Last weekend I was at the Good Festival in Lausanne. I spoke on the Friday about how to create a Resilience Toolkit as a changemaker.
On the Saturday and Sunday, I had the pleasure and privilege to sit on the judging panel, listening to and feeding back on the ideas from the people pitching.
It was an incredible, humbling experience to hear so many ideas, in all stages of development, for doing good. People were using the things that they love to do, combined with their experiences and skills, to take action…not knowing if they would succeed and taking the risk on trying.
If you do one thing this week to build the resilience of the children and young people around you, make sure that you create a level-playing where everyone’s ideas for doing good count.
It’s so simple, that you may think it’s not worth doing. You will go into ‘Dragon’s Den’ mode and start applying judgements and making it a competition.
STOPPPP! Don’t do that.
Instead, open the space, make a ladder, invite the ideas and dreams of every kid as steps up it for doing good.
Before the businesses, before the solutions comes the risk-taking on the ideas.
As adults we need to remember not to inadvertently crush creativity because we’ve lost touch with our imagination and are bound by our rules.
Make a ladder!
…and also watch Anote’s Ark with them. This beautiful, moving film about the Kiribati Islands brings home why we all need to take action as changemakers.
#resilience #flowinaction #pureenergyofcreating #grit #wellbeing #innovators #weareallconnected
If you can get to Geneva on Wednesday 25th April, I’m running a workshop at Soft-Space about knowing who the people are that play a role in your success and where to start in building a relationship with them.
Relationships sit at the heart of your happiness. Your happiness comes from being able to stay on track with your social change mission as you put it together and deliver it; from creating a business that sustains you, to making real impact for the communities you care about.
This connectivity builds the foundations of your personal, professional and organisational resilience and wellbeing. It’s a have-to-have rather than a nice-to-have.
By resilience, I mean being able to adapt to challenges from a core of deep creativity and strengths; not pushing harder until you break. If you break, you cannot make positive impact for anyone, so the seeing yourself as a stakeholder in your own success is top of the list!
If you are an individual or micro social businesses and NGOs get signed up.
Whether you’re just transitioning into this space, starting up or established, the relationships you build are vital for the good times and the bad. It’s work in progress.
This is a practical session, a valuable (and often neglected) exercise in downloading and prioritising who you need to be talking to, so that you can invest your energy wisely.
That means not just talking to the people who ‘like’ your social mission but definitely the ones who don’t ‘like’ it, or don’t ‘get’ it or simply don’t care yet.
I’ll admit, it can be un-nerving to take time out to see things as they really are. You might discover that you haven’t paid enough attention to people or building relationships as you’ve been spinning other plates.
At this point you can either beat yourself up and feel like you’ve failed.
Or…you can consider yourself human, realise that blame is pointless and use this insight as a powerful lever for taking action.
It’s never too late to build bridges and as soon as you do, you are giving yourself room to adapt, respond and succeed in making positive change happen.
Click here to sign up for the workshop
We work in social change, surely everyone gets along? From my own experience, I know that this isn’t always true, sadly.
It’s always a bit of a shocker when someone you work with really seems to act as an obstacle. Across the spectrum of bad behaviour, they might deliberately block your way with power games designed to hurt or just ruffle feathers through well intentioned micro-management.
When it happens, your need to feel credible and respected goes onto red alert. It becomes an emotional battlefield, where your energy goes into protection through anger and anxiety, rather than achieving the social mission that gives you fulfilment.
You might think that these are your only options…you can dig in and hope that they leave your space. You can dig in and hope that karma happens. You can avoid them and leave the space.
All of these are disempowering you and get in the way of your work for others.
“The last thing you need after someone has done you an injustice is to do a greater injustice to yourself. Getting angrily upset over a frustration does not usually remove the frustration and always adds to your discomfort.” (Hauck, P. 1980: 122. Calm Down. London. Sheldon Press)
The only way to get your choices back and find a way forward, is your own mindset and behaviour.
Reconnect with your signature strengths, consciously come back to knowing and living your life values in your interactions, celebrate who you are. No-one can take these things away from you. Build that relationship with yourself, as your own best stakeholder.
Taking action from this place of self-compassion, opens up the actions you can take. Whether that’s via HR, deciding it’s time to start your own business, having a conversation with the person, choosing a new direction…it’s all within your power to decide.
Sometimes we don’t take action for ourselves because we don’t feel we ‘should’ have to. We’re so angry at the injustice of it all.
The moment you look to yourself, the moment you learn an empowering way to deal with the conflict, is the moment when you are free and flourishing as a changemaker.
