Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.
Burnsville, MN, United States

About Andrea

Bio

I am a CEO, entrepreneur, participatory researcher, leader, learner and storyteller -- a generalist with a bent for seeing hidden connections between often quite opposite people and engaging all to see and change together. I find doing so is a great adventure.

Or, if you prefer CV/resume lingo:

I work as a consultant, writer and founder and co-leader of DynamicShift.

I employ my leadership and communications abilities in innovative and forward-focused business, civic and cultural work in diverse settings.

I specialize in engaging and facilitating diverse people, organizations and groups in individually relevant efforts that isolate and address common public and community problems. 



I provide targeted reaction, early-stage thinking and strategy development on multi-factorial, interconnected and intentionally distinct evolutions. 


I present context-, environment- and vernacular relevant talks, presentations and panels. Catalyzing and integrating participant experience, perspective and sustained change.

I started DynamicShift in Fall 2009. It is a grassroots initiative that employs positive public kindling and productive discourse to illuminate civility.

Our efforts influenced several civility discussions and WetheP, Inc. the social-action/social media/social enterprise Company I founded in 2012.

Areas of Expertise

Change agency

An idea worth spreading

An unplanned innovation evolving into a meme wherein underemployed people are challenged with problem solving.

Imagine if all engaged in efforts to build resume, reputations and real progress for their community and culture while staving off stress, isolation and depression for and with others.

Say a mechanical engineer redesigned local businesses' buildings pro-bono for greater efficiency? Or if professors took time off from a few seen-and-be seen lectures in ivory towers to work in local schools and brought back robust and fundable research themes? What about civic experts coaching idealistic and promising young leaders on public improvements that impact both?

The pivotal point here is intention. The efforts shouldn't be construed as volunteering, but co-constructive agency. By stating professional needs for work while partnering with other's efforts, productive energies and outcomes can catalyze local economies, which in turn can lead to paid work

I'm passionate about

People engaging the hidden humanity in themselves and very different others.

Talk to me about

Any of the above, or: What you are doing to engage with different others in co-construct efforts.

My TED story

I heard in Elizabeth Lesser's "lessons" hope for my own efforts. Her lesson's echo smaller ones I've been working on communicating, too. I was reassured, heartened and inspired to do a whole lot more! I'm grateful Ted captured the wisdom of Lesser's Take the Other to Lunch talk. I will! And will tell others of all stripes to, as well!

