A Song For My Mum

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IMG_3181It has not been an easy year for my mother. For many people it has been difficult. While our family comes to terms with the loss of my brother, my mother is finding these days difficult, and so I asked Luigi to sing for her when I returned to Glasgow.

Luigi is the head chef at the Val Doro Restaurant, which is the oldest chippie in Glasgow. It has been in his family for over 80 years, and in operation since the late 1870’s. An institution. I’m convinced that Glasgow wouldn’t be the same without it.

IMG_3182It is a classic chippie. I took this photo when I was running the Glasgow leg. There were less people there the day I dropped by and asked Luigi to sing a song for my Mum.

It would be easy to draw a comparison to some British comedy tv shows, but I won’t. Luigi has a heart of gold. Francis who is the sous chef on shift is every bit as diligent, taking care with the deep fry while Luigi sings.

Make yourself a cup of tea Mum, and enjoy Luigi singing especially for you.


Thunderbirds Are Go!

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Thunderbirds-are-goOk, well maybe it isn’t Thunderbirds, but with about as much energy and excitement, I am delighted to announce that the journey continues tomorrow departing Seoul bound for Glasgow.

There have been more delays and challenges along the way than maybe I care to remember, but also many lessons from those situations. I really need to document all of that to share.

Importantly, this is coming together and the stunt is making sense to frame the Design Forum in 2015. The Design Forum will be a whole new challenge, and that is an opportunity for cooperation, collaboration and partnership for many. Please join us. We do need your help.

I especially want to thank my father who was the first person to support this initiative back in 2010, not because I primed him beforehand, but because he cared enough to act. He has continued to support me in more ways than anyone will ever know, and suffice to say without his help and advice I personally would never have come this far. Thanks Dad.

Make no mistake, we have a unique opportunity ahead of us. I hope this provides inspiration for many, and if the end of the year is looking bleak for whatever reason then please join us with optimism for 2015 as we stand in solidarity to make change for those most in need.

Many of you will know I am forging ahead to make this count as a tribute to my brother, Stephen who sadly died the previous week. This journey is about improving the delivery of child survival. If you would like to support the journey ahead with a small contribution of a couple of dollars before we roll into Christmas, please visit this link as well.

Thanks to all. BZ.

Terrible Tragedy

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Inscription on a bridge in Glasgow I found when running: “All greatness stands firm in the storm”

Glasgow has been devastated by a terrible accident where a lorry overturned and killed six people, injuring eight others.

It is a terrible incident to occur at any time, which is compounded by the proximity to Christmas when focus is so heavily set on family.

This news is troubling for anyone, and I think that the response in Sydney last week shows the extent of outpouring that will precipitate this tragedy.

My decision now is to determine the way forward:

  • Proceed to Glasgow as planned with an intention to run 28 December
  • Delay arrival to run on 31 December and bridge the New Year
  • Travel to another city in UK to run

I havent decided either way at this point, but welcome your input. What would you do? What is your advice?

A Glasgow Story

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The Val Doro Restaurant in Glasgow. Put it on the Bucket List...
The Val Doro Restaurant in Glasgow

An Australian walked into a deep-fried haggis cafe with a good friend from Sierra Leone… Aisha and I took a moment out from the Design Thinking work we were deeply engaged with in Glasgow, and went exploring the streets of Glasgow.

An unexpected surprise was found when we met Luigi, who taught us more than we needed to know about haggis, sold us some sickly-sweet but delicious deep-fried Mars Bars, and also sang for us.

He is an opera singer as well, and I suspect his life story is something to behold.

It is quite likely I will be dropping in to say hello once finishing the 24 km leg running around rain-soaked Glasgow very soon.

Deep-fried haggis and deep-fried Mars Bars.
Deep-fried haggis

In case you were wondering, this is what deep-fried haggis looks like, and it was very, very good. Best not to think about the beef lungs before dining.

Why Glasgow?

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At the Glasgow Olympic Games site with colleagues from Commonwealth Studies Conference
At the Glasgow Olympic Games site with colleagues during Commonwealth Studies Conference

Of all the cities in the UK, why on earth would I pick Glasgow? Why not London which is such a global hub with some key hospitals and organisations that have made enormous contribution to innovation, design and technology relating to child survival?

I had the chance to visit in 2013 as part of a Commonwealth Studies Conference. We had excellent access to this city which was a mercantile hub at the turn of the century, but fell into hard times as industry changed in UK. Today, it is a city that is rebuilding, and is strong like its people.

I was on the study tour with an eclectic assortment of leaders from across the Commonwealth. Three of the five countries with the largest proportion of child mortality are members of the Commonwealth and represented on the programme: India, Pakistan and Nigeria. Additionally, Sierra Leone is a Commonwealth member state with the highest rate of child mortality globally.

I was there not long after my brother was diagnosed with Leukaemia, and had just commencing his initial chemotherapy. I filmed the video below from Strathclyde University where we pad a tour through their research facility within the Public Health Department. Amazing people and exciting breakthroughs. It was stuff my brother would have loved, and taps into an important aspect of child survival which is combatting disease.

Strathclyde University is an old institution with impressive fresh thinking which is being recognised globally for their ability to steward entrepreneurial and innovative thinking. Additionally, Glasgow boasts a strong tech-med community with global reach. The answer to child survival is not going to be found in medicine, but public health is a broader discipline which probably bests describes the arena where the question: “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?” can be mapped.

IMG_4813The conversation will unfold in London before leaving the UK in April next year. Save The Children originates from London, and there are many best-practice hospitals in London that focus on child and maternal health. Additionally, London is a place where ideas thrive.

It is my intention to convene the Design Forum in Glasgow and London in April, straddling the Skoll World Forum to be held in Oxford. I attended the Skoll World Forum for many years in its early days since 2005 when it was free to attend by invitation. The conference has changed a lot since then, and has gained profile but maybe lost something by becoming a little exclusive in some regards.

Gathering people and coordinating the conversation for the Design Forum will be challenging, but is not impossible.

Design Thinking with colleagues in Oxford
Design Thinking with colleagues in Oxford

The Design Forum that will be held in UK will frame the conversation going forward after the initia hackathon which is to be held in Osaka in February, then a Design Forum in Port Moresby to get a better understanding of the problem itself.

Glasgow, Oxford and London will be important opportunities to bring important ideas into questioning ‘how might we’ improve the delivery of child survival. There is a lot of experience and workable ideas to benefit from. There is a lot of information. It won’t be easy, but it is important.

This is essentially why the running stunt is required. It is a very long way of going about building a conversation, and a way of threading together cities that otherwise have little in common of this issue of child survival. The discussions don’t have to be huge, but they will need to be effective. Making this happen will be the biggest challenge yet and will need the collaboration from many.