Get in touch about 1-1 sessions either face-to-face or online so that you can get back to living your purpose passionately.
It seems fitting on International Mother Earth Day to be looking ahead to World Environment Day on 5th June too.
The theme for 2018 is Beat Plastic Pollution. You can check it out here http://worldenvironmentday.global/
I’d like to think that in less than 12 years the themes have a radically different and joyful focus because we have solved the problem.
Ask your kids and youth what they’d like the theme to be for World Environment Day 2030. Get them to make that a long-term goal.
In the meantime, let’s build your kids’ resilience and wellbeing by empowering them as the eco-social innovators now.
Which really means getting them involved in sustainability now by playing with ideas…it’s a level playing field for every child’s creativity and the pathway to action.
Start by by triggering their imagination and engagement with this game.
Plastic Free SuperMarket
I used this game with my amazing students from Lemania-Verbier International School, as part of my Agents of Change Programme activities. We explored, imagined and then walked over the road into the local Coop to look around the shelves and see how much single-use plastic was around.
They were stunned and what came next were all the questions about how to solve the problem…which sets things up very nicely for playing with ideas.
More on that next time!
Think about doing the learn to move mountains® hub training so that you set up an innovation hub for engaging all of the kids and youth in your community. You can read more on that here.
#flowinaction #pureenergyofcreating #creativity #ideas #ecosocinn #innovation #resilience #wellbeing #grit #happiness #hope #purposedriven
I'm really excited to be speaking at the GoodFestival in Lausanne next Friday 27th April.
My topic? A Resilience Toolkit for Social Innovators in today's world.
I'll be giving a snapshot into how to build your resilience, so that you're equipped for the journey as an ecosocial innovator and -preneur for good. You need to flourish yourself so that you can create incredible solutions for others. Creativity, wellbeing, play, mindfulness - all part of your mindset for taking action.
Find out more and register for free at the website: https://www.goodfestival.ch/
If you’re a kid being bullied, marginalised, sad, cutting yourself, depressed…talking about achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can’t seem that relevant or probable.
Why care about these huge challenges when your own life hurts like hell?
It’s not that you’re unsympathetic…it’s just so abstract, it may as well be another Universe.
Leave the plastic packaging in the supermarket? Buy local produce? Set up your own business because there won’t be any jobs? Use a refillable cup or water bottle?
You must be thinking, “Seriously, how could that possibly matter to me?”
You’re wishing that all of those people around you taking action for others, would notice that you feel like s**t too.
When you’re making a difference for them, you’re wishing for a you to blitz in on roller-skates (it's a retro moment) and save you too.
You do the activity for a bit because it feels good to be good. For a while, you don’t feel like you can’t breathe because of the sadness pressing in on your heart-space.
What can I tell you that isn’t trite or glib self-help?
A different perspective. A candle in the window.
I know that YOU matter and you can tell me different, but I will not change my mind.
Those SDGs are for you too because we are all connected on this blue dot.
Pick this goal #3 Good Health & Wellbeing.
Start with your life.
When you ask for help for you, you know how to find the answer for them.
I could drop you into a refugee camp in Greece, or a remote village in India, or your school corridors, or a playing field, or the school bus; and you would know exactly how to talk to the kid who is feeling what you are feeling. Your story is their story too.
So, if you’re a kid being bullied, marginalised, sad, cutting yourself, depressed…take one step towards loving yourself. Each breath you take is the future You now.
Step out of your silence; disrupting the darkness has the power to change the course of history. Make today the day, when by being in the everyday moments of your life, you are as we say, "achieving those global goals."
Write it, speak it, find a Youtube video that says it for you…tell someone so that they can take action for you too.
#flowinaction #creativity #ideas #resilience #grit #wellbeing #agentsofchange #adventurers #ecosocinn #innovators #entrepreneurs
Are you a woman working in social change? Learn to flourish in your life by caring for your wellbeing.
As a purpose-driven adventurer intent on making positive impact in ways meaningful to you, you need a resilience and wellbeing toolkit that enables you to live a flourishing, fulfilled life.
This 1 day restorative retreat reconnects you to knowing, loving and being your unique, magnificent self, so that you live your purpose as a force of nature, creatively, mindfully and with self-compassion.
You'll celebrate your unique blend of creativity, strengths and values as the source of your impact;
You'll reconnect with what makes you happy, so that you can do more of it, now;
You'll discover new ways of thinking so that you get choices back.
There will be time for talk, play and stillness as you greet yourself again, as a woman who moves mountains.
#flowinaction #resilience #wellbeing #happiness #socialchange #ecosocinn #socinn #socent #entrepreneur #creativity #ideas
You want to achieve your social mission and make real impact through your activities!
