Fred Chaney

Other Mens’ Flowers

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The Hon. Fred Chaney AO presenting the Occasio...
The Hon. Fred Chaney AO

I was fortunate to spend some time with Fred Chaney over the last two years. He gave me wonderful advice, whether I wanted to hear it or not. That is the sign of someone who really cares- they take the time to tell you the truth, not just put sugar coating on everything.

One conversation he gave some clues about how to have impact which was profound advice. I summarise it by the expression ‘Other Mens’ Flowers’. Here is what it is about:

  • Other Mens’ Flowers: Use what others have produced as a foundation.
  • Find Fellow Nudgers: We are not in this alone. Collaborate.
  • Small evolutions: Big revolutions are actually rare. Focus on getting the small evolutions right.
  • Not random interventions: Focus. Stay focused.
  • What is the one big game changing idea?: What are you about?

Reflecting on this was on my mind over the last month as I reviewed the 10 City Bridge Run. I need your help to move forward. Please join with me as a ‘Fellow Nudger’ to help change the game and improve the lives of millions.


Prototype and reinvention = the freedom to fail expectations

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Team Australia Talk
Team Australia Talk

This morning at breakfast a friend David Greatorex who has considerable experience running marathons inside of 3 hours gave me some advice after hearing about my injury. “You know 25% of people who set out to run a marathon following a three month training program never start the race. Injury around the second month.”

John Best was the guest speaker at breakfast. Previously the team doctor to the Wallabies (Australian Rugby Union team). He spoke on ‘How we are wired and how can we function best?‘ Speaking about the highest level of sporting professionals, he mentioned the pressures of public scrutiny and need for acceptance which people respond to that are not altogether helpful. After a period of time, even the most valuable of trophies fade away…

David gave me some advice afterwards in relation to my endeavour to go running: “Those sportsmen almost have no choice. You do. Don’t be compelled to run because of what others expect.”

Fred Chaney is a mentor who has given me some of the best advice I have received. I know he would caution me against racing into something just for the sake of doing what I said I would. It is that pressure that I am feeling on myself at the moment.

Good design thinking emphasises the need for prototyping and reinvention. This requires the freedom to fail expectations of others in the pursuit of concepts that might work. This is different to perfectionism. It is about tolerating game-play and learning.

If I am serious about design as part of the 10 City Bridge Run, I think I do need to say that at present I have developed a design brief as a prototype that seeks the partnering and co-creation from others. My instinct is that the next month until the end of the year is best spent in opening this conversation of design, prototyping and partnerships. Maybe the optimal execution is to commence the run at the beginning of the new year. This is a process of raising awareness and learning- not a race to finish runs.

Let me fail your expectations, maybe failing my own expectations most significantly, of completing this run before the end of 2010. I think it calls for co-creation for more prototyping and reinvention before the project is ready to begin.