I’ve always enjoyed the process and thinking that goes into great writing, and I’ve wanted to write a book since I was in high school. When I left Microsoft in 2010, I promised myself I would stay engaged and apply my talents in a new way – to topics and issues that would take me from generating business profits to driving social impact. Over time, I’ve come to think of myself as a “Civic Engineer” because I am focusing on activities and actions that can positively affect what is happening in our communities and government organizations.
In this new role, I’ve gone back to square one of the strategy process I learned at Microsoft, in particular during my time on Xbox, and asked myself a simple question: “If I was going to create a strategy for addressing America’s current issues, what would I do?” That provocative, and somewhat outrageous question led to over a year’s worth of writing on strategy, leadership, and community engagement. Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal is the ultimate outcome of that work.
Xbox Revisited is grounded in two stories that changed my life in fundamental ways: my role as Chief Xbox Officer during the creation of the Xbox business at Microsoft and my sojourn from New York to Seattle following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Using my Xbox experiences as a foundation and context, I explore how we developed and implemented a strategic framework which played a key role in shifting the Xbox business from a troubled startup into a successful, industry-leading business. I then use that same approach, now formalized as the 3P Framework, to develop a common-sense strategy for our country as a whole. In both cases, the strategy developed is boiled down to what I call a “three-pager” – a simple document that describes how complex issues can be attacked successfully. It is this focus on simplicity that is at the heart of the 3P Framework and is key to its success – whether in a business, personal, or civic context.
My hope is that Xbox Revisited provides an interesting combination of compelling story-telling, easy yet robust principles, practical examples, and personal elements that will draw you into my real purpose. Ultimately, this narrative is a social call to action to each of you to discover how you can also be a Civic Engineer. It certainly includes my own points of view on specific policy and civic approaches that are needed to help our country, and I hope those are useful in their own right. But my ultimate goal is to enable and ignite a real conversation and debate about the changes required to address local, regional, and national challenges – challenges that we all must address to provide better opportunities for the next generation.