Knowing who your key stakeholders are is critical to doing that.
In this workshop, you will identify the people and organisations that have the most interest and influence over your success.
You will map and prioritise them, and then plan how to engage most effectively with them.
Stakeholder Engagement is a vital part in building resilience, so that you stay focused on your social mission.
#flowinaction #creativity #ideas #resilience #innovation #grit #wellbeing #changemakers #agentsofchange #adventurers #ecosocialinnovator
More than ever we need to inspire hope in kids and young people, showing them that their strengths and creativity are valued, valuable and needed for taking action as eco-social innovators.
Being hopeful is a strength, a choice and an attitude that stands defiantly in the face of the zero-sum game being played by the few, for the few. If you're in/around Geneva, sign your kids up for my learn to move mountains 21st April workshop, as we play with ideas to solve big challenges, building hope, resilience and thinking skills.
#flowinaction #creativity #resilience #grit #ideas #innovation #adventurers #sustainability #entrepreneurs #wellbeing #happiness #hope #purposedriven #loveassocialjustice
21st April is the UN’s first official World Creativity & Innovation Day.
I’m thrilled because it’s purpose is to celebrate, and I quote, “multi-disciplinary thinking to help us achieve the sustainable future we want.”
It’s the premise on which I started Flow In Action, based on my 20+ year career in social change, innovation and social entrepreneurship, empowering kids and the stakeholders around them to think and act like eco-social innovators.
From my long and winding road, I know that to have happy, resilient problem-solvers and a resilient, problem-solving organisation, you need everyone’s creative thinking skills around the table, to act like a prism into the solution that you need.
I think World Creativity & Innovation Day is about not being afraid to fail.
Innovation doesn’t start with the right answer, it starts with being connected to your individual creativity, spotting a need and having ideas to meet it.
Being that kid who starts something is absolutely NOT about being the best academically. It’s about being the one who is prepared to get it wrong, to fail, to know what to do next when things hit the fan!
In the words of Elon Musk, "Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."
I think World Creativity & Innovation Day is about hope.
We need every child to believe in their unique creativity and know how to use it to make their lives and communities better, happier, fairer – looking at the challenges in their lives and having hope in themselves.
Feeling hopeful comes from knowing how to be part of the answer, feeling like you are more than ‘enough’, knowing how to deal with failure repeatedly even though it hurts.
Resilience isn’t about suffering, it is about being agile in adapting.
Learn how to set up an eco-social innovation hub in your community
You’re the stakeholder holding the space for the kids and young people around you to be the changemakers.
Inspire their wellbeing by empowering them as problem-solvers in today’s uncertain world.
Be the one who sets up an eco-social innovation hub for them, building the skills and mindset that they need as global citizens solving the Sustainable Development Goals at a local level in their communities.
I’ll be running my learn to move mountains® hub training programme starting online on the 16th April, which gives you everything you need to set up a hub in your community, empowering kids and young people to be agents of change.
It is an online programme which you can join live or listen to the recording so that you can catch-up around your schedule.
Read all about the programme here and sign up today!
It’s shaped from over 20 years of expertise in social change, from working at all levels across sectors to make real change happen.
"If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it's not." Elon Musk
Be the role model, breaking your rules on what is and isn’t possible. Make some space for creativity and innovation within yourself, and lead the way for others.
#flowinaction #wcid #creativity #ideas #innovation #resilience #grit #changemakers #agentsofchange
As a purpose-driven adventurer intent on making positive impact, you need a resilience and wellbeing toolkit so that you can flourish personally and professionally, making change happen in ways that are meaningful to you.
If you are studying or starting your eco-social innovation, sustainability or -preneurship journey, then sign up for this 3-day summer camp today.
Find out more https://www.flowinaction.org/summercamp and sign up!
#agentsofchange #adventurers #creativity #ideas #innovation #resilience #grit #wellbeing #changemakers #entrepreneur #socinn #socent
Get your kids ages 8-12 years signed up for my next workshop on 21st April in Geneva Soft-Space
It is also the UN's first official World Creativity & Innovation Day! Hurray!
We are going to be ROCKING IT as inventors and innovators - agents of change saving the planet!
Every kid's imagination and ideas matter as we learn to move mountains using our problem-solving creativity.
We'll be playing with ideas and dreaming big about solving big sustainability challenges, riffing and mashing-up solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Booking in advance is required so email email@example.com to sign your kids up today!
#agentsofchange #wcid #creativity #innovation #wellbeing #resilience #happiness #grit
How would you rate your wellbeing?
As someone with a social mission, your ‘emotional contract’ with your work motivates you to take one more step each day.
