Wednesday, 31 May 2017

FastCompany/Adele Peters: This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change

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    05.31.17 6:00 am

This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change
Climeworks carbon capture device will take the gas from the air and sell it or store it in the ground. Now we just need a few hundred thousand more–as quickly as possible.
1/6 At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. [Photo: Julia Dunlop]

By Adele Peters 7 minute Read

Sitting on top of a waste incineration facility near Zurich, a new carbon capture plant is now sucking CO2 out of the air to sell to its first customer. The plant, which opened on May 31, is the first commercial enterprise of its kind. By midcentury, the startup behind it–Climeworks–believes we will need hundreds of thousands more.
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To have a chance of keeping the global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius, the limit set by the Paris agreement, it’s likely that shifting to a low-carbon economy won’t be enough.

“If we say that by the middle of the century we want to do 10 billion tons per year, that’s probably something where we need to start today.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C,” says Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and coauthor of a recent paper discussing carbon removal. “So it’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.” Removing carbon–whether through planting more forests or more advanced technology like direct carbon capture–will probably also be necessary to reach the goal.

At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. Small fans pull air into the collectors, where a sponge-like filter soaks up carbon dioxide. It takes two or three hours to fully saturate a filter, and then the process reverses: The box closes, and the collector is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases the CO2 in a pure form that can be sold, made into other products, or buried underground.

“It’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“You can do this over and over again,” says Jan Wurzbacher, cofounder and director of Climeworks. “It’s a cyclic process. You saturate with CO2, then you regenerate, saturate, regenerate. You have multiple of these units, and not all of them go in parallel. Some are taking in CO2, some are releasing CO2. That means that overall the plant has continuous CO2 production, which is also important for the customer.”

In the case of the first plant, the customer is a neighboring greenhouse, which uses the CO2 to make its tomatoes and cucumbers grow faster (plants build tissue by pulling carbon from the air, and more carbon dioxide means more growth, at least to a degree). Climeworks is also in talks with beverage companies that use CO2 in sparkling water or soda–particularly in production plants that are in remote areas, where trucking in a conventional source of CO2 would be expensive.

“There, Climeworks’ plan–taking it out of the air directly on site, is very advantageous and also commercially attractive already as of today,” says Wurzbacher. “We still have to go down a couple of steps on the cost curve, but in these niche applications already today, we can offer competitive CO2.”

“If a company pays us to remove 10,000 tons of CO2 from the air, we’re actually putting a plant in place that extracts these 10,000 tons of CO2.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
In both cases, the captured CO2 would eventually be released back into the atmosphere. But the company also plans to use CO2 to make carbon-neutral products. Using renewable energy, it can split water (which is created as a by-product of its process) to create hydrogen, and then combine that with the carbon dioxide in various processes to create plastics (for example, for recycled CO2 sneakers) or fuel.

Ultimately, the company wants to sell its ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground, and it thinks that the market may be ready to pay sooner than the startup initially expected. The IPCC, the international body that issues massive, comprehensive reports on climate change, has estimated that the world will need to be removing an average of 10 gigatons of CO2–10 billion tons–a year from the atmosphere by midcentury.

“If we say that by the middle of the century we want to do 10 billion tons per year, that’s probably something where we need to start today,” says Wurzbacher. “Based on our experiences now on the market, we are very confident that we will be able to develop a market in the very near future, maybe next year or in two or three years, to sell these negative emissions.”

Because there isn’t yet a global price on carbon, the company imagines that the first customers might be corporations that need help reaching ambitious climate goals. After adopting more obvious solutions, like renewable energy, increased efficiency, and changes in materials or transportation, a company might turn to negative emissions to help it offset the remainder of its footprint.

[Photo: Julia Dunlop]
Wurzbacher contrasts it with other carbon trading or certificate schemes, such as paying to have trees planted somewhere. “It’s always hard to grasp what’s really happening if you do these schemes,” he says. “Unlike that, if a company pays us to remove 10,000 tons of CO2 from the air, we’re actually putting a plant in place that extracts these 10,000 tons of CO2.”

Planting trees or preserving existing forests is likely to also be a critical way to absorb CO2. “The best example of carbon dioxide removal technology that we know how to do now is grow more forest and to protect the carbon content of soils,” says Field. “And those are technologies that we know how to do now that provide extensive co-benefits and are ripe for taking advantage of.”

But direct air capture plants have some advantages that could make them an important part of the solution as well: The CO2 capture plant is roughly a thousand times more efficient than photosynthesis.