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted almost 2 years ago
Benjamin Barber: Why mayors should rule the world
Excellent thinking and, indeed timely and politically pragmatic. Related-- Here a madame Mayor 'homie' dances with her neighbor-youth, even as she debates which potholes to fix first, and, as basketball players in her community show how fun place-based governance can work, most delightfully: http://democracyu.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/follow-the-student-leaders-for-serious-but-fun-participatory-democracy/ And, here: an example of how interdependent (constructivist) ecosystems that Barber refers to as critical for post-nation state times like these and, work from 'tips to roots' -- http://dynamicshift.org/archives/act-like-a-tree And a 'Public Narrative 101' primer or, in Barbers words re: "announcing ourselves as citizens (in our Cities), as participants and people with the right to create our own narratives." From our place, predicament and presence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvbjk86pWQg Andrea Morisette Grazzini Here
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted almost 2 years ago
Who makes the change?- a scientist, a social reformer or a writer.
Lalitha -- Everyone makes change. Scientists and social reformers (including writers) serve only, at best, as communicators and catalysts, whose abilities to engage others to a concern or cause are their contribution to the effort. But, without many, many others, social change simply can't occur. Here's something I wrote that explains my point through a constructivists prism: http://dynamicshift.org/archives/act-like-a-tree Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted about 2 years ago
So, what is the purpose of men in modern families?
Theodore -- Though I've long been the breadwinner in my family, even before I became a single parent, I'm unsettled by this question. While it's true modern familial contexts have changed, and thus, paternal roles would likely, too. It worries me that some are so naive or superficial to really think that fathers might not 'bring anything unique to the table.' In any case, the lack of men as heads of many households shouldn't imply their lack of purpose -- which can be different for different families, but, in my view, is critical for serving as: leader, partner, lover and parent -- at the very least! And, perhaps even more. As these favorite 'citizen fathers' I know, exemplify: http://dynamicshift.org/archives/coaches-time-to-train-citizen-fathers Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
"Why Can't We Solve Big Problems?"
Hi Scott, Agreed, but I'd amend your 'Age of Propaganda'. We've been in it since early 20th Century when Edward Bernaise, et al were called in to 'manipulate the masses' through psychological techniques applied to marketing. I'd say we're at the peak of this Age. One hopes a realization that we're being 'sold' bills of goods will inspire us to eschew such tactics. The internet in particular has been a critical force in social change to, as you note: keep things honest. I look at civic engagement outcomes, and there's no Q this effect is building transformative momentum worldwide. The best evidence is we're seeing an acceleration towards an impending disruptive clash, I expect. As powers-that-be push back on the emergent power of open, democratic ideals and practices many in tech are employing to illuminate consciousnesses for greater good. As transparency-preferring techies use their unique power to hold gained positions for open dialogue, widespread awareness and related outcomes. Needless to say the powers-that-be are deploying their own technologists. Why I think an impending clash looms large. All of this much informs a For-Benefit technology company I'm just now raising capital for: WetheP. It will marry online and offline techniques that maximize the best of both while minimizing their less constructive features, too. Needless to say I'm excited about what we're doing--and go so far as to say its 'huge.' In great part because we are at this crossroads were synthesizing the expedient and profoundly extrapolative power of tech with the intrinsic wisdom and authenticity of 'real-world' human interactions, which can achieve a far more sustainable and beneficial interdependence. A critical place leadership must engage is business. So, last year I wrote this essay "Killer App for Angel Investors: Authenticity" http://bit.ly/HID9yF to set the tone. I'm delighted themes like 'conscious capitalism' are coming into media focus. There's hope! Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
How do you build offline meaningful social connections?
Lisa, What a heartening question to hear. I'd wager a majority of people seek meaningful relations and, if not, intentionally engage them, would certainly welcome them--beyond, as you note, cyberspace. I think there are two or three primary Qs to ask first: Why, Where and Who? Once these are known, the How?, in my view is actually really easy. First, the Why? Why do want meaningful connections? Because I'm lonely, bored, want to step out of my normal circles, need to change companions, want to share specific activities with others interested in the same or new to the area? The answer will inform the next two Qs, of course. Once you've got an idea of these, making the connections themselves is as easy as asking questions. Most people enjoy sharing bits of themselves, as long as they feel the other person's curiosity is sincere. In the process of dialoguing with each other, you'll discover what if any shared interests you have. From these you can deeper your discussion to orient around them in more meaningful ways. And, if all goes well, agree to stay in touch -- maybe plan to catch up at the same place sometime and continue the dialogue. This 'technique' can be expanded to bring more people into your fold, using roughly the same process. I've found when meaningful connections occur, where both parties recognize how nice they are, they are interests in intentionally extrapolating the effect and bringing others in where apropos, to share in relationship building. And, if for any 'breaking the ice' sounds too daunting, you might consider three more things: First is that it is likely that nearly everyone at different times has wished to have a meaningful connection around shared interests. Second, that nearly all people feel some reluctance to risk reaching out, but someone has to 'make the first' move. And, Third: you are not only doing yourself a favor, you are also giving someone who might well appreciate it, some attention. Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
"Why Can't We Solve Big Problems?"
