Seeing the Possibilities

The 10 City Bridge Run is a citizen-led initiative which uses a stunt to open a conversation asking an important question:

“how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

All Greatness Stands Firm In The Storm
All Greatness Stands Firm In The Storm

The Power of the Imagination
So much of our lives we underestimate our ability to impact. This is for many reasons, but perhaps the two greatest are that we assume our ability away as being insignificant, and secondly that we don’t realise our potential through the power of our imagination.

What if contributing towards the big unmet challenges really was within our reach? Who are we cheating by not fulfilling our potential? This initiative focuses on a major problem of health affecting literally millions of people every year, mostly in places that we don’t know the names of, and involving people we will never meet.

I learnt a lot as I ran across the ten runs in the global endurance challenge which I called the 10 City Bridge Run. But now it is  time for this journey to step up to the next level, and consider the next steps ahead.

The Story.
The journey began in 2010 when Matt Jones, a soldier turned social entrepreneur, asked a question about child mortality. A plan was hatched: run 10 sub-marathons, each of 24 km, in 10 cities across 10 countries as a stunt to bring awareness to this conversation, culminating in a series of global Design Forum to occur throughout 2015.

The 10 City Bridge Run aims to use human-centred Design Thinking to resolve this challenge. Bill Gates recently said:

“I’m convinced that getting our brightest minds to focus on our biggest problems will save lives and make the world a better place.”

This epic journey commenced running the first leg in Port Moresby on 16 September 2014, and concluded the with the tenth city in New York on 3 January 2015.

Tony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, painted the pressing need for action recently in the 2013 ‘A Promise Renewed’ Progress Report. “There is no time to spare…The lives of nearly 35 million children are at stake.” “Each voice that speaks out against the death of a child is a reminder of unfulfilled promises and a call for urgent action.

At it’s core, this campaign is about raising global awareness to convene a conversation about improving the delivery of child survival. This involves four seemingly simple, yet complex, key ideas:

  • Design Thinking: ‘How Might We’. Read this blog from IDEO’s Tim Brown where he defines Design Thinking by explaining the term ‘how might we’.
  • Using Our Networks. Discussions about networks and collaboration has become almost cliche. Watch this prescient 2005 TED video where Clay Shirky explains how we can use our networks without regard for institutional models:

  • Improving Delivery. This report from McKinsey and Co provides one of the best overviews of what ‘delivery’ is about. This is important in relation to the context of the Design Forum.
  • Child Survival. The much-loved and avuncular Hans Rosling provides excellent information about child survival and why it is important. Let him explain it himself in this video below:

17 thoughts on “Seeing the Possibilities

    christopher copywriter said:
    September 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I think it’s awesome you seem to care sooo much for children of third word nations. Keep up the good fight!! Imagine if everybody cared about the inequality problems of our world – what a fine world we’d soon have. Not long now, we’re well on the way…


    Hans Rosling said:
    September 17, 2010 at 4:55 am

    I wish you good luck Matt.
    The seemingly impossible is indeed often possible, but be aware that the impossible is impossible. It takes a lot of wisdom to see the differance between the impossible and the seemingly impossible. We follow you with interest!
    Hans Rosling

      10citybridgerun said:
      September 17, 2010 at 8:16 am

      Thanks Hans- a huge encouragement to hear from you!
      The elementary distinction you provide (that some things are possible and some things are impossible) and shows that this is not just a simple word game.
      A welcome reminder from you that should throw a whole new perspective on those 1 billion who have no choice in the matter.
      Thanks for continuing to make the complex simple for better understanding!

      Pathfinder responded:
      October 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Hans, Four years after your earlier comment, this initiative is underway. It has begun with a stunt to open a conversation asking how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival. The stunt involves me running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 in 10 cities across 10 countries. I have complete six of the cities to date. The important part of the whole initiative is the conversation that emerges through a series of Design Forum planned for 2015.
      Thanks for your ongoing inspiration and simplification of the message.
      I’ll keep you posted as we start to get more involved about the substance to this initiative.

    October 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Matt don’t stop run for your life

      10citybridgerun said:
      October 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Phil! When are you back in Sydney? Would be great to have your help around the course!

    Amanda Mason-Jones said:
    December 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

    When you boil it down, there’s nothing more important than taking action to reduce preventable child mortality.
    Thanks for throwing your energy in the right direction.

      10citybridgerun said:
      December 17, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Thanks Amanda- great to spend some time to talk with you and Rebecca last week.

    John Shannon said:
    January 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    MDG goal certainly achievable. Loved the presentation at TED by Hans, put everything into perspective, and how important communication and education are. The one child per family rule in China seems harsh, but seeing how quickly the big bubble moved from “developing nations” to “western nations” was impressive for the worlds most populous nation. Thanks for your passion and putting the word into action.

      10citybridgerun said:
      January 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement John! Makes a big difference!

    Ginger said:
    May 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

    hi ,Matt .Greeting from China .After seeing you in person and reading some of your blogs ,I think I am getting to know more about what you are doing …That’s great!Good luck to you !

      Pathfinder said:
      May 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Ginger- hope you can help out more with the project soon!

    Inversion Tables said:
    September 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Awesome work Matt! I could barely run a block let alone countries…

    Roslyn said:
    August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Maybe every time you run across a bridge your supporters can pay a “Bridge Toll” and be rewarded with funky updates about the city or bridge. I am into the full exploitation of social media for this kind of thing 🙂 Could be fun will chat with you!! Ros

      Pathfinder said:
      August 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Great idea Ros! How can we talk more about this? Awesome idea! Let’s pick up the conversation!

    purity said:
    May 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    God will see u through keep walking never lose hope,

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