“Being intentional about the future” – Interview with Lara Stein

September 5, 2019

While visiting Lisbon to (among other things) talk to the Beta-i team, Lara gave this quick interview to share a little more context about her new project, which can be seen in detail (and receive your input about how to get involved) at www.boma.global.

After being Executive Director of Women’s March Global, Founder and former Director of TEDx and the TED Prize and MD of Global for Singularity University, South African Lara Stein has a brand new project of her own: BOMA, which in the coming days launches its own editorial platform.

The roots of the word “Boma” originate from Africa and are present in the languages spoken in the Great Lakes of Africa. The Boma was a circular venue for the community and its elders to gather together: a space for community meetings, meaningful discussions, and decision-making to define actions. It was this concept that Lara brought to the fore to position her new project as “a community without borders, identifying new ideas, innovations, and systems to design a more intelligent, intentional, and sustainable future.”

Here’s how our conversation with Lara went:

What motivated you to migrate from previous experiences like TEDx and Singularity to a new project?

The understanding that we live in complicated times. Of social and political changes, which amplify the context of change. I have spent the last two years making global moves to drive change, and I realized that many countries have common challenges and desires, while sharing a will to maximize results while still having a wider impact. And that’s exactly what we want to maximize with the BOMA project: creating value impact from a human-centred approach.

Having worked in three major networks, I was looking for a model that would not divide the world, but rather add up. Something decentralized and collaborative, with a network of people who share the same vision. That’s why I think my obligation to BOMA is to bring these people together and make a model that works overtime – and that’s more intentional and intelligent about the future and the actions that this future requires us to take. I believe in a global system with local partners.

Can you comment a bit more on the idea of “being intentional about the future”?

I feel that the general mindset still focuses on ‘survival of fittest‘. We do not want to maximize this; we want to leverage collaboration, being a movement where people come together and get organized to help and act on concrete things. Doing so, we want to help design leaders able to answer the unavoidable ethical questions that lie before us. I believe people want these principles: to exchange experiences and knowledge for the world we want to have.

It seems that BOMA has more to do with the consequences of technology than the pursuit of technological innovation as a way to thrive. Does it make sense?

Tech is a key drive, everything is around that. But the complexity lies in its transformation: technology alone is not the point of action, but rather the good use of technology, how it is being applied to increase shareholder value and the consequences of it. These are very complicated questions to be pursued by ethics: the consequences of our actions in the name of a “good outcome”.

What are the main goals to be achieved by the platform in this first phase?

In the coming days, we’ll launch our editorial platform on the BOMA website, with bottom-up change and empowering communities content. We are only 6 months old and always revisiting our KPIs, but I would like to have up to 15 or 20 country partners in the coming years, with bottom-up community events and projects associated with our lines of work that can gradually be developed by the partners themselves in each country. This is a long-term project because talking and acting on systemic change takes time.


Thank you so much for the visit, Lara!