Scott, Well said. As for how this threshold between Self and Community the connects solutions to problems that you suggest. It might be at once well-served and yet also undermined by technologies. This effect likely lies around the dynamics of individuals and the social realms they interface, which, not surprisingly can be amplified by technology. In both positive and negative ways by both the connective, collective and awareness-enhancing features and/or the insidious insolation if not anti-social effects over-dependence on technology can result in. Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
"Why Can't We Solve Big Problems?"
Jason, I suspect one reason we can't solve big problems is our habit of focusing more on the finite ends than infinite means inclusive of dynamic variables that inform, affect and/or obstruct solutions. We generally commit to linear, static and step-wise if complicated solutions to systemic, amorphous and increasingly complex or 'elegant' problems. We rarely factor in all factors. Including unknown. Not that we don't realize big problems need big-picture answers, but we neglect much of their evolving context. In part because we're constrained by resources like time, money and various issues that can distract, over-extend or redirect our efforts, we tend to fall into the trap of either over-simplifying or over-complicating our solutions. We tolerate little that isn't clear, expected, desired or know-able. While so little of what we are faced with neatly submits to any of these ideals. Something of a 'best-laid plans' effect goes on. We access and analyze the problem, before predicting and/or proposing outcomes, planning for them and finally applying our solutions. While we might stagger and/or stage-in this process to accommodate some variables, in general we avoid deviating once it's underway. Which wouldn't be all bad, if we built it to accommodate what I call "acts of God" that crop up uninvited and unanticipated. Sometimes due to lacks in our analyses, planning or flexibility, other times due to serendipity, dumb luck, whatever. These might be negative or constructive agents that don't or can't easily fit into the plan. They are, of late, aptly understood as 'disruptions.' Rather then yield as disruptions emerge, embracing them as fodder for iteration and/or amendment of a dynamic if not dialogic process, we tend to respond by ignoring them or scrapping the effort. In exceptional cases, we maximize disruption, and/or minimize its impacts. Accepting and addressing the asymmetry with intentionally elastic processes can yield robuster outcomes. Andrea
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
Can democracy survive without journalism?
Lejan, I could not agree more. Here's one attempt of mine: http://dynamicshift.org. A cross-partisan cross-sector communications and engagement vehicle. Another, "WetheP" is coming soon -- a much bigger For-Benefit effort (a hybrid For- and Non-profit company, specifically to avoid the conflicting challenges both types struggle with). We'll measure our success not only on how much money the Company makes, but equally as much on how effective we are in engaging democratic outcomes with and for stakeholders. The latter, of course, is critically implicit for balancing the inherent conflicts of for-profit-only journalism, which too often is beholden to advertising and hidden interests related to money, influence and hierarchal power. In any case, I'm with you: the biggest challenge for us as individuals, companies and communities will be 'just allowing' ourselves to embrace this new way of communicating information critical to democracy. While this challenge implies the concern, if not expectation, of repression or obstruction by hierarchal powers-that-be, it it also gets at the reticence or apathy of citizens, a more complex problem that will need much coaxing. Citizens in much of the world and more particularly in Western societies, have come to perceive themselves as consumers of information and the benefits of democracy, rather than co-curators of either and both. It likely goes without saying this "not my job" attitude is pervasive in the United States, where I live. Not necessarily because citizens don't care, more because they aren't used to being so intrinsic to the practices that inform democracy, beyond voting. To capitalize on today's unprecedented opportunities is to accept and 'own' a position(s) of power in this new realm by intentionally engaging and communicating as co-leaders of society. Delighted to see you're onto this all. Indeed, a new and exciting era is dawning for deeper and more authentic democratic practices around the world! And
109412
Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Posted over 2 years ago
Can democracy survive without journalism?
Sid, If you define journalism as the objective reporting of 'truth,' I'd agree democracy can't survive without it. That said, if such journalism is understood as not only 'professional' or 'paid' journalism, but as any objective reporting of the truth, I'd say there's less to worry about. Any citizen anywhere who reports objective and true facts is, in my view, akin to a 'journalist.' And this has been a factor in democracies before professional publications were produced and since professional publications, as you note, have become systemically corrupted. Thus, there has never and will never be any real threat of the annihilation of journalism. But all this wrestles with semantics and philosophy. Better Q's are: who and what defines 'objective and true' journalism? Can non-professional citizen journalists report the news sufficient to meet the definition of 'journalist?' And, is there such a thing as absolutely objective and true information? My view: Yes, citizen journalists can report news and raise awareness sufficient for democracy. I'd say anyone who communicates objectively and truthfully, even through things like the arts or casual conversations, can report equally as effectively as 'professional journalists.' But, to the Q of whether there is such thing as absolutely objective and true information, I'd say: No. All information, regardless where it comes from and whom communicates it, is informed by both the 'where' and 'whom,' and many more factors. Including audience and context(s). All can, and do, effect relative objectivity and truth. To bring this together. Most 'professional journalism' is corrupted, to varied extent. Primarily due to money and power interests, which always impact democratic outcomes. Since both are near omnipresent, meaningful 'citizen journalism' is critical to democracy. But, it, too, can be far from perfect. So one more Q to ask: Which journalists, professional or non-, are relatively more trustworthy? Andrea