The HATCH Network: Stu Robertson and Peace in 10,000 Hands

“The most powerful thing in the world is not a man, a woman, a country, or a bomb. The most powerful thing is an idea.”

That was the opening statement from Stu Robertson’s talk about his groundbreaking project Peace in 10,000 Hands on day 2 of HATCH Experience 2015; simultaneously reminding all of us of the power and opportunity surging through the room.

In 2012, Stu “set off around the world with a pocket camera and focused on simplicity.” As he shared his photographs with people from vastly different cultures and backgrounds, their common appreciation for the simple beauty he was capturing became a uniting thread.  No matter where he was, people were innately drawn to the connective power of art.

Peace in 10,000 Hands was “inspired by the belief that art has the power to challenge and inspire peace.”  The project captures “a single white rose held in the hands of 10,000 people from every country and every walk of life…a concept that speaks profoundly to our similarities in the human condition.”

As Stu shared at HATCH, the physical reaction people have when asked to hold a single white rose while envisioning peace is transformative.  Societal barriers and cultural constructs disappear, and for that moment our inherent desire for peace prevails. In less than three years, Stu has captured Iraqi militants, gang members, and survivors of every  ilk – from every corner of the world – finding solace in the idea of peace.  He’s also photographed celebrities like Demi Moore and Seal emanating tranquility as they contemplate a single white rose and what it represents.  As a project, Peace in 10,000 Hands has gained international acclaim from some of the most powerful thought leaders of our time – all born from a simple idea.

Ideas are the seeds that grow beautiful and mighty forests of innovation.  And right now the world needs all of that beauty and might, from all of us.  We need to reinvigorate and reconnect ourselves with the power and beauty of ideas, and we need to transform those ideas into action. We need to drive innovation and creativity at an unprecedented pace.  We need to refocus our efforts on promoting peace.  We need to stop being afraid that our ideas are silly or worthless, and we need to dig in.

HATCH is the fertile ground to plant our idea seeds, and to find like minds and hearts that can help them grow.  It’s 3.5 days to grow the concepts and projects close to our hearts beyond ourselves.  It’s a strong reminder that when we feel cynicism or doubt, it’s time to dig deeper.

As Stu reminded us when he closed out his talk, “our quiet inner voice is the voice we should be listening to.”

Listen to your crazy and beautiful ideas.  HATCH them, and bring them to the world.

Learn more about how Stu is sharing his ideas and work:

60 Minutes – watch the lead story on Stu and Peace in 10,000 Hands on ’60 Minutes’ 
Museum installation – watch Stu’s collaboration with top recording artist Tiki Taane
TEDx – watch Stu’s TEDx Talk
Book – Peace in 10,000 Hands book preview – The First Collection 
f11 – read the cover story on Stu in f11 Magazine