However, because your life’s purpose is deeply personal, it can be hard to get started and expose your ideas to criticism; and because you want to make extraordinary impact, there are times when you may become inert and disheartened by the scale of the task around you.
Conversely, we may also take everything on, allowing ourselves to get distracted from our real goals so that we can stay safe, even if it’s in safe discomfort.
Another tried and tested version of not looking after our wellbeing, is to take everything on and ‘burn out’ as we strive to make the most impact that we can.
You might be brilliant at recognising other people’s capacity to make social change happen but struggle to recognise your own extraordinary contribution each day, as you use your strengths and skills to take action in ways that are meaningful to you.
Being a resilient, happy agent of change
Being a resilient agent of change, is not about being ‘tough’ and putting up with things that make you unhappy. Instead, resilience is about living from a place of knowing who you are, celebrating your unique blend of self and drawing on all of this so that you can adapt to and overcome challenges.
Resilience is a fundamental part of your wellbeing. It is your core of creativity, joy, adaptability and connection to the world.
To quote Diane Coutu:
“Resilient people…possess three characteristics: a staunch acceptance of reality; a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful; and an uncanny ability to improvise.” How Resilience Works, Diane L Coutu. Harvard Business Review, May 2002
What are you putting up with that makes you unhappy?
Are you choosing overload? Are you overwhelmed and disheartened?
All of these things get in the way of you achieving your purpose - to make change happen!
In today's uncertain world, more than ever, you need to care for your wellbeing so that you can keep caring for others too. You need to build that connection to your resilience.
Start your wellbeing journey by seeing things as they really are
When you look at the blueprint of your everyday life, without judgement or self-policing, what is making you happy and fulfilled and what is getting in the way of your wellbeing?
The table below might seem trivial (you can download it as a PDF here), but if you have to think hard for more than a minute or two, about responses to the statements then press the pause button.
Ask yourself why you're struggling to respond. If you think, "I'm too busy to think about it right now," then that is an answer in itself - how separate are you from the things that make you happy that responses don't pour out of you.
If you are truly flourishing as you are, then use your responses as a way of celebrating. We need to celebrate happiness more often!
If your responses opened up a need to be more connected to your wellbeing, then get in touch. If you find yourself saying, “I should be happy but…”, then get in touch. If you need some help with decisions you know that you need to make, then get in touch.
We can find your way forward together with 1-1 coaching online or face-to-face in Geneva or the Swiss mountains.
Start with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
#wellbeing #resilience #agentsofchange #sdg3 #whocaresforthecarers #perma #grit #liveyourpassion #changemakers #socinn #socent
Why bother with hope?
Being hopeful is a key factor in wellbeing. Plus…
“Researchers have found that students who are high in hope have greater academic success, stronger friendships, and demonstrate more creativity and better problem-solving They also have lower levels of depression and anxiety and are less likely to drop out from school.” 
Make space for far-fetched ideas
Inspire hope in young people by getting them to have far-fetched ideas to change the world and save the planet.
“Hope arises in dire circumstances in which people fear the worst yet yearn for better…Hope creates the urge to draw on one’s own capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around.”
Before the innovation comes the invention. Before the invention comes the ideas.
We need every young person to know that having far-fetched ideas is the starting point of taking action to halt the current zero-sum game for people and planet.
Their hope starts with their creativity.
Global Citizens – The class of 2018
The GenZ young people that I talk to, as well as the Millennials, see themselves as ‘humans without geographic boundaries’ - a new era of global citizens wanting to take action on climate change, world peace and ending poverty.
We need our young people to be hopeful in their own capacity…not for someone else to swoop-in to save the day, but in their own capacity to take action for positive change, within their lives and communities.
NB: Do Things for Others sits in first place as Action for Happiness’ 10 Keys to Happier Living
What can you do on Happiness Day to inspire hope?
Celebrate every young person, regardless of academic ability, as an agent of change.
Appoint each one as an innovator able to save the world by taking action through their unique creativity and strengths.
Round off your Happiness Day by celebrating Hope as a character strength that every one of them has as a community of global citizens.
Wishing you a joyful, hopeful, awe-filled Happiness Day!
 Barbara L. Friedrickson
#flowinaction #creativity #hope #resilience #grit #wellbeing #youth #innovation #entrepreneurmindset #growthmindset #sdg3
Someone asked me this week why I focus on getting people, especially young people, to play with ideas.
(Each week I include an Ideas Practice connecting to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the e-news that goes out. Sign up on the Home Page to receive it.)
