My favorite new book is Anti-Fragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. To summarize, it holds that the opposite of fragile is anti-fragile: mess with something fragile, and it breaks, mess with something anti-fragile and it gets better. It is full of eye-opening examples that what does not kill us DOES make us stronger, more creative . . . all around better.
Anti-fragility is a well-articulated case for the stARTistry philosophy. With everything from our political systems to our kids, we spend more resources on protection than we do on creativity. What we get is fragile people and systems and impeded abilities to design our way to strength in a changing world.
If you are a stARTist, you know how to work without a net or a protective coating. Let’s try to take the bubble wrap off the rest of the world.
Today I go to my first meeting to serve on the marketing committee of the KC Streetcar. I’m bracing myself. Not a lot of stARTistry goes on in public marketing meetings. (Love you, media pals, but sunshine laws feel like dark clouds when one is trying to be creative.)
The streetcar is a stART whose time has come. The two-mile stARTer route is expected to cost $100 million and to start running in 2015. Honest civic champions answer most questions about the plan with “you have to start somewhere.”
The first phase is funded primarily by sales and property taxes collected in a narrow district running roughly on the planned streetcar route from the River Market to Union Station, an idea of creative people who know how difficult it is to get people on board for a big idea. Brilliant, I say. Of course, it stretched the definition of a democratic process, and the establishment of that special taxing district was challenged with a lawsuit and a fair amount of complaining. No, it’s not a perfect funding option, and the streetcar plan is not a perfect plan, but getting two miles of streetcar rails on Kansas City streets may be a perfect stART.