way to do that, either by yourself or with others; on a small local level, or on a larger national, international level.”
The award-winning filmmaker has been pretty good at taking his own advice, evidenced by the five successful ventures he has launched, including Bold.ly NOW, an entrepreneur education platform, and Storyworks, a social impact creative agency. He is also behind the non-profit Generative Futures initiative.
For Michael, creating a desirable world hinges on guaranteeing the basic needs of everyone, whether that’s food, a home, education. With these foundations, he says, “we can talk about all kinds of crazy and fun models to incentivise different kinds of behaviours”.
“If we don’t become freed up from the survival pressures that we have, all 8 billion of us, it’s hard to imagine making the leap to new kinds of values or economics,” he said.
Michael’s mission is to play his part in creating a world where people are given the chance to unleash their greatness so that, in turn, they can help bring about a thriving future.
“There are 8 billion people who have the capacity to generate amazing visions for the future of humanity – isn’t that amazing?” he adds.
The prevailing narratives may be somewhat dystopian and dispiriting in nature. Which is something that needs to radically change if people are to believe that a desirable world is possible. When that shift in thinking happens, that future becomes inevitable. And through his work, Michael is pushing every day for that moment to arrive. So I am delighted to welcome him onto the show to find out more about what he’s doing to help trigger this paradigm shift.