Dan Heath encourages community to see its bright spots

More than 1,200 people ready to switch their thinking filled the SUNY Poly Wildcat Field House Thursday, Oct. 16, for The Foundation’s fourth-annual Speaker Series, featuring Dan Heath.

Before Dan Heath, the New York Times bestselling author of “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard,” even took the stage, the community gathered for a pre-event for the opportunity to exchange ideas with 21 innovative community thinkers who made change despite challenges.

Heath interacted with these thinkers and named them as some of the area’s bright spots. He presented this “bright spot” concept as a tool for getting through change successfully.

“In change situations, we naturally ask ourselves ‘What’s broken and how do we fix it?’” Heath said. “Instead, why not look at what’s working and figure out how we clone that? Find the bright spots.”

Whether in our personal lives, in the workplace or in a community, this mindset to change is uncommon, he said. But there are tools we can implement to change this thought process:

  • Start small: “When change feels daunting, one of your best strategies is to shrink that change.”
  • Change begets change: “It’s the snowball effect. When people have common direction and enthusiasm, great things can happen.”
  • Shape the path: Look at the current path. What small tweaks can be made that will produce the desired behavior?

Heath’s hour-long speech included examples of local “bright spots” who found ways to make change through what seemed impossible barriers.

In the end, it’s motivation, not information, that will make change, Heath said. It’s seeing the bright spots and hope in those bright spots that change is possible.

The Utica-area has those bright spots, he concluded. And now we have the tools.

This event was made possible with support from our Corporate Partners. For more information about our Speaker Series, visit foundationhoc.org/speaker-series.

View a photo album of the event.