It is a key part of my practice because it is a ‘change-maker space’ for building resilience, the capacity to adapt to challenges and continue to move forward in life.
In this space with me, everybody gets to build the ingredients that go into being resilient because everybody gets to play.
Why do I care about kids being resilient?
Because it is an essential part of their wellbeing, as well as the personal life-skills that they need to take action in making positive change happen.
…and we need GenZ to take action more than ever!
Giving them to passion to achieve the SDGs using their creativity, connects to a profound sense of their purpose in their lives.
Take 3 ingredients
Here are three of the ingredients that increase resilience; they are also character strengths that play a role in wellbeing.
> Empathy – Defined as the ability to understand and share other people’s feelings, we connect by exploring their everyday experiences and other people might be experiencing those things too.
> Risk-taking – When we play, we are adventurers and adventurous in our thinking and actions; we take incredible risks, adapting as we go and picking ourselves up when things don’t go to plan.
> Flexible Thinking – We change perspective, choosing new ways to see challenges, making sure that we recognise challenges as events that are ‘specific, external and temporary’ rather than down to who we are.
Play, play, play
And so, we play within our ethical framework: freestyling, iterating, dreaming up the seemingly impossible, saying the simple obvious things too; gently building our resilience, ready to adapt as we go.
We play as equals in our creativity, creating a prism of insights where everyone’s voice matters, because in that ‘space between’ the rules, is exactly where we will find our courage to do something different. And that something different, might be the very thing that changes everything.
To quote Picasso, “I start with an idea and then it becomes something else.”
It is breath-taking to watch the alchemy at work when young people are in this space. I see their joy and it is contagious.
Because of these resilient agents of change, I am hopeful for the world we are in.
 Reivich, K., 2003. The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles. Crown Publishing Group.
 Zolli, A., 2013. Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Business Plus
#flowinaction #flow #resilience #grit #wellbeing #innovators #entrepreneurs #growthmindset #sdg3 #adventurers #ideas #creativity #empathy
Class E Lemania-Verbier International School were totally rocking it yesterday building their first prototype designs for their water carry on the mountain on World Water Day 22nd March.
They were turning the incredible ideas that they have been working on into a miniature maquette to test what worked and to refine the design. Water proof testing was carried out successfully! Mostly!
Maannnn, these kids are funny. Audacious ideas, collaborating to make them real, teamwork, questions, laughter, noisy creativity...and like meercats at the mention of chocolate! I can confirm there is no limit to the chocolate that they can eat.
Super proud of these resilient adventurous agents of change.
#agentsofchange #resilience #grit #wellbeing #hope #purposedriven#ideas #innovators #entrepreneurs
Not to be outshone, Class F at Lemania-Verbier International School also totally rocked it yesterday building their prototypes of their World Water Day - Water Carry designs.
We put on some tunes, tried to ignore the smell from the sour milk bottle that was part of the recyclable materials we were using and got on with creating.
With one man missing, Team Fearless dug deep and came up with the goods!
Warning to parents of Team Snowboard Survival...you may find some of your mountain kit has been 'borrowed' and turned into the larger prototype during the next couple of weeks!
...and Team Bike Magicians' excellent design passed the water proofing test!
Fantastic, ambitious, practical ideas turned into prototypes. These young people are full of imagination, they are risk-takers and adventurous problem-solvers.
They make me smile, smile, smile and I'm very proud of them.
#flowinaction #agentsofchange #creativity #ideas #resilience #grit #wellbeing #innovators #entrepreneurs #changemakers #adventurers #happiness
Why do I do what I do?
I don’t have a daughter, so instead for my niece and every girl and woman I work with, as the spoken word poet Sarah Kay says, “the first time she realises that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure that she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself…”
That is why I do what I do. Make the playing field level, where we look after each other.
Because I want her to know herself early in life, to know how to be independent and interdependent.
I want her to cherish and know and nurture her own heart and soul in the first instance, rather than seeking that affirmation from someone else who doesn’t know who they are, let alone her.
I want to make a space in the world for her to belong, not to fit in…
A space where she never has the wall beside her head punched by a man in a rage, or is bullied to breaking by a woman boss who is jealous of her untameable spirit.
A space, where she never is grabbed by the throat in a night club and held backwards over a balcony by a guy before he spits in her face, because she stepped on his foot by accident.
Where she gets given a job on her merits, not because the guy wants to find out if she is wearing stockings under her skirt; or doesn’t want to give her the job because she is too pretty and might distract the serious team players.
...and the worse things, I never, never want those to happen to her.
I never want her to settle for someone less than her equal because she doesn’t know herself. I want her to shine like an exploding comet, living full of open hearted delight, dancing everyday like she has tail feathers.
