What’s The Plan, Stan?

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Matt with friends in Timor Leste
Matt with friends in Timor Leste

What’s the plan, Stan?” With these words, the familiar, raspy voice of one of my senior soldiers would ask what was happening next.

The radio squawked a low, crackly hum breaking the silence of the bush surrounding an unseen force of camouflaged men crouching patiently nearby. A dispassionate look on his face was challenged only by the steely glare of his eyes.

Rifle in hand, he looked relaxed, waiting for me to work out where the plan we just received was to take us next. Dragging back on a roll-your-own cigarette he held between his fingers, the lit end facing in toward his palm, he watched as I placed a map on a cleared space on the ground at the centre of the our small team that had gathered together.

That was then. An army works on command and control, orders and reports, and when it is at its best is like a finely-tuned machine with a mind of its own, responsive to any stimulus.

But this is now. The 10 City Bridge Run was a ridiculous stunt to frame a conversation that is shortly to follow. I ran 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries to gather attention so as to open this conversation asking “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

Unlike the army, there is no authority given for me to do this. I just made it up and did it. Much of the time I was making up the journey not long before taking the next step.

It was only made possible because of the support of a community which had joined in, each with their different reasons to see th quest arrive at its destination which is the Design Forum.

The 10 City Bridge Run is driven by passion, imagination, leadership, vision, inspiration, collaboration and trust. It might have seemed that the journey to date was a one-man journey, but in fact it was a collective effort.

More so, the Design Forum which follows beginning next week is all about collaborations and collective effort. Individuals provide a background to the focus on a community which grows in the centre of this picture. It’s about us.

Shortly, I will post my thoughts about how the Design Forum might unfold. And then together we will navigate the way forwards.

Who is ‘we’ exactly? The ‘we’ is the team that is making this happen. I am part of the team, and you can be too if you want, but I can’t make that decision for you.

This is an invitation for you to join that partnership, this collaboration, our community. Upend the M and me becomes we. But if you do join the team, I want you to know one thing. In as much as you might be looks to me for inspiration for the next steps that follow, I will just as likely be asking you how it should unfold by asking your thoughts to answer the challenge before us: “What’s the plan, Stan?”


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