Over my first year conducting Capture Your Flag interviews, my experience learning why interviewees believe what they do has proven to be immeasurably illuminating. Central to my curiosity rests this question: If views inform intent, what informs views? It is a joy engaging each interviewee to understand the variety of ways factors shape views over time.
To date, I have found three elements, knowledge, experience, and wisdom, central to understanding how interviewee views, and the resulting intent and actions, develop.
The first, knowledge, is less about building academic subject competency and more about the unsuspecting ways the classroom environment may unleash passion onto the career experience. For some interviewees, formative education experiences underlie why interviewees choose a certain path of profession. Based on interviews to date, "Knowledge" goes beyond choosing a major and, in the case of formulating viewpoint, is often tied to an unexpected moment that broadens options while sharpening direction.
This unexpected moment strikes Scott Gold during college non-fiction classes. Gold finds non-fiction an appealing writing an appealing medium, in particular the process building characters, dialogue, structure, and story around a framework not present in fiction writing. The realization propels the Washington University philosophy major to build his world around non-fiction writing and launch his food-inspired publishing career.
New York Post reporter Yoav Gonen relishes the unfamiliar and foreign as a traveler and the same can be said in his career. After journalism school at New York University, Gonen finds himself reporting for the Staten Island Advance daily newspaper doing investigative journalism across education and community. New York City provides Gonen access to a wide array of experiences, and through them he learns to embrace the freedom, license, and responsibility the journalist role provides in connecting him to previously unapproachable city elements, including Staten Island public housing residents.
The second, experience, is more about life experience connecting to core passion and belief rather than "punching the clock" or "clocking hours" in the office or on the job.
Jason Anello's direction and passions are found in design details. From food to advertising to Yahoo marketing, Anello starts everything understanding how and why details - shape, color, arrangement - create an experience. Over time, Anello's ongoing desire to use details to build larger experiences builds a bridge not only into advertising and marketing, but into a larger social sciences context, specifically ways details inform behavior. Repeated projects then allow Anello to better understand the human condition as it pertains to how individuals function and make decisions in social environments.
A Cambodia travel experience transcends initial goals to visit Angkor Wat and proceeds to transform how Shaheen Wirk approaches conversation. Wirk, no stranger to being inquisitive in his medical school and financial services training and career, nonetheless learns to be more engaging in everyday discussions, providing once common interactions the opportunity to be unique, inspiring, and memorable.
A necessary ingredient here is time. Formulating a viewpoint or perspective is a continuum and the contribution "Knowledge" and "Experience" make advances informs a broader commentary on life and why we live it. At some point in the continuum, "Wisdom" forms. Now, by definition, Capture Your Flag interviewees are up and coming, developing, cultivating, learning.
Filmmaker Tricia Regan kindly shared her own commentary on what she has learned to date and what, at its core, informs her actions and shapes her intent.
"Formulating Viewpoint" is a common theme continually underlying Capture Your Flag guests development and aspiration. We will be closely following how this develops both with new guests as well as with existing guests care of annual interviews. Moreover I will continue to gather feedback and information to build upon the "Knowledge -> Experience -> Wisdom" approach highlighted above. It is only the beginning and I look forward to enjoying the journey with you all.
*** For a complete list of all "Formulating Viewpoint" chapters, click HERE ***