I do what I do, so that the world will be fairer, safer and she will know that all around her are people who are ‘for’ her and there for her.
When she falls, I want her to know it’s a moment in time and that she can pick herself up and move forward.
I want her to know how to trust herself, especially during these tender years ahead, when the voices around her will slice and dice with their judgements.
More than anything, I want her to know how to trust love as a power unequalled in measure by anything else in the Universe, so that when people look in her eyes they fall in when she smiles.
I want her to be all of exactly who she is.
#iwd2018 #flowinaction #creativity #resilience #wellbeing
Today, choose to shatter the myth you tell yourself, the one where you say, “I’m nothing special! How can I have impact?”
You are unprecedented. You were not born to fit in.
Fitting in means that you have to diminish yourself in some way to conform to someone else’s rules. You belong to the tribe that crosses boundaries to live their purpose.
You move mountains simply by being yourself and by using your unique creativity to find answers.
This is how you make impact in ways that are meaningful to you.
Becoming present to your unique perspective, your brand of magic, tunes you into knowing how to find the answers.
It tunes you into your immense capacity to create solutions. It is an approach to life and taking action.
You own your fulfilment because you are acting from the space of your creativity and also are open to learning more.
Make today, a day of coming home to yourself, which brings me to John O Donohue's poem, To Come Home To Yourself:
"May all that is unforgiven in you
May your fears yield
Their deepest tranquilities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love."
Today, 8th March is International Women’s Day.
This year’s theme is #pressforprogress and focuses on whole communities coming together to be gender inclusive.
It is an incredible opportunity for all of us to create a level-playing by playing with ideas, to think about ways to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 – Gender Equality – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Create a new normal using this free disruptive innovation activity.
This Ideas to Innovation Practice guides you – or give it direct to the people around you - through an Innovation Forecast.
The activity is set in 2030 and is based on the assumption that we have achieved all of the SDG#5 targets on gender equality.
Given that is only 12 years away, already a fresh set of perspectives start to disrupt our current status quo thinking.
Then, when you ask for ideas on how we get there, how we achieve those targets without harm to people or planet, you open the space for solutions.
Why this way? It is a gender-neutral space: all ideas count, all voices count, listening respectfully to each other matters – women, girls, men and boys are all part of the solution.
How does it have positive impact? By playing with ideas from this strategic perspective of ‘a problem solved’ each person is in a safe space to empathise with the bigger issues through the reverse engineering.
What happens next? When you connect to empathy points, you’re opening up awareness and exploration. It gives young people breathing room to be researchers within themselves and what they care about, as well as to connect to turning their solutions into reality. Often, they start with big statements – some of which have positive intent but are based on ill-informed opinions.
With this Women’s Day Innovation Forecast, you will stir up people’s thinking, whether you do it for 5 minutes or over a period of days. The more often you do it though, the better the iterative effect of refining solutions and lasering in from a high-level to what can be done in the here-and-now of a community.
This article from Anna Leach on the SDGs in 2015 is excellent, and a specific line stands out for me, “Girls should be viewed as agents of change and not as beneficiaries…”
Use the Innovation Forecast activity to empower all children, youth and adults as agents of change in your community, give each one of them the space to be part of the solution.
You will be building their wellbeing, as well as equipping them with the communication, collaborative and thinking skills that they need to flourish in everyday life.
#resilience #grit #wellbeing #innovators #entrepreneurs
We can feel awe in everyday life, as well as in the extraordinary.
I experienced it this morning when I was out having a walk. After days of monochrome, it is a jaw-droppingly beautiful, bluebird day. And, I am filled with awe. Breathing in awe. Finding stillness. All my senses opening up to the sunshine.
I wasn’t unhappy when I left the house, but I’m definitely happier as I slow down and allow myself to take in everything around me.
Awe as a Trigger for Sustainable Action
A key trigger for feeling awe is being in nature, exploring it, watching it, learning about it.
Surely then, creating opportunities for young people to feel more awe by connecting to Nature, is a crucial part of empowering them as agents of change, able to take action to solve sustainability challenges.
Why? Because it builds the point of empathy that they are part of an ecosystem, not separate from it. It connects them to their creativity as they explore the phenomenal interconnectedness of the world around them, inspiring them to be problem-solvers.
How can you build more awe on Happiness Day?
I create ‘change-maker spaces’ where I get children and young people to play with ideas, taking a challenge from one of the Sustainable Development Goals and exploring how to solve it with them.
As they research, I’m getting them to connect to awe, to be amazed at the elegant solutions that Nature already has in place and getting them to use all of this to inspire their innovative problem-solving.
