I had the good fortune of spending the 4th of July in Philadelphia, America’s first city. Having not been there before, I found myself wondering, where have you been my whole life Philly? Until now, I didn’t know how much I missed you…your history, artists, museums, mosaics, and murals…your old narrow city streets, magic garden and harbor, amongst green space, squares, and fountains. Until now, I didn’t know how much I missed your mixologists, Vedge, cheesesteak, and world markets…your neighborhoods, working class, professors, and hipsters, locals and transplants…your roots, love, Wawa, Independence Day, and grand finale booms at PAM. Until now, I didn’t realize how much I missed your jawn and, especially, Ben Franklin.
Hence, Ben, I pay homage to you, as an innovator and forefather of collaborative problem solving. Indeed, you created one of the first collaborative clubs in America (The Junto), a group of citizens that met regularly to improve their minds and strengthen their community. Ben, you valued diverse perspectives and felt that this brain trust of people could solve social, political, and business problems better together than could any single person. Consequently, out of collaborative thinking emerged many of your historic contributions that continue to underpin our society. Thank you, Ben, for the good you have done, and for motivating us citizens by always asking the question:
We cannot wait to see you again Philly.