Annoucing Fuse Corps: a bold new approach to social innovation

by peter

*UPDATE: Tech Crunch runs review of Fuse Corps.

For the past several years, I have had the great pleasure of collaborating with a remarkable group of people to create and launch Fuse Corps, an innovative social venture that will pair some of America’s top entrepreneurial leaders with governors, mayors and community leaders across America to drive meaningful social change. We identify concrete projects in local communities that address a national priority (such as education, economic development or health care). We then recruit and deploy highly-skilled and passionate professionals to help develop and implement innovative and lasting solutions. Here’s a short two minute video with the overview, featuring Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a dynamic leader who will have two Fuse Corps fellows reporting to him in 2012, including one who will help him drive energy reforms and one to catalyze creative ways to reform the Sacramento Unified School District:

It will be a very prestigious honor to be selected as a Fuse Corps Fellow, and about half of the 2012 pilot 10 fellows will come from sponsoring companies like McKinsey, Starbucks, G.E., McDonalds, and so on. The other half will come from all walks, as applications are open to all. We are looking for creative, dynamic, doers who have a history of catalyzing and leading, with a willingness to get their fingernails dirty in the trenches of America to help renew and reinvent the country from the bottom up.

My cofounders include a diverse and dedicated group of leaders, including, Lenny Mendonca, a senior partner @ McKinsey & Company (& cofounder with his wife, Christine of the awesome Half Moon Bay Brewery), the talented social entrepreneur Jennifer Anastasoff who has vigorously taken on the challenge of being our fearless leader, David Viotti, the former Chief Learning Officer of Sun (US) and Fuse Corps’ chief learning officer, Ayesha Khana, who leads the Civic Incubator at the Points of Light Institute, which will incubate Fuse in year 1 and provide back-end services, Margeurite Kondracke, long time CEO and now senior advisor to General Colin and Alma Powell’s education nonprofit America’s Promise, and the dynamo who is Sonal Shah, who until recently led the White House Office on Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

It has taken a remarkable team effort to get this venture off the ground, and while it has not been easy, it has been endlessly rewarding and fun, and laughter filled, a testament to the team involved, which includes many other amazing people not included here, such as the teams @ the Stanford Institute of Design (the d.school), where every fellow will begin their experience to learn how to think and work like an entrepreneur, and our friends at KIVA, the Aspen Institute, and in education circles, including our first two cheerleaders and advisors, Alan Khazei, the legendary cofounder of City Year, and Teach for America founder and CEO, Wendy Kopp, who needs no introduction.

But at a time when the country (and world) are desperate for fresh approaches to problem solving, as Thomas Friedman and Michael Mendelbaum describe so well in their new book That Used to be US, rather than the status quo top down approach, we hope that Fuse Corps can help provide both positive leadership to help solve citizens’ problems from the ground up, while nuturing a generation of leaders who can think and act differently throughout their lives, and to carry with them an empathy for problems they may not see in their day to day lives inside companies, the military, or any other part of society.

Applications are now open, via the Fuse Corps website.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it, but and that starts with little bets from everyone, so thanks for taking a moment, so please JOIN US and if you could take a look, encourage great people to apply, and help spread the word if you can.

LET’S DO THIS!

This revolution will be improvised. ;)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Trevor Eissler October 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

Congratulations on the launch of Fuse Corps! Can’t wait to see this effort soar! I love that your logo above is from MontessoriMadMen.com. Just let me know how I can help the growth of Montessori education be the first Fuse Corps project in Sacramento! Instead of putting band-aids on existing ills, let’s start from the ground up with a broad Montessori-education initiative for young children that can grow, develop, and eventually transform the community.

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Laureen Golden October 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hope is kindled when I think of what might happen for children and society if the remarkable team at Fuse Corp were to put their drive and passion behind Montessori education! If “nurturing a generation of leaders who can think and act differently throughout their lives” is Fuse Corp’s mission, Montessori education, which cultivates compassion, creativity, initiative, and HOW to think (rather than what to think), is the means to make this dream a reality.
“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” ~H.G. Wells
Congratulations on your hard work! Love what you are doing! LET’S DO THIS!!!

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Aidan McAuley October 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

“Water the flowers, not the weeds.”

Fuse Corps represents a “not so” novel idea. That idea being that the people in this country have the power, that business, corporations and the government can and SHOULD work together to serve a greater good. Fuse Corps is providing workers who are digging irrigation trenches where they have never been dug before and the water is trickling in with greater momentum and volume each day.

Montessori education will provide the future workers and leaders of Fuse Corps. I hope that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will seek the help offered here by incredible Montessori advocates…just as soon as he visits and observes a Montessori classroom!

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