On Oct. 17, the HKS DC alumni community produced a mosaic of an audience for alumnus Nick Lovegrove (MPP ’82, Senior Fellow ’11-’13). Nick engaged guests in an active discussion of his celebrated book: The Mosaic Principle: The Six Dimensions of a Remarkable Life and Career. Testament to the contemporary significance of his inspired ideas, it was extremely well-received, with over 75 very participatory guests in attendance.
A large volunteer team of 26 HKS affiliates and friends produced the event*, which was graciously hosted by Wiley Rein, LLP, one of DC's forefront law firms. To keep ticket prices low and make the event accessible to recent graduates, the team itself prepared some outstanding hors d’oeuvres including: bacon wrapped dates, watermelon and feta bites, crab cakes, gouda sandwiches, caramel apple bites, prosciutto wrapped melon, mac ‘n cheese ‘muffins’, mini eclairs and cream puffs. Guests were also treated to French jazz (Daniel Roure for those who were asking), an open bar, and book signing by the author.
The event was well suited to Wiley Rein’s state of the art conference center with its spectacular wall-sized PowerPoint screen. Particularly acute questions from members of the audience led to productive exchanges with the speaker and also amongst each other. Conversations continued well past the evening’s scheduled end as participants remained engaged. As if inspired by The Mosaic Principle, guests forged many new and exciting friendships that transcended social and professional divisions.
At one point, Nick presented a slide profiling event attendee, HKS alumnus, and Brookings Scholar Josh Gotbaum (MPP/JD ’76) as a “tri-sector athlete”. Nick later posed for this picture with his friend Josh, subsequent to the presentation.
In The Mosaic Principle: The Six Dimensions of a Remarkable Life and Career, Nick argues that modern compulsions towards ever-greater specialization have disadvantaged our society. He faults resultant analytic and ethical compromises as root causes of man-made corporate and economic disasters such as the collapse of the housing market, the Equifax data breach, and the BP oil spill. He consequently encourages socially-conscious individuals to broaden their horizons as a defense against counterproductive hubris, binary thinking and herding mentalities.
Nick notes that the modern era is also challenging many of our pre-existing assumptions about our Kennedy School lessons and why we undertook them. He counsels that the climate of disruption demands even greater adherence to a broad based professional and personal agenda. One reason: there may never be a more important time for the private and social sectors to be led by people who care about and exemplify public value. Another: the collaboration of all three sectors can constitute a force multiplier against public policy challenges that is, in the words of HKS professors Jack Donahue and Richard Zeckhauser, “uniquely suited to the market-friendly, bureaucracy-wary culture of the United States”.
Regardless of the social dividends, a commitment to breadth in balance with depth – what Nick calls “serial mastery”– is sure to aid us in our shared aims of better leadership and bettered lives.