Human Technology: A Founder's Journey

Running a company can be incredibly challenging. I started Causeit in 2006, without a clear vision for the business, but with a remarkably big, broad vision for my life's work. Having done several years of personal, transformative work alongside academic study in my field of Cyborg Anthropology, I was really clear that I was committed to creating love, joy and community in the world. Being my own boss meant dealing with someone whose work was never done—whose scope, as the corporate world might call it, was inexhaustibly broad.

everal years later (seven, to be precise), I'm still constantly attending to the intersection of my personal and business visions, how they play out in the world, and what it means for my team. Our work has narrowed, though, to the specific focus of innovation, in service of a more mindful technological future:

I recently returned from six weeks' journey, teaching about innovation and entrepreneurship at my alma mater Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, a slew of client work and interviews for our Field Guide to Creating Cultures of Innovation in New York City, a month in London filled with a startup challenge (put on by Innotribe of SWIFT and Level 39) and the extraordinary first big event & experience of the people-innovation focused PurpleBeach. I concluded with a week with my personal and spiritual community in Southern Oregon.

I think it was the right time to take a journey. We're coming up on the emerging third version of Causeit, Inc. We started as a coaching and consulting firm helping people reach their full potential, and then created another version of ourselves in brands, content and strategy. Now, we're fostering a vision for what's next, which centers in the work we've been doing in recent years of supporting innovation ecosystems. 

Innovation is a beautiful concept. Hackneyed as the term may be in business, it does indicate several important things about a business or organization. In short, innovation can mean creating new value. The acknowledgment of the need for that opens up conversations otherwise closed to discussion—the untouchable challenges of leadership personalities, business models, who the 'customer' or ecosystem is, and even the fundamental purpose of a business. 

My personal work in the world, and to a large degree, by extension, Causeit's work in the world, is ultimately about helping people develop a healthy relationship with technology. We see that there is incredible opportunity in the world of technology to become more meaningfully human, rather than less—more meaningfully connected, productive, and aware. 

Causeit's work is essentially about how to support companies and organizations grappling with huge challenges: the transition from hierarchy to network, the rising tide of Big Data, new economic models, a changing workforce, and an increasingly informed and empowered "consumer." Our goal is not to help these firms 'conquer obstacles' so much as thrive by adapting to this new normal, and bringing more of their gifts as individuals to their work as organizations. 

You see, we feel that many of the new technologies we're creating are being envisioned, coded and owned by organizations based in models of leadership and worldviews which just can't cope with what they're creating. This isn't about blame or condescension—just awareness of the imbalance in our evolution. Our facility with the engineering, tactical, silicon-and-code side of our technology is progressing, but our human technology has not kept pace. Very few individuals in these organizations feel enabled to change the 'drift' they experience, not knowing by what channel to ask questions about the true implications of their technologies or their business models. As a society, we are creating a new intelligence and a new wave of evolution, the stuff of science fiction, and we can go the direction of the Terminator or something far more based in the best of humanity, by finding ways to bring wisdom, mindfulness and true critical thinking to our business plans, our code, and our teams.

That's what's emerging from Causeit's own process, which will soon be followed up with the tangible offerings and initiatives which we will use to support our human evolution through business innovation. I invite you to weigh in as we consider our process of crafting a new vision, and if you're so inclined, to come play with us.

With love, 
MJ Petroni, Principal, Causeit, Inc.