On this episode, Dr. G gets into the fearless mind of Mick Ebeling, Founder of Not Impossible Labs. Media production artist turned world problem solver, Mick shares with us how he overcomes seemingly impossible feats with simple everyday hacks. You will hear stories of how he adventured through active war zones to help a single boy amputee named Daniel, and how we gave a paraplegic a second chance in life to continue his craft as a graffiti artist. Mick is a force to be reckoned with who always “commits first, and then figures things out”. He believes technology, if used correctly, can be a valuable tool to advance humanity. On this show, we discuss everything from the advantages of the novice mind over the expert, to how for-profit organizations can “do well while doing good”. Now, That’s Unusual.
About Mick Ebeling:
Mick Ebeling is the CEO and founder of Not Impossible, a “social innovation lab” created to address real-world problems via accessible technology. His upbringing in a family of philanthropists coupled with his background in media production led him to the idea of developing technology to benefit the most vulnerable. Ebeling is a two-time South by Southwest Innovation Award Winner, one of Ad Age’s Top 50 Most Creative People, and the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year. Beyond Not Impossible, Ebeling is a renowned public speaker and author of the book Not Impossible: The Art and Joy of Doing What Couldn’t Be Done. His inspirational TED talk has been viewed over 1M+ times, and counting. He lives in Venice Beach , California with his wife and their three sons.
Key Interview Takeaways:
- Expertise is not necessary when working to find a solution to an impossible situation. In fact, not knowing can be a strength. The Not Impossible team starts every project with a “beautiful, limitless naiveté,” then assembles talent to create a workable, DIY solution. The Eyewriter, for example, affords ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) patients the fundamental human need to communicate by means of eye movement; its component parts include sunglasses, the wire of a coat hanger, duct tape and a webcam attached with zip ties.
- “Commit first, then figure it out.” Project Daniel stemmed from the story of a Sudanese boy who lost both arms when his village was bombed. Compelled to help despite a lack of expertise, Not Impossible built a team that developed a low-cost, sustainable solution: prosthetic limbs generated by a 3D printer.
- “Help one. Help many.” Not Impossible seeks to go beyond helping the individual by telling his story. Sharing the process that led to an innovative solution promotes further collaboration and inspires others to action.
- The hybrid business model combining nonprofit and for-profit can work. While maintaining the Not Impossible Foundation so that inspired donors can contribute, the organization has found a way to create value proposition so that funders get something tangible in return for their backing. It is feasible to “do well while doing good.”
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