“Air capture costs money, so anything we can do which is cheaper than air capture, we should do it, definitely.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“One CO2 collector has the same footprint as a tree,” says Wurzbacher. “It takes 50 tons of CO2 out of the air every year. A corresponding tree would take 50 kilograms of the air every year. It’s a factor of a thousand. So in order to achieve the same, you would need 1,000 times less area than you would require for plants growing.” The CO2 collectors can also be used in areas that wouldn’t be suitable for agriculture, helping preserve land needed for farming, and they don’t require a water source, unlike some afforestation efforts. They can also run on renewable energy.

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Still, to have the impact needed, the CO2 capture plants would need to be built at a massive scale. The first plant in Switzerland can capture 900 tons of carbon dioxide in a year, roughly the same amount of emissions as 200 cars. The company calculated how many shipping container-sized units would be needed to capture 1% of global emissions; the answer was 750,000.

In one sense, Wurzbacher says that this is less enormous than it might seem. The same number of shipping containers pass through the Port of Shanghai every two weeks. But to capture the 10 gigatons of emissions needed, between 10 and 20 other carbon capture companies would have to have equally large operations. (As of today, a handful of others, such as Carbon Engineering and Global Thermostat, are working on similar technology.)

Field, the Stanford scientist, argues that it’s important to remember that the technologies, while promising, are early-stage and unproven, and will face challenges in scaling up, especially if there isn’t a price on carbon. He also says it’s critical that people don’t get the wrong idea about the potential–the possibility of carbon capture isn’t a license to pollute more now.

“We need to start scaling it today if we want to be able to put away these 10 gigatons every year by 2040 or 2050.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“What we should not be doing is ethically kicking the can down the road and then say, ‘Oh, we’ll probably figure out something later that we can then utilize,'” he says. “Many of the scenarios that come forward in the models that are cost effective do exactly that: They say we’ll come up with this technology, based on incomplete information it will be cheap and effective, the land will be available, and people will embrace this. That might be right. But there’s almost no evidence confirming that it’s right.”

But that note of caution doesn’t mean the technology isn’t necessary. “CO2 removal is a really good idea,” he says. “And a lot of the technologies ought to be deployed today. A lot of technologies ought to be explored.”

“Air capture costs money, so anything we can do which is cheaper than air capture, we should do it, definitely,” says Wurzbacher. “But we’ll need this on top of that. And we’ll not only need to develop it today, but we need to start scaling it today if we want to be able to put away these 10 gigatons every year by 2040 or 2050.”

Capturing carbon, he says, is as important as the massive shift to a low-carbon economy. “It’s not either/or,” he says. “It’s both.”
About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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    05.26.17 career evolution

This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First
If you don’t have their attention in the first 10 lines, you probably never will.
This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First
[Photo: KittisakJirasittichai/iStock]

By Andrew Fennell4 minute Read

If you want to land job interviews, your entire resume needs to be great, but only one part of it has to be really great. Think of it this way: recruiters and hiring managers are most likely to encounter your resume as an email attachment or a PDF you submit through a company’s online submission form, right? When they open the file, only the top half—at most—is going to fill their screen. That’s the part you need to lavish the most attention on. If you don’t give them a reason to scroll down and read more, it’s all over for you.
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Here’s what it takes to make the best use of that high-value real estate.
Use Limited Space Wisely

In web design, this section is referred to “above the fold”–an expression that originated in the newspaper industry, where the most important headlines were printed literally above the part where the paper folded in half. For designers today, the same principle holds true: What’s visible to a reader when they open a webpage or document is the part where those crucial first impressions take place.

On your resume, the area above the fold sits within the red-dotted line in this example.

Since you can only fit so much into this amount of space, you’ve got to choose wisely what goes in there. Keep your page margins to a minimum and your contact details brief, this way you can squeeze the most critical info into that area.

Related: Three Ways To Add Personality To Your Resume (And Three Ways Not To

But don’t just cram in as much as you can. Think of your resume’s top quarter as your shop window. You want to place the most attractive items inside it, to entice more visitors into your store. That means you want to use this space to introduce yourself in the most compelling–though not necessarily the most comprehensive–terms possible, bullet out your core skills, and still have some space left to show off your most recent role.
Sell Yourself With A Punchy Profile

Your resume is essentially a marketing document for your services as an employee, so starting with an elevator-style pitch is a great way to reel people in.