For example, during my learn to move mountains® workshop on 21st February at Soft-Space Geneva, the children explored filter feeders – sharks, bivalves, birds - before using this natural ‘technology’ to design innovative ocean-going, microplastic eating robots.
Here’s how you can do the same, connecting to awe to build a happier community of change-makers:
A happier Happiness Day…and beyond
Experiencing awe then, allows us as individuals to feel more positive emotions. Not least, I think, because using it in the context above also inspires hope – another of the top 10 emotions - that we can take positive, affirmative action for the planet.
Protecting the planet is to be our best as humans and we need to give young people hope that they can and do have a positive impact.
Studies have also shown that experiencing awe, prompts greater kindness and “leads people to cooperate, share resources, and sacrifice for others, all of which are requirements for our collective life.”
When we help others, we feel happier. It is an ingredient in our own fulfilment. Action for Happiness identifies “Do Something For Others” as one of its 10 Steps for Happier Living.
Making awe the lens that you look through, placing each of the unique humans that you are with into the global ecosystem, opens up a sense of vastness and value for their problem-solving creativity.
#awe #wellbeing #agentsofchange #changemakers #innovators #play #ideas #globalcitizens #entrepreneurs #sdg3 #happiness #happinessday #natureistheanswer #empathy
Are you one of the purpose-people who doesn’t take good care of their wellbeing?
Well, in sixteen days, on 20th March, it’s International Day of Happiness and my invitation to you is that you start taking real care of your wellbeing and allow yourself to be truly, without a shadow of a doubt, overflowing with happiness on that day.
Why? Because as an agent of change, you are a role-model of hope, optimism and living a life of fulfilment.
If you, as a revolutionary advocating for others to lead flourishing lives and protecting the planet, don’t know how to create that life for yourself then how will you truly lead the way?
Break the rules keeping you stuck
When there is so much going on the world, maybe you’ve made a pact with yourself, “I can’t be truly happy until I’ve saved the world.”
Often, as agents of change, we fall into the trap of expressing our compassion through fear-based actions, staying in jobs, roles and relationships that are long over-due their sell-by date!
Sometimes, we harden our hearts and lose track of living our life values in the everyday. Maybe, we feel compelled to burn-out to show some impact, to demonstrate that we acted.
We act in these disempowering ways with so much positive intent, but we actually limit our capacity to make good change happen around us when we act from this space.
These rules are made to be broken. After all, you are a warrior of light.
You are unprecedented
Or maybe, you lost track of what actually makes you happy? Maybe you never really knew? Maybe you are still thinking that it’s someone else’s responsibility to make you happy, to rescue you?
As a rule-breaker and a change-maker, your first commitment is to know yourself, to own yourself as a whole person, to recognise and celebrate that you are unprecedented.
There has NEVER been anyone like you before this moment and there never will be again. You are a unique blend of you-ness.
For every moment on this planet, be ‘flow in action’ - the pure energy of creating, because your creativity is the gateway to living your life purpose.
Start owning your happiness
It is time to take a new perspective. In the exquisite words of Martha Postlewaite’s poem, Clearing:
“Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worth
It’s time to create a clearing and discover, perhaps for the first time, what actually makes you happy. Then, ask yourself how you can DO more of that every day.
How happy will you allow yourself to be on International Day of Happiness?
How will you overflow with joy by taking back ownership of your everyday happiness, as your unprecedented self?
Living your flourishing life does not mean that you have abandoned compassion for ‘this world so worth of rescue’ – it’s the door that you open from the inside to make more and lasting change.
I Am Unprecedented® #flowinaction #wellbeing #sdg3 #resilience #grit #changemaker #purposedriven #happiness #joy
This half term in my Agents of Change Programme at Lemania-Verbier International School, my students in Class E and F are focusing on World Water Day 22nd March, to continue their understanding around sustainability and global citizenship.
I have set them the challenge of designing a water carry that they will put to the test on the 22nd March on the mountain, as they walk from Ruinettes to La Chaux and back again.
World Water Day connects to Sustainable Development Goal #6 which sets out targets for all people to have access to water and sanitation. Water poverty is a growing issue globally and with mountains playing a key role in our water ecosystems, we need to take action to protect them.
Additionally, WHO, the UN and other organisations such as WaterAid, indicate the nearly 1 billion people – mainly women and children – still must walk a minimum of 6km daily to collect water for drinking, cleaning and washing. Time spent collecting water also means it is often impossible to school or work, keeping people trapped in the cycle of poverty.
