Ten Exactitude Memos

In Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the late philosopher Italo Calvino defined a term “exactitude” in his typical vague and poetic fashion:

To my mind exactitude means three things above all:
(1) a well-defined and well-calculated plan for the work in question;
(2) an evocation of clear, incisive, memorable images;
(3) a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination.

—Italo Calvino

Exactitude feels like the perfect word for what is needed right now.

Context: Shortly after the murder of George Floyd in the U.S., a small group of folks in my professional network gathered to image what kinds of constructive thinking could alter our future together on our planet. The “Exactitude” mini-series was created with a few luminaries sharing their directives for what folks might/should want to do.

Exactitude is about staying near the intersection of computation and racial injustice — it’s an uncomfortable place for
so many reasons.

After we all gathered, designer/illustrator Tony Ruth and designer/consultant Karin Giefer collaborated to distill the ten directives that emerged from the collective.

Ten Exactitude Memos

Ten+ Asks Made in 2020

What are you willing to sacrifice for change?

Are you an ally or accomplice?

Jason Mayden

Are we shaping organizations to mirror the world we want?

What is your leadership orientation? Will you examine truly where you’re at on the gatekeeper-to-servant leader spectrum?

Kevin Bethune

When investing in Small Business will you help “tier up black women owned business?”

Ebony Smith

How can we leverage humans and data to bring us together?

Rochelle King + Summer Simmons

In this uncertain time, can we lead with creativity? In order to shift our focus to meaning and from diversity to equity?

Dr. Natalie Nixon

Given that what gets measured gets done, what’s the measurement of society-centered change?

Sarah Gold

In this age of AI/ML/Data, can we find to way to reset privilege? And if we can, will you tell us if it is something we’d regret?

Allen Mask

Are you working to make the existing ecosystem comfortable for what you have, or shaping an ecosystem which can be comfortable for what you want?

Wendy Johansson

What structures are you currently upholding?

In what ways can you break down and rebuild them to be meaningful for the communities you serve?

Jewel Burks

When you Dream, will you Dream not only for people who look like you? Instead will you Dream in TECHNO-COLOR?

Annie Jean-Baptiste