My first professional discipline is as a qualified librarian and knowledge manager. Twenty-five years ago, I used that to go straight into my social change career with a recognition that it was okay not to know all of the answers, because I had an understanding of knowing how to find them to help make the world a fairer place for all.
I've shared that skill to empower people with their voice and a path forward.
It’s something that has stayed with me, all of my career, no matter which sector or discipline. And, when I ran a school library for 5 years, it was a unique position to see kids find their voice, courage, joy and hope reflected in what they were reading.
By the way, if you’re reading a book and not getting along with it, I fully endorse putting it down and picking up something else that speaks to you. Life is precious, time is short!
Libraries sit at the heart of communities, spaces for everyone, free access to resources.
They are starting points for creativity, ignition points for imagination.
And if you have imagination, you can dream a new future into existence.
Libraries sit as revolutionary hubs for innovation and launch pads for entrepreneurship.
Which is quite possibly why they are consistently de-funded. Governments tend not to like revolutionary hubs of anything much. De-fund libraries and schools in the present…you de-skill people and stop them thinking for themselves.
Still, I think lockdown brought a ray of hope, a new trajectory as in these extraordinary times. People turned to online libraries, where they could, and their creativity resources. Not just to keep kids occupied, but for people of all ages to come home to the long-forgotten voices within for comfort, ease and fun.
Libraries, hopefully, are reassuming their power as places for helping us to say the things that we want to say but don’t always have the words, until we find them in a book or poetry.
Possibly predictably, I love The Shadow of the Wind by the late, great Carlos Ruiz Zafón and this sense of books having souls:
“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
I used to stand in the school library before anyone else arrived, close my eyes, breathe and feel the presence of the voices in those books.
Do you remember your favourite 3 books from when you were a kid? Was it the story that inspired you? Was it a certain character? When you felt yourself reflected in them, what became possible for you?
I know that some books always find you at exactly the right moment, to comfort, inspire, teach and guide. Those 3 books (or more) from being a kid…who did they inspire you to become?
When I asked my dad, he remembered the book on Marco Polo he read when he was 6, that seeded a burning desire to travel the world, which he did at 21 to sail the high seas and then taking us as a family to Zambia during the 70s.
I’ve just finished, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, a beautiful read about The Packhorse Librarians in Kentucky. And I love this fella and his mobile library. And I love the perfectly crafted nature-based solution of bats for protecting ancient books in these hallowed halls.
Why do libraries have the power to radically change the future?
It’s not just about literacy and education being a route out of poverty. It’s about finding exactly your voice between the pages and knowing that your imagination matters.
When you can imagine, you can imagine different; wonder becomes your default setting for dreaming up new futures that protect people and planet.
It's exactly why I felt compelled to create the Kids Wonder Lab® Challenge Pack, with 12 easy challenges, for public and school libraries to use to engage, inspire and empower kids using futures thinking. It’s simple. Pick your favourite book character and explore the challenge question. Come up with ideas and make them.
Tell your school librarian. Tell your public library. Get them to start using the pack with the kids in your community…and the adults too.
If you can imagine new futures, you can unfold them. And that’s how the seeds of revolution are planted for radically changing the future.
Have a look here to find out more about the Pack and also whether you'd like to take the training to learn how to set up your own Flow In Action Kids Wonder Lab®
#flowinaction #wonder #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #futuresthinking #designthinking #systemsthinking #innovationchallenges #climateaction #libraries #planetcentreddesign #wellbeing #morewonder #wondermore
I'm thrilled to be speaking at the Kaleido Retreat in September, where this year's theme is Reimagining Futures.
I'll be talking about Flourishing through Wonder, and looking through the lens of wonder to imagine new futures for people and planet.
"When we look through the lens of wonder we connect with our imagination, creativity and resilience.
We open up the space to flourish in our daily lives. What we are present to in wondering, unfolds our future selves. This talk explores why, how and what we can wonder now, to create the possibility of new futures which align with a flourishing planet.
Wonder is a powerful, practical tool used in futures, design and systems-thinking to imagine, explore and challenge the status quo of the present and disrupt predictions of the future.
Wonder creates a level-playing field for everyone to come to the table to share their unique blend of problem-solving creativity. It enables us to connect deeply to Nature and be inspired by it for innovative solutions. Wondering brings us into states of flow and deep play, triggering positive emotions which contribute to our wellbeing. What we wonder together, plants the seeds of change that we will take back into our individual lives and share with our communities of change." Elaine
#flowinaction #wonder #futuresthinking #reimagining #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #planetcentreddesign #nature #climateaction #hope #love #awe #kaleido
I'm excited to announce that Flow In Action is partnering with UNIGE and Genilem to create and deliver training for the Best Ideas Competition - Concours de la Meilleure Idée - the pivotal event during Global Entrepreneurship Week Geneva 2020.
This training is all about engaging and supporting youth with practical skills, as the new generation of activists and innovators, taking them on their start-up entrepreneurship journey from ideas to pitch.
