What I Am Still In New York?

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IMG_3421It would be understandable that some people might be asking what am I still doing in New York now that I have completed the running stunt framing the 10 City Bridge Run. Or to put that another way, what happens now that the running is concluded?

It was my intention to have already left New York so as to travel to Melbourne where I need to spend some long-overdue time with my family in the wake of my brother’s death. It wasn’t my plan to be away this long.

There has been a delay, as if there weren’t enough delays already encountered with getting the 10 City Bridge Run to this point. Right now, I am waiting for the dispersement of funds raised during the final legs of the 10 City Bridge Run to be deposited into my bank account. The fundraising concluded on the evening of 1 January (US time), but the dispersement wasn’t put into effect until about 24 hours ago. Put simply, those funds are needed to enable me to take the next steps, which includes leaving New York. In many respects, and in a very real sense, I am stuck until that money clears.

IMG_3493But just as delay and obstacle encountered during the running stunt of the 10 City Bridge Run gave rise to opportunity in unexpected ways, I am likely to return to Australia a little later than anticipated again, and travelling via a circuitous route that goes via Osaka and Seoul.

One reason for the extended route home is that it is cheaper. It actually works out cheaper (and less painful in terms of flying hours) to travel with a broken journey via Asia. The cost is slightly less than a single flight from New York to Australia.

How this opportunity to travel via Asia to Australia rather than going direct from New York came about was trying to resolve how I might attend a scheduled appointment I have in Seoul on 21 January. Additionally, my concern was how to best coordinate planning for the first of the Design Forum to be held in Osaka during the period 10-12 February 2015.

IMG_3589Talking about something as a foreigner to that city might sound interesting, but it needs to be followed up with credible action for people to take you seriously. Having the opportunity to return to Osaka for a couple of days allows a requisite degree of consent and consensus from the host organisation in Osaka. It would be entirely unreasonable to fire off a couple of emails and expect for things to fall into place.

I will fly to Seoul after Osaka, which will be an opportunity to build some interest among possible satellite organisations who could participate in the first Design Forum from a location other than Osaka. Having one organisation agree to participate creates a model for others to follow.

Seoul is also the location for the final Design Forum, and so provides an opportunity for meaningful discussions around what might be possible and what might be needed to make the possible happen.

This first Design Forum is important to build momentum and a sense of identity for the conversation that follows. In the coming days, I will frame my vision of what that might look like, and welcome your involvement, steering and participation to make it a good event.

My friend Mary raised an idea a few weeks ago which was to explore ways of schools getting involved in the Design Forum. I think her idea is brilliant, and we are looking for other opportunities like that to expand and grow the opportunity for the Design Forum as a coherent and scalable conversation to address the important question driving this process asking: “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

In the meantime, I have very cheap digs at an idiosyncratic New York flop-house, and will be using the few days I have remaining in the city to build support here and other cities as we move forward towards achieving this epic quest.

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