A profile section of around five to eight lines that gives a high-level summary of your abilities in a well-written, persuasive manner, can set the tone for your resume.

Just make sure that your profile doesn’t read like an objective statement–employers don’t want to know about what you want (presumably, that’s the job you’re applying for). Your resume should be written purely to sell your talents and get your foot in the door. A profile, on the other hand, while a little unorthodox, lets you summarize your experience and skills persuasively and tells the employer the benefits that you can provide to the role.

Related: The Most Common Resume Lies (And Who Is Most Likely To Tell Them)

If you decide to write a profile section, avoid tired clichés like, “hardworking team player, dedicated to achieving results.” Although impressive-sounding, this overused, generic expression doesn’t describe what you’ll actually do in the workplace. You may well be a hardworking team player, but it’s better to demonstrate this point with evidence, rather than simply stating it. Instead, try something like: “established IT sales consultant with five years of experience providing multimillion-dollar database solutions to global retail organizations.”

The key is to offer a concise snippet of context, factual evidence, and even metrics, while giving the impression that you’re a results-driven hard worker—all before getting to your work experience section.
Add A Core Skills Section

A core skills section is a simple bulleted list that sits underneath your profile and highlights your most in-demand skills and knowledge. This section should give recruiters an instant snapshot of your skillset at a glance.

Make sure you do your research to determine which skills to promote here. This section should be reserved for essential talents only, and each point should be kept short and punchy–at three words or less.

Highlight Your Most Recent Role

If your most recent role is the most relevant one to the vacancy you’re applying for, then you should make sure a good chunk of it is visible when someone opens your resume.

Head the role up with an outline giving a description of the organization you work for, where you sit within the hierarchy, and an overall summary of your accomplishments on the job. The key here is to demonstrate as many sought-after talents above the fold as you can.

If possible, try to add some impressive achievements with quantifiable results to prove the impact you’ve made. Any instances where you saved costs, generated revenue, or improved efficiency are always worth noting. For example: “negotiated new supplier deals resulting in a 10% decrease in budget spend annually” or, “delivered all project deliverables three months ahead of scheduled deadline.”

Statements like these allow recruiters to see the true scale of your work and benchmark you against their own standards.

If you can create a well-structured resume that highlights the best you’ve got to offer all within the first third or so of the document, you’ll increase your chances of landing interviews. Remember, if you can’t get recruiters interested in the first few lines of your resume, they’ll have no reason to read the last few.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV, and author of The Ultimate CV Writing Guide.

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    05.22.17 future of philanthropy

The 5 Books On Bill Gates’s Summer Reading List–From Jimmy Carter To Trevor Noah
If you are worried your beach reads might be a little too easy this summer, Gates has some more heady suggestions for you.
The 5 Books On Bill Gates’s Summer Reading List–From Jimmy Carter To Trevor Noah
The list, Gates says, “pushed me out of my own experiences, and I learned some things that made me question my own thinking about how the world works.”[Photo: courtesy GatesNotes]

By Ben Paynter3 minute Read

As one of the world’s top philanthropists, perhaps it makes sense that Bill Gates is treating beach reading like an intellectual cause: Each year, he offers up his list of the most important beach reads, none of which have ever featured Fabio on the cover.
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Most tackle headier world topics including 2016 choices like The Vital Question, a scientific investigation by into how energy transfers between cells, to How to Not to Be Wrong, which offered plenty of life-improving equations built on math principles.

This year’s list is different, though, because it has a slightly more philosophical bent. As Gates writes on his personal blog, GatesNotes, the list “pushed me out of my own experiences, and I learned some things that made me question my own thinking about how the world works.” His five book lineup includes musing from a well-known talk show host, former president, and a few lesser-known people whose perspectives will definitely be better known now, which is sort of the point. As Gates puts it “I hope you’ll find that others make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and to have purpose in your life.” It’s a message that seems particularly on-point in these divisive political times.
[Cover: Random House]
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

In his memoir, The Daily Show host riffs on what it was like to grow up biracial in apartheid South Africa, and how it propelled his particularly pointed albeit humor-seeking worldview. “As a longtime fan of The Daily Show, I loved reading this memoir about how its host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in,” Gates writes.
[Cover: Farrar, Straus & Giroux]
The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal

This novel chronicles the journey of a man’s heart from his accidental death to its eventual transplant and all who encounter it along the way. Gates calls it “an exploration of grief” that is “closer to poetry than anything else.” As in, even super cerebral thinkers should step back to meditate the fragility of life and our human condition.
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

