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RIVAEngage initially started in March 2020 as a way to remain connected in a new all-virtual world. Almost two years later, RIVAEngage remains a staple bi-monthly virtual meeting which continues to unite RIVA employees across the nation. RIVAEngage gives internal project teams, programs, and departments the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and provides a forum to hold large group employee training and professional development opportunities.   

This month RIVAEngage is proud to host Hans Manzke, a Principal at The Clearing and author of For All: Democratizing Big Ideas. On September 23rd Hans will be hosting a book talk on his latest publication For All: Democratizing Big Ideas. Five lucky participants will walk away with a copy of For All: Democratizing Big Ideas to continue their learning experience.  

Read on to get a sneak peek into some of the topics that will be discussed at the next RIVAEngage!  

  1. What inspired you to write For All: Democratizing Big Ideas?  
  • I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a little boy. I can’t pinpoint a specific origin story, or even the day or year when that desire first manifested, but I’ve always been fascinated by learning and knowledge and the physical manifestation of those things in books. More recently, my work at The Clearing affords me an opportunity to learn something new every day. I’m privileged in my work and in my life, and I figured that opening up access to some of the insights and ideas I’ve been exposed to would serve as a small way to give something back to a world that has been mostly gentle with me. 
  1. What is the biggest lesson you learned while writing this book?  
  • About the effort & from my research and interactions: To reference Mr. Rogers’ favorite quote (from Mary Lou Kownacki) – “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” Through the book writing experience, I’ve learned things about dear friends and valued mentors that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I came to know people who I would otherwise consider strangers. The thing they all have in common is that they have their own rich, triumphant, tragic, hilarious, embarrassing, heartwarming story – the threads that make up a life. We each have that, and it’s the one thing that every human being has in common. For me, understanding some of the ‘why’ behind those stories is a lesson and learning I’ll never forget.  
  • Personally: I needed the external accountability that my publisher and other partners held me accountable to throughout the twelve-month process (from a loose idea to holding a physical copy of my book in my hand). I say it often, but left to my own devices, this would’ve taken me 5-10 years if I was ever to complete it at all. 
  1. Who would benefit from reading For All: Democratizing Big Ideas 
  • This book is for the brilliant and underserved, the young and ambitious, and established leaders who are looking to access the next version of themselves. We all deserve equal access to what the world’s best minds have to offer, regardless of our background, age, education, or profession. Perhaps most importantly, and even if you don’t see yourself in one of the descriptions above, this book is for you if you’re committed to self-improvement or to seeing what some of the most powerful ideas in the world can unlock for you.
  1. What is the main lesson(s) you want readers to take away from the book?   
  • No matter where you came from, who you are, how much or how little you or your family has or owns, where you work, where you went to school, or any of a thousand other variables, you are worth investment. From yourself and from others. Ideas exist that can help you explore yourself, to connect you powerfully to like and unlike minds, and to help you frame and structure what you need from others and the world around you. The atlas for my short journey so far is this book. 
  1. Can you share something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?  
  • I use music lyrics at the beginning of many chapters to help illustrate a point I’ll make within that chapter – something that I hope adds some fun and proverbial flavor to the broth  
  • I’m a bit of a quote collector, so you’ll see lots of those as well to help anchor some of the more complex topics I dive in to 
  • I got to interact with some really cool artists and designers, including my colleague Matteo Becchi from The Clearing (who illustrated a beautiful version of the Ladder of Inference for the book), and Benno Bos (who graciously gave me permission to reproduce his outstanding EDSO In Action infographic for my chapter on the basics of how our brains work in different situations. 
  1. Anything else we didn’t ask that you’d like to share?  
  • If some part of my book resonates with you, I’d love to hear about it. Few things energize me more than a big idea landing and sticking with someone who’s open and receptive.  

Interested in connecting with Hans? Shoot him an email at or connect with him on Linkedin here. Pick up a copy for yourself, For All: Democratizing Big Ideas is on sale on Amazon 

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