Keep checking in at https://liberezvosidees.ch/ for more information.
Check out my latest article online at Sovereign Magazine exploring the future of climate action after lockdown.
What does the future of look like now? It’s a deliberate question. We are, after all, our future selves: what gets seeded now unfolds in the future. To change it, we have to imagine it differently, in order to turn it into reality.
#flowinaction #sovereignmagazine #climatechange #climateaction #hope #youth #futuresthinking #planetcentreddesign #designthinking #designforflourishing
On 24th June 2020, I ran a free webinar as part of the fantastic Learning Revolution series.
You can register on the Learning Revolution platform for free and watch the recording here:
More than ever, teachers and librarians want to connect children and youth to the resources to enable them to flourish in today’s uncertain world as problem-solvers for the planet.
Wonder is an essential, and frequently under-estimated tool for doing this.
Consciously using and inspiring wonder, cultivates creative thinking, increases positive emotions, deepens a mindful connection to Nature and capacity-builds key skills used in innovation and entrepreneurship.
This interactive session will give you strategies for using wonder through reading and across academic subject learning, to engage your students of all ages.
You will learn:
#flowinaction #futuresthinking #wonder #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #designthinking #systemsthinking #planetcentreddesign
If you're a parent with kids at home during lockdown, then join us tomorrow for this FB livestreamed webinar at 9am CEST/12.30pm India, 'Recipe for Virtual Learning'
Discover how to support your children as they adapt to online classes at home; enabling them to stay creative, happy, positively engaged and motivated to learn.
I'm thrilled to be participating to share my insights and experiences of virtual learning and supporting students in home-school environments.
Thank you Shivani Wazir Pasrich and The Study School (New Delhi, India) and Helen Jones MBE for the invitation.
#education #innovation #homeschool #elearning #virtualclassroom #parenting #india #youth #youthvoices
I was so delighted to work with Capacity Zurich again this morning giving an online resilience for entrepreneurs workshop, as part of their Launch programme. Capacity is a talent and start-up incubator for entrepreneurs of refugee and migrant backgrounds. It's always such an honour to spend time with the incredible participants and team; it's such a wonderful community to be part of. Can't wait to see you all face-to-face in the near future.
#flowinaction #capacityzurich #migrationmatters #capacityempowers #refugeeswelcome #purpose #purposedriven #flourishing #peopleandplanetcentreddesign
I'm delighted to tell you about the Commonwealth Girls In ICT Creativity & Innovation Challenge, exploring ideas to make education and learning more inclusive for all children; and to ask you to invite young people to join in.
Designed and run by the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN), Flow In Action and GSMA, this is an international inclusive event for girls and boys, inviting them to engage, explore and experience UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education and Goal 5 on Gender Equality.
What had originally been planned as a face-to-face workshop for 30 girls in London, was turned upside down by COVID-19. With more than 1.5 billion students now out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic, we got together to see how we could help. From a brief conversation two weeks ago, the challenge has emerged and we are excited to share this as a free interactive online event for girls and boys ages 8-16 years old in Commonwealth countries and beyond.
This is an opportunity for your young people to:
· Learn digital skills
· Create incredible innovative ideas for inclusive education for all children
· Connect across the globe as problem-solvers
Powered by our tech platforms of Hazu and World Labs, you can get involved in the challenge with your children and youth from 23 April 2020 until 23 June 2020. Take part on the day and then as an ongoing project.
Educators, librarians, youth workers: get your students involved to connect across the globe, learning digital skills as they use their creativity and generate incredible ideas to solve the innovation challenge.
Parents: get your kids involved in the challenge as a home-schooling creativity activity as they learn digital skills and share their incredible ideas for creating inclusive education.
Students: Your creativity counts! Take part in the challenge with children across the world, learn digital skills and share your incredible ideas for creating inclusive education for all children.
Discover more about the challenge at www.cbwn.org and be ready to register and enter the interactive classroom on the 23rd April 2020.
We are so excited to see the incredible ideas of young people emerging over the course of the challenge, and we will be sharing their voices with you, as a community taking action for the planet.
#girlsinict #flowinaction #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #commonwealth #youthvoices
I wonder what you wonder...about a drop of water?
A question for kids of all ages...so feel free to have a go too.
Share this with your kids and get them wondering...as a homeschooling activity.
When we wonder, we connect to our imagination and creativity. We see things from new perspectives. We problem solve in different ways.
Wondering keeps us well and hopeful.
Your kids can share their ideas on the platform at this link. https://hazu.io/flowinaction.org/wonderlab
Also...if you're an educator, librarian, youth worker ...then sign up for the online training with me for creating your own Kids Wonder Lab for your organisation at www.flowinaction.org/wonder
#flowinaction #purejoyofcreating #imagination #ideas #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurship #wellbeing #sustainability #sdgs #love #wonder #awe #lovetheplanet #designforflourishing #peopleandplanetcentreddesignthinking #flourishing #purposedriven #teacher #librarian #youthvoices