How Our Hidden Assets Can Change The World

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

The idea of hidden assets was first gifted to me in a small meeting room in a rural community. The walls of the room were lined with white flip chart paper and seats at a table were filled with an inspiring team of Strategic Do(er)s who had a very difficult nut to crack.

"Imagine this community no longer had substance misuse issues, what would that look like?"

This framing question got me hooked, it made me dive deeper than any previous problem I've encountered. Above all else, it activated my curiosity which is a glorious tool to tap into.

As our day together progressed and we began to explore the idea of hidden assets. An individuals' hidden assets can be described as assets that:

  • they already “own” or have certain access to it,

  • they are willing to share it with a Strategic Doing team, and

  • It helps answer the framing question.

The power of the hidden assets in that room was that they were all available right then and there. There was no additional strategic planning needed, no grant writing or fundraising. All the tools needed to chip away at this complex problem existed in that very room.

Here is a breakdown of the (4) categories of hidden assets to help you explore yours.

The ability to launch assets into play creates a team of strategic do(er)s, a team that can work together to make an impact on complex problems.

The opportunity provided to me in that small meeting room in that small rural community offered me insight that continues to this day to change my approach to complex problems.

This new lens on how we can converge our hidden assets to make progress on massive issues is a valuable tool that we all need in our toolbox.

The lesson stayed with me as I found new complex problems to tackle. One problem that arrived at my doorstep very soon after learning about this tool was COVID-19. A problem that impacted all of us.

In the early hours of a February morning in 2020, I received a call for assistance. The world was racing to catch up with the facts and urgency of the novel coronavirus and I was no more prepared for it than the rest of us. In a time when misinformation was the norm, we were searching for clarity.

My assistance was requested to help a team of public health professionals comprised of health care organizations and health departments across several counties. This team was working to create public messaging, connect available resources, and ultimately save lives. In these early morning meetings that took place before our regular day jobs, we worked to get ahead of the virus, an uphill battle to say the least.

This is where my lesson on hidden assets began to take charge. The assets that I brought to the table were my understanding of Public Health, Public Health data, and the ability to navigate technology. Studying Public Health at Purdue University provided me with a view that paired well with my drive to tinker with software and gadgets and my curiosity to discover how things work.

During one of these coffee-fueled meetings in the early hours of the day, I had a framing question in mind. "Imagine waking up tomorrow and reading in the paper that COVID-19 was no longer in our community, what would that look like?". This question lingered for a moment and I began to think about my assets.

"What if we had a map to identify COVID-19 hotspots?" I asked into the abyss of boxes on my computer screen

"Can you do that?" a voice asked from the void

"I'm sure I can figure it out" I replied

This was it, this was my opportunity to use a hidden asset that had no resemblance to my day job to help change the world.

And we did it. We embarked on the most grassroots epidemiological project that we could have imagined. It took days to finetune the process and hours upon hours to maintain but the assets I had already in existence helped inform local public health measures that ultimately would save lives.

We met for months, checking in with one another, sharing our visible and hidden assets. As problems came up we took stock of a simple yet tried and true method of asking ourselves "how can I help?".

This simple inquiry prompted us all to dig deep and explore the possibilities that we all had. My quest to dig deeper allowed me to assist a local health department with community messaging by tapping into my graphic design experience and provide graphics for a local broadcasting station to better inform the community about the pandemic that was unfolding around us.

Hidden assets are in all of us, we all have them. What hidden assets do you have? What Physical, Skill, Social, or Capital asset can you tap into? Knowing your hidden assets and how to share them can help us all, and if used correctly, can change the world.

If your organization or community is working on solving complex problems Mezzo Solutions would like to help. Tapping into hidden assets is a process that can create lasting change and build strong collaborations while chipping away at even the most wicked of problems that lay ahead of us.

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