Why create Caracol?

Zachary Towne-Smith is an empathic and multi-faceted leader.
After graduating Cum Laude from the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard in 1999, he moved to Guatemala City where he has since been honing his skills as facilitator of trans-cultural communication and participatory tools for active learning.
Over the past 15 years he's cofounded a wide array of ventures, including a non-profit dedicated to re-weaving sustainable communities. By helping individuals and groups awaken their creativity he shares his natural ability to connect and build strong interpersonal relationships based on affective communication for social innovation.
Are you creative? Are you creative at work? If not, we can help. We'd love to help. This is our founder's story, and his take on why it's so important: Growing up in the public schools of Philadelphia, and later during my 15 years living and working in Guatemala's education sector, I learned slowly began to understand that creativity is humanity's most powerful and underused tool. In spite of its infinite potential, it is what is missing in individuals and communities today. We are all steeped in educational and bureaucratic systems that reward menial compliance and deter independent thought. My inquisitiveness about humanity's infinitely creative nature grew as I studied African American Studies at Harvard. Upon graduating Cum Laude, I moved to Guatemala to volunteer in a children's photo project with youth from the dump of Guatemala City. I soon began teaching photography and cultural studies at the national Jesuit university. A few years later I returned to Philadelphia temporarily, in order to work for equality and social justice in my hometown. I worked at EPOP (Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project) with Steve Honeyman in organizing city-wide campaigns promoting Safer Schools and Economic Development of Underserved Areas. I then returned to Guatemala to found a for-profit company and a non-profit association dedicated to fostering creativity and social innovation through building alliances between public, private, community, and educational sectors.

The more i explored my creative expression and tried to inspire others, the better i became at accessing my creativity. When I am being creative I examine new perspectives and entertain new ideas, and I feel inspired to take initiative and manifest innovative solutions. Over the course of these years working in plush board rooms and dirt-floored schools I've learned to facilitate people and groups to do the same. Now, after 15 years of dedicating my life to creativity, innovation, education, and justice in Guatemala, I have returned to the USA with a strong desire to apply all that I've learned to help you and your team move beyond the structural and ideological barriers that are keeping us apart. Together we can find better ways to develop our own creative solutions, making use of resources already at our disposal. Creativity is cross-cultural and color blind, a universal gift to humanity that is the key to our success as a species. If we are to continue on this planet it is critical that we create solutions together. Individual creativity is often inspired by need and applied toward individual ends. When groups design solutions based on relationships of respect they are driven by shared passion and inspiration.

My passion and experience in creativity and social innovation will be great assets to you and your organization. Beyond the staggeringly high dollar amounts companies stand to save daily by fostering a motivated and engaged workforce, creativity leads to solutions, which can lead to innovation. We will build bridges made of our shared dreams and manifest innovative solutions. Most individuals and communities don't think of themselves as creative in their work and are missing opportunities to build cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary relationships. My passion is helping groups of people who traditionally don't think of themselves as creative to discover what beliefs are blocking their access to creative states, and come together to improve quality of life for themselves and their families for seven generations - from our great grandparents to our great grandchildren.