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Tim Jahnigen, Co-Inventor of One World Futbol (INTERVIEW)

Buy One Give One Multi-Sport Balls

— February 16, 2012 — Social Good
Tim Jahnigen is the co-inventor of one-for-one multi-sport social business, One World Futbol, which SocialBusiness.org covered a few weeks ago.

Jahnigen, as an award-winning lyricist and producer, and developer of infrared warming technology for animals, is something like a supercharged and innovative jack of all trades. After diving into Tim Jahnigen Huffington Post blog, we figured he would be a great figure to interview. And indeed, he delivers with his inspiring story and his will to put play at the top of the agenda through One World Futbol.

Four Questions with Tim Jahnigen

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

The One World Futbol Project’s model, as a B Corporation or Benefit Corporation, with the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit, came about during our search for a structure that would allow us to fulfill our mission of letting children be children no matter where they live, and maximize our unique patent pending technology.

We were advised by many in the non-profit world that the some aspects of the model were broken and that NGOs and non-profits needed to be run more like businesses and that businesses needed to be more socially and environmentally aware.

The BOGO (Buy One Give One) model was newly ascending because of the hard work and vision of Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes and was a no-brainer as a way for us to have broader impact. By offering consumers an opportunity to participate in philanthropy just by doing something they already do, buy goods and services, adds a priceless added value to our already maximized dollar. It enhances and raises the buying public’s awareness, involvement and improves the quality of life on both ends of the transaction. And, it allows the One World Futbol Project, as a business, to grow and continue to innovate and to be as nimble and have the endurance of a world-class soccer player so we could all be like World Cup champions.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

It wasn't really a conscious choice; it was the result of manifesting an idea that created a logical path into it. I've always been artistic and lived a more or less vagabond life, turning my hand to various jobs in hospitality and construction and the like, as day jobs while I did a variety of creative things like art, sculpture and music.

I was blessed to stumble into lyric writing by having my first song idea resonate with my friend and Blues/Rock legend, Walter Trout. He put it to music, recorded it and it went on to be a huge success in Europe back in the '90s and that song continues to get honors in places like Holland.

It was the discipline I learned from pursuing the craft of taking raw inspiration and shaping it into something accessible to others that continues to inform all I do in my life. Once I saw the need for the ball and the potential that it could have, a whole variety of solutions emerged and as I focused on the purpose behind the ball rather than on myself and the things I thought I lacked in order to follow through, a path was cleared.

The definitions for Love and Happiness that I use come from the work of Anthony de Mello and are really what lead me to this incredible opportunity. I've learned to define Love as "Clarity of Sight and Accuracy of Response" and Happiness as "The Wholehearted Cooperation with the Inevitable."

3. How do you get your inspiration?

In addition to finally understanding that ideas like this are gifts of the divine, I feel that they are there for all of us to benefit from but not all of us recognize them the same way when they cross our minds in daydreams and the like. I decided long ago that if God, as I understand God to be, is kind enough to let me have an insight, vision or just plain good idea, then my only responsibility is to shepherd it and follow it until it is not only tangible but functional. That has lead me to a certain sense of knowing that if and when an obstacle of any kind is encountered a solution will be found through collaboration and team work.

Personally, how I think I get my inspirations and how I actually get them is something I'm re-examining right now. I've been given so many wonderful ideas since I was a child, but I used to want to control the process and felt disappointment and frustration when I couldn't maintain or access the kind and quality of space and time I thought I needed. That negative dynamic probably prevented me from doing more and having what many call success earlier in my life.

The fact is, the ideas that I've manifested in the last 10 years -- a new medical device improves outcomes and procedures at the CDC, the NIH, labs, universities and hospitals, along with truly amazing opportunities as a lyricist and producer, writing with the great Narada Michael Walden, who also has me help with Sting and Trudie Styler’s Rain Forest Concert at Carnegie Hall, which lead to Sting's help in getting the One World Futbol out into the world –- all of that, all those ideas and relationships, came when I was at my worst. The ideas all came to me when I was tired, distracted, stressed, overwhelmed and cranky. I don't yet know what it's like to have the "ideal" environment to be creative in. Maybe I just described the best way for me to be inspired after all.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

It's been so long since I've consciously been able to do the things I think will help, I don't know if I have a way. I may have a pattern that I'm not yet aware of. One thing I know I do when it's time for a song-writing session is I simply take a breath and ask God to give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the words to speak and the strength to surrender. I just don't want to force it just because I think I can force it.

One thing that gives me the strength and courage to be creative is the love of my incredible wife, Lisa. I recommend love to everyone –- it's everywhere, once you know what to look for, although I'd prefer you didn't all try to get it from my wife too!

Again, I don't know if it's a ritual but I often thank God just for the air I breathe, especially when I'm feeling so rundown and tired that I can't leave the house to see a beautiful day. For me, it’s being grateful for the miracle of simple things, like thirst-quenching water coming out of a tap, of light at night, of a roof and walls to keep out the cold and rain, of a man who takes away my garbage. It’s the miracle of being able to walk on any kind of ground because of shoes. When I really focus on how abundant life is with even less than all that, my own needs become simple to fill. That keeps it all simple, and simple makes me happy!

Lead Image Credit: Meagan Kae
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