This memoir explores what it takes to overcome rural poverty in Appalachia. There isn’t really a simple solution for places with deeply systemic problems (and Vance’s book has come under quite a bit of criticism for its views on those systemic problems). Gates calls this an “against all odds” tale that offers “insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty.” Spoiler alert: Vance is now a successful venture capitalist in San Francisco.
[Cover: Harper]
Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

This is another big question book, a philosophical look at the potential future of humanity, powered by advances in technology and human potential. “So far, the things that have shaped society–what we measure ourselves by–have been either religious rules about how to live a good life, or more earthly goals like getting rid of sickness, hunger, and war,” Gates writes. “What would the world be like if we actually achieved those things? I don’t agree with everything Harari has to say, but he has written a smart look at what may be ahead for humanity.”
[Cover: Simon & Schuster]
A Full Life, by Jimmy Carter

The peanut farmer’s son who went on to became president offers up anecdotes about what it takes to become successful. For Gates, the real power of the book is that it shows what happens “for better and for worse” when a Have Not eventually takes high office. As he puts it, “A Full Life feels timely in an era when the public’s confidence in national political figures and institutions is low.”
About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.

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    05.18.17 the future of work

Five Skills You’ll Need To Lead The Company Of The Future
What worked in the past doesn’t work now.
Five Skills You’ll Need To Lead The Company Of The Future
[Photo: Kelvin Murray/Getty Images]

By Jared Lindzon4 minute Read

In the traditional corporate model, strong leaders pursued a singular vision through the strong command of an organization. Today, we live in a time of rapid change, when products and services often become obsolete overnight, and competition includes startups and companies in adjacent industries–the traditional leadership archetypes need not apply.
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Instead an entirely new value system is beginning to emerge for the leaders of the future, one that will continue to grow with the rise of new tools like artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.

“There’s been a transition from thinking about corporations solely as revenues and profits, and thinking about the organization in a more inclusive way,” says Ernst & Young’s (EY) global chief innovation officer, Jeff Wong. “Clearly revenue and profits are still important, but the leading companies are starting to think beyond that.”

Wong adds that while organizations used to select leaders based on relevant management experience, there is now a premium on leaders who demonstrate drastically different skill sets; the ones that experts believe will help organizations navigate a rapidly changing business environment.
1. The Ability To Think Of New Solutions

While leaders of the past were often tasked with executing predetermined strategies, increasing efficiency, and improving preexisting processes, one of the most valuable assets of future leaders is their willingness and ability to create something entirely new.

“We know the world is changing rapidly, we know that change is accelerating, we know that when you look at companies and industries that are evolving rapidly that there will be a series of new opportunities to go after, which will also be a chance to help define the evolution of their industry,” explains Wong.

Wong explains that as industries, processes, and business models are reinvented by disruptive technologies, the most valuable leaders of tomorrow are those that can shape the impact of those changes, rather than react to them.

“They’re leaders who can seek out new opportunities, who can deliver those new opportunities, but can also help redefine their own business into what it needs to be for the future,” he says.
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2. Being Comfortable With Chaos

In an increasingly chaotic business landscape, the leaders who thrive are those who work well in unknown conditions.

“There are systems and processes that have been built up from the past that were fantastic for that era, but they aren’t fast or nimble enough to match this pace of change,”says Wong.

Leaders who can demonstrate a level of comfort with the chaos that results from reinventing long-standing processes are better prepared for the challenges that await them in the future, he says.
3. An Understanding Of Technology

While the leaders of the future won’t necessarily need to be the ones writing code, experts suggest that they will at least be required to demonstrate a robust understanding of the capabilities, applications, and future potential of emerging technologies.

“Information technology is moving from more of a supporting role that creates efficiency to a differentiating role that will increase effectiveness,” says Guo Xiao, the president and CEO of ThoughtWorks, a global technology consultancy. “Corporations are taking tech more and more seriously, regardless of what industry they’re working in.”

Xiao explains that industries as diverse as retail, agriculture, and manufacturing are increasingly naming technology experts to their advisory boards, while adding more C-level positions in the information and technology space. These efforts, he explains, are in recognition of the fact that technology needs to drive core business functions in order for companies to remain competitive.

