Happenstance: Then There Were Ten

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With Ellie at Oxford in 2013
With Ellie at Oxford in 2013

It was when I was in Osaka last October after completing the fourth leg of the 10 City Bridge Run that I realised the plan had to change.

Up until that time, a singular Design Forum was scheduled for the end of the journey in Seoul. The fourth leg I referred to above was part of an epic quest running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 counties as a stunt to open a conversation asking “how might we use our networks to influence the delivery of child survival?”

It was a journey fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. Getting it started was hard enough, but at that point in Osaka, now that I had began, I found that my capacity to engage effectively on the issue while running was limited. And I knew the conversation was huge. Enormous. Not impossible, but tremendously big.

imageI thought back to some of the earlier difficulties since I committed to the task in 2010. A crowdfunding effort commenced and fell slightly short of the sum required to pay for the round-the-world plane fare to undertake this epic quest which had been called the 10 City Bridge Run. Departure was delayed until sufficient funds were gathered, injuries followed, more delays, another crowdfunding attempt in 2012 which was successful but then thwarted with a badly torn calf muscle. Even though bad, those things were happenstance.

During this time, life continued on, winding and wending its way, day by hour by week by month by year. Time marches on and waits for no man, so says the idiom.

Many supporters remained a source of amazing encouragement. A “how’s it going?” here, a “have you been training much?” there. We underestimate the significant of the quiet word of encouragement like this. Those small things in effect became the resin I needed to stick to the task.

Then in 2013, happenstance brought a chance to recommit publicly while on a leadership forum focused on the Commonwealth. Not only an opportunity to renew this commitment, but a realisation of the importance the Commonwealth brings to this discussion. You can see my good friend Ellie encouraging me to put it out there in the photo above.

Look inside...
Look inside…

Happenstance. The insight which this blog refers to came one morning in Osaka in October 2014 while trying to once again figure out my schedule. I realised that time was a resource we needed to draw upon for this conversation. Not necessarily more time, but to take more time ourselves. It would take more than one meeting in Seoul. The afternoon of that insight, I was visiting the Osaka Innovation Hub. I had searched some places I wanted to meet with on the Internet, and other than that had little idea of who I was meeting.

Happenstance is the collision of preparedness with opportunity. Meeting with key staff in Osaka, I learnt of their HackOsaka being held on 10 February 2015. Right then, I knew that would be the start point for the Design Forum, and that there would need to be not one but ten conversations.

It will be a surreal feeling when the Design Forum in Osaka comes around next week. You are welcome to join us too. Go on, partner with us in this conversation. Create your own happenstance by turning up.


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