“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” — J.K Rowling,

Two years ago, I started working on a project with one of the world’s largest beverage companies. Our goal was to create a design thinking (DT) innovation lab that would increase employee engagement and improve internal shared services. During workshops, we started noticing barriers that were limiting potential outcomes. Participants thought they were being human-centered, but in reality, they were self-centered. They were unconsciously focused on being right or “winning” rather than establishing meaningful connections and coalitions.

With the best intentions, they would continue through the DT process and unconsciously revert to a self-centered approach. They mastered the process but lacked the ability to truly embody the human-centered attributes of empathy, ambiguity, diversity and inclusion, altruism, and equanimity.


We found participants had a lack of awareness of their own humanness. They had not developed their own internal connection through self-discovery and introspection. There was no link to their greater potential, drive, and passion. They were totally blinded to their unconscious and limiting actions of resistance and sabotage.

This lack of self-awareness made it almost impossible to collapse the internal polarities between right and wrong, us and them, and control and curiosity. One of the greatest divides we discovered was between vulnerability and risk inside the workshop and the confrontation of fear and scarcity outside the workshop. The goodwill and hope developed in the workshop were met with a hammer instead of positive support out in the day to day world. That hammer devastates dreams of moving forward and cripples the human spirit with shame.

We came to realize that if we wanted to truly innovate, then participants needed to connect internally before they could connect to the problem, the solution, and others. Humanness and innovation are relational. Greater self-discovery enables a deeper dive into research discovery which in turn, leads to wider leaps in innovation.


“If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves, including their unarmored, whole hearts — so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people — we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard and respected,” wrote Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, in her book “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.”

With greater humanness, DT becomes more than just a problem solving or innovation tool. It becomes a powerful opportunity to transform people, cultures, and communities. We must remove our armor and find the courage to connect to our own vulnerability, worthiness, shame resilience, bravery, and trust because the key principles of innovation and design thinking require it to succeed. Take empathy for example. Without shame resilience, the courage to lean in, listen and find compassion instead of fear, blame, and disconnect, you can’t have true empathy.

If the armor can’t come off, we are less vulnerable, more risk-averse and stubbornly polarized. We lack compassion, understanding, and goodwill for others. We leave untapped opportunities on the table: limiting our own power and success. This is why we must first change ourselves, how we see ourselves and the world around us before we can change the world. THIS IS WHY I CREATED HUMANGOOD.


Humangood is a co-creative framework that focuses on all of our humanness, not just our ability to gain customer insights or cross-pollinate ideas. With greater self-awareness, we are able to establish a knowingness of who we truly are. This “I AM” effect enables individuals to collapse the internal polarities of self-protection, resistance, and ego. It allows them to stand in the contrast, confident and sure-footed, collapsing the external polarities of not knowing, being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Only then can we observe, be curious and explore possibilities without judgment.

These powerful, transformational moments produce a wellspring of possibilities and the ability to nurture them. They are the lynchpin to success, but the most important part is demonstrating our innate ability — our power to transmute the unknown into rich and immeasurable opportunities.

“How different would you be…your organization, your community, the world, if you could embody, replicate, and scale this “I AM” ability? — Pate

THIS is Humangood: unleashing human potential to create a powerful human engine of co-creation and positive change.

  • A Curious Pate



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A CURIOUS PATE — exploring the bigness of life, experiencing the self-permission and freedom to invent, and inspiring others to do the same. www.dohumangood.com