“AMERICAN companies will spend over $1 billion on employee engagement in 2017 and over $100 billion on training and development activities. Yet despite this investment, employee engagement remains low, at 34 percent. Perhaps more troubling: In an increasingly unpredictable business environment, most US workers, even those who are engaged, lack the disposition to embrace unexpected challenges and opportunities.

In fact, in a recent survey of US workers, only 35 percent had the disposition to seek out challenges; even among engaged employees, only 38 percent reported seeking challenges.

An even smaller number, 13 percent, have what we call “the passion of the explorer,” meaning not only do they seek out difficult challenges—they are committed to making a significant impact and regularly connect with others to gain the skills and insights to do so. The lack of passion for taking on challenging problems exists at all levels and job types, with 64 percent of all surveyed workers, including half of executives and senior management, being neither passionate nor engaged.

Value in this environment, is about creating new knowledge. The scary thing about this type of learning is that it is inherently high-risk—it requires the willingness to fail as one seeks out new approaches that work.”

– Why building the workforce you need for tomorrow means giving them wings to fly today ~ Deloitte Staff – John Hagel, John Seely Brown, Maggie Wooll and Alok Ranjan.


Networks are key for entrepreneurs to open doors. To increase opportunity, everyone needs access to experienced mentors and founders who have been there that can help move the needle. In cities, that also means ensuring that networks resemble/reflect the communities where they are located.


Who controls the money is a big factor in where it goes. “When you’re human and you’re funding people who have similar experiences to you, there’s probably a correlation to why it’s all the white men that are getting the investment dollars,” said Case Foundation Senior VP for Social Innovation Sheila Herrling.


Herrling said, “When people don’t see images of successful entrepreneurs that look like them, they’re less likely to believe they can do it, too. The media images are mostly a ‘Mark Zuckerberg face,’ Herrling said, which won’t naturally inspire women and people of color who don’t look like or have the same background as the Facebook founder.  “When we look at the data, it looks like half the team is being left on the sidelines.” Herrling said. That half is more like four fifths when one accounts for all women, people of color, and lower socioeconomic demographics. Current K-12 efforts are not providing advanced STREAM plus entrepreneurship education necessary for career or college readiness to underserved students.