“IT staff are now sitting in the center of innovation teams, because the company understands that with ever-changing technologies their business models are facing opportunities to be disrupted or evolved,” he says.
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4. High Emotional Intelligence

In a future that incorporates more artificial intelligence in the workplace, leaders who are emotionally intelligent will ultimately thrive.

“If you think about the assembly line in a very hierarchal organization, it was about measurement and control,” explains Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer, Paul Daugherty. “Then we moved to the second generation of management, which was still about control over sequential processes.”

As part of management’s ongoing evolution that military-like control over subordinates has gone from a key leadership value to a competitive disadvantage, suggests Daugherty.

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in business processes, organizations have become flatter and less hierarchal, he explains. “As you have work processes evolving more organically, it’s going to be driven by leaders that understand and invest in people.”

Daugherty points to five traits of successful future business leaders, each emphasizing traits that cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence anytime soon. They include accountability, transparency, fairness, honesty, and an ability to design systems and processes for humans.
5. The Ability To Work With People and Technology Together

With the increasing influence of technology on businesses both within and beyond the tech industry, the most effective leaders of tomorrow will understand how to delegate between humans and machines in a way that maximizes the capabilities of both.

“The obligation of leaders is to step back and look at not just how you apply AI to the business, but how you change a process,” says Daugherty. “Look at the roles that people play in that process and apply technology that optimizes the value of the people in those roles.”
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While some look at emerging technologies with fear and anxiety, the most future-ready leaders are excited to integrate them into their workforce, explains Wong.

“The best leaders love the benefits of the two working together,” he says. “They love AI, they love bots, they love anything that makes them better, helps them make better decisions, and helps them see things more clearly.”
About the author

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist born, raised and residing in Toronto, covering technology, entrepreneurship, entertainment and more for a wide variety of publications in Canada, the United States and around the world. When he's not playing with gadgets, interviewing entrepreneurs or traveling to music festivals and tech conferences you can usually find him diligently practicing his third-person bio writing skills.

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    05.16.17

What’s Your American Dream Score? This Quiz Will Tell You
The results might disabuse you of the idea that everything you achieved was just because of your hard work.
What’s Your American Dream Score? This Quiz Will Tell You
The roles of luck, or circumstance, or the invisible marionette strings of the job market and the economy are never considered. [Photo: Willard/iStock]

By Eillie Anzilotti5 minute Read

Though he didn’t understand the significance of it during his childhood, Bob McKinnon’s hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts was also where Horatio Alger–19th-century spinner of the rags-to-riches tales that built the sentimental backbone of the American Dream–was born. McKinnon grew up the son of a single mother, a bartender who relocated the family to a rural Pennsylvania trailer park after meeting and marrying a truck driver. His family was on food stamps and Medicaid. His brother became a factory worker; his sister a truck driver. McKinnon was the only one of his family to go to college. After a successful career in marketing, he founded GALEWiLL, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating solutions to social issues and inequities.
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That his own life story should closely ascribe to the structure of a modern-day Horatio Alger story is not lost on McKinnon. “I went through urban poverty and rural poverty, but I was really fortunate and worked hard and was met with success on a whole lot of levels,” McKinnon tells Fast Company. “And of course, going through this, you’re confronted with all these stories about the American Dream and how nothing holds anyone back. But you also stop and reflect and think: Numerically, I’m not supposed to be where I am right now.”

Cresting the heights of the American Dream is, in the popular imagination, often seen as a matter of brute-force bootstrapping: Who can work the hardest to overcome their odds? Who can persevere in the face of the harshest adversity? The roles of luck, or circumstance, or the invisible marionette strings of the job market and the economy are never considered, McKinnon says. Success in America is a marketed as a man-made phenomenon.

“You have this idea of the American Dream, and that’s important to have in a way because it gives people hope. But then I started wondering: Is it actually limiting?” [Photo: sergey02/iStock]
A new project from GALEWiLL and funded by the Ford Foundation, called the Your American Dream Score, deflates that idea that success–or lack thereof–is purely one’s own doing. The calculator is a part of a larger initiative, Moving Up: The Truth About Getting Ahead In America, which comprehensively examines the factors that contribute to mobility in America, and why changing one’s circumstances is far more difficult than the folklore leads up to believe (Fast Company has syndicated some of Moving Up’s articles). The reasons are myriad: wide disparities in educational quality, access to resources like healthy food, and social and familial support are just a slice. But too often, McKinnon says, when someone “makes it out”–like him–the only reason offered up is: “He worked hard.” When someone doesn’t make it out, the reason is: “He didn’t work hard enough.”

