When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

Imagine this shift: You switch up your commute, grocery store, go-to sets and reps at the gym. You stray outside of routine. At work, you crack open your approach to how you tinker away at a problem. You are willing to get lost and surrender to the unknown, immersed in what is present. You commit to “Do one thing every day that scares you.” You feel displaced, unrooted. You stick to re-working the problem trying unpopular methods. You have a breakthrough. Insight. Idea. Setback. Another idea, more brilliant. Newfound perspective that powers your next steps. You nail it.  

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  The tekMountain global innovation ambassador program is a first-of-its-kind endeavor to provide aspiring entrepreneurs a life-changing journey by immersing them into various innovative ecosystems across the globe. Their exposure to the world’s different markets, energies, ideas, and global experiences opens access to the pulse of global innovation—and creates the next generation of entrepreneurs, committed to crafting solutions to some of our world’s most pressing challenges.

We’ve had an enormously successful launch of the program this year. We followed along with the journey of our first participant, Mary Brannock, a Women’s eHealth innovator. We hope that her experience broadened her global perspective and honed her ability to be an organizing force that will stimulate positive change to address society’s needs.

Like many first-time international travellers, Mary embraced the unknown brilliantly. In her own words, after reflection on her international excursion:

A stage in life we often take for granted is that of the amateur. When traveling – you are the novice. You may not be fluent in Spanish, know the metro or immediately understand why it is taboo to talk about sex in Indonesia. This is the greatest gift. You become the learner, listener and most importantly, you become understanding. It is key to put ourselves in situations that cause discomfort – we grow the most in these. Traveling solo around the world was uncomfortable in the best way.

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Mary’s trip was a rich, insightful well to draw from: she forged connections with technologists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and research institutions like the Farr Institute. She observed, first-hand, the current state of women’s healthcare. Her findings laid the groundwork to tekMountain’s rich and varied knowledge base.

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Our ambassador was intrepid, open and was willing to go there. Mary expands on her eye-opening experience:

With this new lens, you can truly see what is in front of you. To pick out patterns, see outcomes and distinguish between proximate and distal causes. Before traveling, my understanding of maternal and child health was from the pages of articles and books. To understand the multifaceted issues faced by women in Bali or elsewhere: you need to meet them, live in their world, forget everything you think you know and listen.

Mary’s dedication to deeply listen, learn and understand the challenges global communities face reinforce tekMountain’s commitment to broaden our perspective to cultivate our culture of collaboration, dialogue, and resource-sharing. Mary continues, with her sharp insight:

I also saw how introducing technology as a supplement to health programs can eliminate barriers seen in health systems. It is important to first understand the health system needs rather than focusing on the technology, that should come after. I believe this will help decipher gaps in health innovation by identifying the constraints to health interventions. For example, religion’s impact on sexual health messaging and high rates of teenage pregnancy within a given initiative.

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Our goals:

  • Empower our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to tackle the world’s most pressing problems
  • Identify emerging markets, networks, experts and solutions to meet dynamic global market needs
  • Connect with big picture thinkers and leaders that are intrinsically plugged into the networks which leverage innovation through radically changing times
  • Forge a robust global community that empowers the voice of the entrepreneur
  • Harness inspiration to create innovative solutions to stimulate positive change

Together, tekMountain and its ambassadors are building a stronger, more deeply connected international network of the most dynamic, forward thinking problem solvers of our time.

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We are confident that Mary’s insight powered by her global perspective will help her drive innovation. We learned a tremendous amount from her experience and are inspired by her multidimensional approach. In closing, in her own words:

Participating as the first tekMountain Ambassador for Women’s eHealth has been a life altering experience. I feel that this position has taught key lessons that I will need in the coming months of graduate school and throughout my life. These include: resourcefulness –learning about culture, ordering food in Bahasa, and beginning to decipher barriers to health access are a few examples. Thinking in dimensions – what I mean by this is to see something in three or four dimensions, to truly comprehend what is in front of you and to better solve problems. Embrace being the amateur – As mentioned, this is by far the best way to learn and the only way to see in dimensions. Furthermore, I am excited to see the progression of tekMountain’s ambassador program and believe it will bring about more thoughtful innovators.

Thank you, Mary for your courage, curiosity and valuable work. For committing to change your life.

I know that I will be a more competent professional, graduate student and lifelong learner from this journey. This experience will ignite innovation and bring about keen disruption – because it is based on lived experience, an open mind and gained understanding of the world.

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We at tekMountain are dedicated to contributing to the dynamic conversation serving the wider business community. We are helping to cultivate a culture of collaboration, dialogue, and resource-sharing. United, we have the power to truly change the world by connecting with innovators across the globe. We invite you to join us on our website, Twitter and LinkedIn..

 

This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesBill DiNomeZach Cioffi and Mary Brannock with lead writer Beth Roddy.

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