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February 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

We the Possibility: A Virtual Lunch with Mitchell Weiss and Rebecca Fishman Lipsey


February 5, 2021
12:00 pm

BBooks & Books, Harvard Business School, the Miami Foundation and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce present…

A Virtual Lunch with Mitchell Weiss

In Conversation with Rebecca Fishman Lipsey


We the Possibility: Harnessing Public Entrepreneurship to Solve our Most Urgent Problems

Friday, February 5, 12 PM EST

LIVE via Crowdcast



Can we solve big public problems anymore? The huge challenges we face are daunting indeed, especially lately. At the same time, we’ve come to accept the notion that government can’t do new things or solve tough challenges, that it’s too big and slow and bureaucratic. Not so, says former public official, now Harvard Business School professor, Mitchell Weiss. The truth is that entrepreneurial spirit and savvy in government can be harnessed to transform the response to big problems at all levels.

The key, Weiss argues, is a shift from a mindset of “Probability Government” – overly focused on safe solutions and mimicking “best” practices – to “Possibility Government.” This means public leadership and management that’s willing to boldly imagine new possibilities and to experiment. It will also take, he says, public leaders and all the rest of us moving towards possibility together.

Weiss shares the basic tenets of this new way of governing:

  • Government that can imagine. Seeing problems as opportunities and designing solutions with citizens.
  • Government that can try new things. Testing and experimentation as a regular part of solving public problems.
  • Government that can scale. Harnessing platform techniques for innovation and growth.

The lessons unfold in the timely episodes Weiss has seen and studied: the U.S. Special Operations Command prototyping of a hoverboard for chasing pirates; a heroin hackathon in opioid-ravaged Cincinnati; a series of experiments in Singapore to rein in Covid-19, among many others.

At a crucial moment in the evolution of government’s role in our society, We the Possibility provides inspiration and a positive model, along with crucial guardrails, to help shape progress for generations to come.



About the author:

Mitchell Weiss is a Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, where he is also the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow. Weiss is an award-winning teacher and the creator of the school’s popular course, Public Entrepreneurship, which focuses on public leaders and private entrepreneurs inventing a difference in the world. He helped build the Young American Leaders Program and is an adviser to the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Prior to joining Harvard Business School, Weiss was chief of staff and a partner to Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino. In 2010 he cofounded the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. In April 2013 he guided the mayor’s office response to the attacks on the Boston Marathon and played a key role in starting One Fund Boston.


About the moderator:

Social innovator and former policymaker, Rebecca Fishman Lipsey is the president and CEO of the The Miami Foundation, a $350MM community foundation focused on building a stronger, more equitable Greater Miami. Prior to The Miami Foundation, Rebecca was the founder and CEO of Radical Partners, a social-impact accelerator that incubates organizations seeking to strengthen Miami. Radical Partners engages more than 100,000 Miami locals each year to strengthen their own communities through their initiatives including 100 Great Ideas, ConnectMiami, Vote Miami, and Public Transit Day. Before launching Radical Partners, Rebecca served as executive director of Teach For America in Miami-Dade. She became the youngest person in history to be appointed to the Florida Board of Education, where she served a four-year term, overseeing educational policy that impacted 3 million students from kindergarten through college.