Using the Your American Dream Score, you see how many factors beyond the self play into one’s outcomes. The five-minute-long quiz, developed by the firm Sol Design, first asks you to enter your demographic information, then moves into more personal questions: What personality traits would your friends ascribe to you? What was your family situation growing up? How has your health been your whole life? How about your friendships? Have you received government benefits?

You’re then given a score out of 100, with scores starting at 45 to reflect a baseline of individual effort. “We realized if we did not have that floor some might feel as if their own efforts were being discounted,” McKinnon says. If you score less than 53, that means you have all factors working in your favor and have less to overcome; 54-65, the majority of factors have been on your side; 66-79, you’ve had more working against than for you; 80 and above, you’ve been dealt a tough hand.

By getting people to think more holistically about the factors that contribute to success, McKinnon wants to break down what he sees as the two most harmful fallouts of the self-made-person mythology that still persists in America. “On the one hand, you have this idea of the American Dream, and that’s important to have in a way because it gives people hope,” McKinnon says. “But then I started wondering: Is it actually limiting?” Take a school that’s clearly underperforming, McKinnon says. “Instead of fixing the school, people can point to the two kids that made it out and say: Why doesn’t everyone work as hard as they do?”

And then there’s the fact often, people who “make it” forget the path they took to arrive where they are now. This phenomenon is called fundamental attribution bias, and it’s perhaps best explained by a 2012 study done by Paul Piff, a researcher at UC Berkeley who set up a rigged game of Monopoly, in which one player–determined by a coin flip–started out with twice the money as the other, and got to drive a model Rolls Royce around the board, while the opponent was relegated to an old shoe. While the player who started out with the most money invariably won the game, they never, Piff found, attributed their victory to their initial advantage–instead, they pointed to their superior strategy or skill.
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This type of reasoning infects the American understanding of success, and McKinnon wants to put an end to it. “There’s a growing body of research that suggests that when people reflect in a more nuanced way on their own journey or other people’s, they become more grateful for the things that have helped them, they become more supportive of those who are struggling, and they more actively engage in ways to help people,” McKinnon says. By being more upfront about the substantial difference external factors make–especially those like food stamps and housing assistance, which people often avoid discussion out of fear of stigma–we can, McKinnon says, begin to turn more attention to supporting those very systems that make mobility possible.

Part of the Your American Dream Score’s efficacy, McKinnon says, will lie in its reach–Moving Up partnered with WNET, the flagship station of PBS which will host Your American Dream Score through its Chasing the Dream initiative, and is engaging celebrities and business leaders to ensure the web platform is publicized in all communities in America, where the tool can offer perspective on people’s circumstances. But the calculator also tells users what they can do with that perspective: At the end of the quiz, users are directed to a number of resources for support and further information, as well as volunteer opportunities and prompts to thank people in their lives. The Moving Up team will also be releasing a discussion guide for schools and other organizations to discuss the factors in a structured way.

Through getting that conversation going, McKinnon hopes to “begin to figure out how we can make more investments in these tailwinds–these things that we know do help people move forward,” he says. “But it has to start with figuring out how we can tell the story better.”
About the author

Eillie Anzilotti is an assistant editor for Fast Company's Ideas section, covering sustainability, social good, and alternative economies. Previously, she wrote for CityLab.

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Ideas
Ideas
Watch The Movements Of Every Refugee On Earth Since The Year 2000
Ideas
This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change
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These Shoes Help Clean Lakes–Because They’re Made Of Polluting Algae
Entertainment
Watch Jessica Chastain Slam Female Representation In Films At Cannes
Entertainment
Watch Jessica Chastain Slam Female Representation In Films At Cannes
Entertainment
Ogilvy CEO On How Restructuring One Of The World’s Largest Ad Agencies Is Going So Far
Entertainment
How To Read The News
Co.Design
A Status Chair For People Who Are Too Cool For Status Chairs
Product
A Status Chair For People Who Are Too Cool For Status Chairs
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6 Designers Explain Why Craft Still Matters In A Digital World
Product
We Studied Brands Around The World. What Consumers Want Isn’t What You Think
Fast Company
Diary Of An Ex-Google Intern
Leadership
Diary Of An Ex-Google Intern
Ideas
Watch The Movements Of Every Refugee On Earth Since The Year 2000
Technology
Kushner Co-Ownership Clouds Leasing Of Brooklyn’s Iconic Watchtower Building

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