Month: October 2014

50 hour challenge

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Mariko Kuribayashi jumping for joy with Jui PijaDa at the Global Launch on the Sydney Harbour BridgeI’m nominating you for the 50 Hour Challenge. Will you accept?

It doesn’t involve any ice or any buckets, and will only take seconds of your time.

The 50 Hour Challenge involves you forwarding this message to three of your friends.

This is about the 10 City Bridge Run, which is an epic journey involving a stunt running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries, to open a conversation asking: ‘how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?

You can read more, and also support this journey at www.igg.me/at/10citybridgerun.

Right now, I am seeking a little help from just over 50 ‘bridge builders’ to help cross the imagination gap by each contributing $1 for each kilometre I am running during the 10 City Bridge Run.

If ever this stunt had meaning, it is now. Less than 50 hours remain to successfully fund the remaining journey for the 10 City Bridge Run.

The 10 City Bridge Run is grounded in an idea that it is through the triumph of imagination that we are able to achieve new possibilities. Bill Shore in his 2010 book: “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men” describes a “narrow but vitally important space between the impractical and the impossible” which he calls the ‘imagination gap’. He writes:

The imagination gap is a place where hope lies waiting to be discovered, and cannot be extinguished once it has. Most failures in life are not failures of resources, or organisation, or strategy or discipline. They are failures of imagination.

All funds receive directly support the 10 City Bridge Run and the mission to improve the delivery of child survival through the running of the stunt itself, culminating in a series of Design Forum that will occur through 2015 to unpack this question of improving child survival. Supporters to the 10 City Bridge Run are in effect pre-purchasing a copy of the book ‘Life Bridge’ featuring a photo-essay of 100 photos of ‘human bridges’ that illustrates the importance of connection to design solutions to difficult problems such as improving child survival.

Please support this cause. Together, we can make a difference that matters by crossing the imagination gap.

Keep pushing and take some risks

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IMG_1864Getting closer to the last four legs of the 10 City Bridge Run has presented its own challenges. The cost of living and travel to UK, Canada and US are significantly higher than the Asian cities where most of my time has been spent to date.

By itself, that ought to not be cause for concern, except that I am travelling on a very tight budget. Extending myself increases risk, and to a point that is not acceptable.

My earlier intention was to travel through New York to run on UN Day, 24 October. But it was a bridge too far, as it were. On 22 October this week, I was clear this wasn’t going to happen.

I held on to the possibility of achieving this plan of running in New York as scheduled until the afternoon before the day I was due to travel. The last safe moment. By then, it was clear that not only was I not going to make it to New York on 24 October, but because that is where my focus had been my preparedness for a contingency was only lightly developed.

There have been enough delays since 2010 with faltering attempts to start the journey. I was well aware of that. This was a stunt to inspire the imagination, not a catastrophe.

I don’t propose to apologise for a changing schedule. Yes, there are ways this initiative could have been better executed. But guess, what? This is me..

I’m flying to Seoul tonight, arriving in time for UN Day, but arriving at the airport, I recognised I was not prepared to run. Physically I am good. But the preparation on the ground is not as it should be.

24 October had become a distraction. Yes, it is good for the narrative. But no one really gives a second thought to the date. I will use this opportunity to get better organised, connect with a wider network I have yet to engage.

Seoul is a great city to run in. Let’s go, get organised, and enjoy this run.

The Runners

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IMG_0261Filmed on the same location across different seasons, this really isn’t a film about running. It is a film about life.

I think we can all relate to this. You don’t need to run. You just need a heartbeat.

Stop and watch this tonight.

The inserted image was of two sisters in Port Moresby taken just before I took the first steps on this journey for the 10 City Bridge Run. Papua New Guinea is an amazing country for its diversity and beauty, but has struggled across the last 39 years in the face of corruption, exploitation from foreign ownership, compounding invidious conditions that have reinforced poverty that the country is striving to escape. It is likely that none of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will be achieved by Papua New Guinea before the end of 2015.

How much do we all take for granted? It would be nice if these sisters who live in a country rich with natural resources might enjoy the same opportunity as you and I.

Things Can Be Better

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IMG_0351This year in their Annual Letter, Bill and Melinda Gates included a short phrase which I think underpinned the whole of their document seeking the dispel three myths of development: “Things can be better.”

It was a clear signal of optimism, and the leadership Bill and Melinda Gates bring development is far and beyond the capacity that is afforded through their financial clout. Having money helps, but shaping the conversation through influence counts for much more.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Tony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, in a post recorded for the ‘A Promise Renewed Initiative’. You can see it below. It is only short and goes for less than two minutes.

Tony Lake is an interesting character. I have never met him, but would love to sit down over a meal if ever I had the opportunity. Search his name on wikipedia and you will see he has a very interesting past. Kudos to him for turning his energy to addressing the needs of those most in need.

His statement: “We gotta do better”.

These statements actually rely upon each other to be complete. They are almost the same message, but not quite. Without both of these, it is either a case of striving without a sense of what is possible, or a view of what could be without the driving motivation to act.

We are very lucky to have Bill and Melinda Gates and Tony Lake expressing so much passion for a worthy cause.

A Promise Renewed. Inspired already?

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IMG_0224Every bit counts. Really it does.

Is it just me, or does this message seem a little hollow?

Last year, a positive campaign was launched in partnership with UNICEF called ‘A Promise Renewed’. It resonates and is a strong message.

My concern is that corporate communications are often unintentionally sucking the life out of a human message by sanitising things to such a well-read script that there is little in the way of a sense of personal engagement with the person delivering the message.

Government and bureaucracy play an important role in addressing child survivial. Very important, and this should not be diminished. The problem I see with addressing child survival is that meaningful citizen-led initiatives are hard to come by. I am sure they are out there, and most probably go unseen because they are busier doing the work than pushing out well crafted videos.

The 10 City Bridge Run exists to amplify and improve upon efforts like this. Not to compete, and not to reinvent the wheel. But there is loads of potential that goes wanting that can be engaged through a wider citizen movement.

Watch this video, and ask yourself: what is good about this, and what can be improved? I would love to hear your thoughts.