Class E and F’s walk and water carry experience equates to a distance similar to the typical 6km walked and they will collect 20 litres of water per team – although the norm in a developing country is 20 litres per person - and carry this back to the starting point. (They will NOT be expected to drink the water that they have collected.)
I'm delighted that Cherries from Cherries Walks will also accompany us to take the students through a water collection activity which builds their understanding of the mountain and its water systems.
Last week, students started to explore the challenge by coming up with ideas for their water carry. We will be refining these ideas in class, building a miniature prototype from recyclable materials and putting together their full size prototype to be tested on the day.
This way of working with the students, builds their thinking skills as they design within the parameters of the challenge, encouraging them to collaborate. It is also an opportunity for them to raise awareness within the community of World Water Day, giving them a sense of purpose through their own creativity.
I love working in this way to build their resilience and entrepreneurial mind-set. Each group is collaborating to create their prototype and on the day, it is not about a winning concept but about adapting to the challenge in the moment, reframing failure into reorganisation as invariably the prototypes being tested react to the conditions!
#resilience #grit #wellbeing #creativity #innovation #entrepreneurs #adventures #agentsofchange #sdg6 #worldwaterday2018
We dreamed big, in English and French, with ideas for cleaning the oceans of microplastics at the learn to move mountains workshop on 21st February @Soft-Space in Geneva.
From ‘Flamotrash’ to the ‘Clean-o-rator’, ‘Poisson Man’ to ‘The Water Walker’ and ‘Robot Fish’ to ‘Pent-o-Pus’, the ideas from the children at the learn to move mountains® workshop last week were phenomenal.
We took Sustainable Development Goal #14 as our inspiration, valuing each person’s imagination and creativity, as we played with ideas to solve the specific challenge of cleaning up microplastics.
There is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of microplastics – pieces of 5mm or less - in our oceans and water systems. Explore this sustainability issue for yourself through the links below.
What the experts said
I shared the children’s ideas and prototype descriptions with Prof. Jonathan Rossiter, Professor of Robotics at Bristol University, whose team is doing innovative work on robots cleaning up oil pollutants in the oceans. See his TED talk.
“I am so impressed! They have come up with some amazing ideas which are at the cutting edge of technology.
They have hit upon some pressing questions…please congratulate the children for doing a great job. Stretching the imagination and challenging conventional wisdom like this is what scientists and engineers do every day. It's so enjoyable and that's how the next generation will be able to solve tough scientific challenges like this.”
I also shared the children’s work with Keith Tuffley, Founder of Neuw.com, sustainability advocate, polar explorer, Board Member of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and environmental entrepreneur.
“Wow these are fantastic. What great ideas - well thought through, inspiring, and exciting. And I love the videos with the explanations and presentations. The best ideas come from young people! Keep them flowing, so we can save our planet.”
All children have the capacity to be agents of change today
It always amazes and inspires me, seeing the enormous capacity of children and young people as they play in this ‘change-maker’ space, using design and innovation thinking to develop resilience, wellbeing and life-skills; and connecting to a sense of purpose and hope about using their creativity to make positive change happen.
Get in touch
We are just working on the dates of our next workshops in partnership with SoftWeb in Geneva. We also deliver on-site in your location, so get in touch to explore how we can work together with an email to email@example.com
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#flowinaction #agentsofchange #resilience #grit #wellbeing #sdg3 #perma #innovation #entrepreneurs #children #changemakers #globalcitizens #bethechange
20th March is International Day of Happiness.
With a rise in children’s mental health and wellbeing issues globally, it’s an important day to explore and build skills that promote flourishing lives.
It is a real opportunity, not to do a ‘Disney’ moment of superficial glitteriness, but instead to connect children and young people to thinking about what actually makes them happy.
What is your list of ten everyday things that make you happy?
If you’re not sure, then start making that list right now!
Create this space using the free ideas to innovation activity available in this week’s e-news. Sign up on the home page if you haven’t already.
Why this activity? Focusing on them opens up the space for you to choose to do more of these things. If you don’t know what they are, you won’t know what to do more of. Knowing empowers you to consciously take action.
How does it have impact? It is gender-neutral and creates a level-playing field for everyone to celebrate what makes them happy.
What happens next? When you focus on doing more of what makes you happy, you open up a goal-setting space…but a really cool one that you will feel more and more benefit from each day. Being happy is about flourishing in every day, facing challenges with a more tools to help you adapt.
In Positive Education, there is a proven correlation between increased wellbeing and better academic results for young people. If you care about equipping them with the skills to be the change-makers of the 21st Century then make International Happiness Day a watershed moment in empowering young people.
#resilience #wellbeing #grit #sdg3 #creativity #mindfulness #happiness #flowinaction