(noun) Source of Ideas. New ideas come from centering that distinct spot in the world where only one stands.

“If the people around you keep shutting you down or ignoring your ideas altogether, don’t change who you ARE. Change who you’re WITH.”

“The Onlyness reader is an innovator who is bone-tired from applying the advice that fails them. For those who do address those power dynamics (affecting women and people of color especially), the message is “Lean In”, “Have Grit”, and “Be Brave”. This suggests the problem is predominantly one of confidence and personality, and by inference … if you’re not able to get your idea through, it’s on YOU and you alone. This completely overlooks what happens when women leaders do lean in: if they power-seek … they’ll get negative backlash. So, I offered a research-based field guide to those 60 percent of innovators-in-waiting to actually get the advice they need: How exactly does one change the systemic rules of the game … so one’s ideas can count. This can apply within or external to organizations. (Spoiler alert: What is often attributed to a confidence problem is a connectedness opportunity.)”

from Q&A in LSE Business Review

The Power of Onlyness

If you’re like most people, you wish you had the ability to make a difference, but you don’t have the credentials or a seat at the table, or can’t get past the gatekeepers, or aren’t high enough in any hierarchy to get your ideas heard.

In The Power of Onlyness, Nilofer Merchant, one of the world’s top-ranked business thinkers, reveals that, in fact, we have now reached an unprecedented moment of opportunity for your ideas to “make a dent” on the world. Now that the Internet has liberated ideas to spread and scale through networks rather than hierarchies, power is no longer determined by your status, but by “onlyness”—that spot in the world only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions and hopes. If you build upon your signature ingredient of purpose and connect with those who are equally passionate, you have a new lever by which to move the world. Dent by dent, the world can be reshaped to include you and what you believe in.

Book Nilofer to Speak