Life Bridge

Why Continue?

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IMG_3582It’s a binary choice.

Do or don’t do.

It is not a question of trying or not. That is a distraction, because the reality is that many things are exceptionally difficult for all sorts of reasons, and we must try in order to finally do.

I have felt the weighty obligation to those who have supported me to continue. My continuing is not transactional, but I am very aware of the responsibility I have to my supporters.

I suppose it might have been possible to shrug my shoulders in the past many years along this Quixotic journey and to say that I tried. I have helped crowdfund a promising book which was never delivered, and the would-be author wrote a note to say he was done trying. So I know what that feels like, that is I know what it feels like to be left with nothing.

And yes, there is risks involved in delivering a project. But I don’t think it is enough to pass this risk entirely on the consumer. In this case, I believe the consumer has every reasonable right to expect an outcome. The problem being in this case is that time has marched on a considerable distance beyond that which might have been anticipated.

So I made a choice to continue. That was a very early decision. The reason I thought it worth to continue was that the reason for championing this cause was important enough to invest my time into, even if that came at considerable inconvenience.

I have learnt an enormous amount. It has been a baptism of fire. Mostly I have learnt lessons about satisfying customer demand.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m picking up this conversation again here in the public domain through this blog. I made a short commentary of how the satisfaction of the book ‘Life Bridge’ is progressing.

Tomorrow I’ll write more about how I see that occurring. I am well past a point of managing expectations, and appreciate that most of these have been well and truly stretched to the point of disbelief.

Suffice to say three things, especially to my supporters.

Firstly, I apologise for the delay. I appreciate that there may be some disappointment which would be understandable.

Secondly, thank you. Thank you for your earlier trust and support. I write that in full knowledge some may be disappointed in the result to date.

And thirdly, I’m continuing. I’ll deliver. Late. It’s all on me.

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Life Bridge: true voyage of discovery

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This photo I took on the island of Bagabag back in 2011 out to sea from the north coast of PNG is what captures a 'Life Bridge' for me: the bond between a mother and her healthy child. That doesn't mean it will be in the book, and doesn't mean it is a standard by which to judge others. It is about your imagination and revealing your universe with its narrative about the importance of connection through a photo.
This photo I took on the island of Bagabag back in 2011 out to sea from the north coast of PNG is what captures a ‘Life Bridge’ for me: the bond between a mother and her healthy child. That doesn’t mean it will be in the book, and doesn’t mean it is a standard by which to judge others. It is about your imagination and revealing your universe with its narrative about the importance of connection through a photo.

The vision for the 10 City Bridge Run was ambitious. Ridiculously ambitious, but even though it is taking longer than first thought, I believe that delay is acceptable towards achieving a far better outcome and lasting legacy.

The initial concept from when it was first conceived in 2010 is unchanged. The execution has differed, but only in ways so as to improve the journey. There are three parts to that concept:

  1. Running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries as a stunt to open a conversation about improving child survival (completed successfully!)
  2. A Design Forum to address the conversation asking “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?” (commenced, in progress, culminating at the end of October 2015)
  3. A book with a working title ‘Life Bridge: the importance of connection’ which will feature 100 photos of human bridges to illustrate the importance of our connection which is necessary to both flourish and also to solve any problem

The concept for Life Bridge is simple enough. A human bridge might be a photo which would describe the importance of connection in the mind of the photographer, maybe in collaboration with the subjects. Each photo is a design project in its own right.

While the concept is simple, organising this task has taken time. It is a collaborative effort. Soon we will be underway.

I will be the first to admit that the delay in the book Life Bridge is unwelcome, but I also acknowledge that the space which has been created because of the time has helped to mature the concept defining the book. Presently, I see the curation, design and distribution all being events which will compliment and contribute towards the conversation that is unfolding through the Design Forum.

I just finished reading a book which I highly recommend by Alan Gregerman called “The Necessity of Strangers: the intriguing truth about insight, innovation and success.” He opens the book with a quote from Proust which succinctly frames the concept for Life Bridge:

“The only true voyage of discovery would not be to visit strange lands but to posses other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them holds, that each of them is.” 

The 10 City Bridge Run involved a journey, and through the Design Forum we are learning to see. And not just to see, but to do.

Life Bridge will be an important book. It is a call to action for all who read it, by being stimulated by the imaginations of the holders of one hundred universes. It will be beautifully published in Korea, and present itself as a fitting coffee table book, but one with a difference. My hope is that every time anyone reads Life Bridge, it will change the world beginning with the reader.

By way of thanks, I also wanted to clarify that everyone who has contributed to this journey will receive a copy cod this book. I don’t regard your engagement as transactional, but it is the tangible thing which many have effectively pre-purchased by supporting this journey. There is no more you need to contribute to receive the book. And thank you for your patience as we uncover the alchemy to weave together these one hundred universes seen through the eyes on another.

There is a catch…

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"Gentlemen, the March has begun!"
“Gentlemen, the March has begun!” (Photo credit: airborneshodan)

The journey begins at the end of March. It is ambitious, it is bold, it is workable.

But there is a catch. I need to pre-sell 30 hardcover copies of the book Life Bridge to ensure that I am not exposed to financial risk when I undertake this journey. I am contacting a broad network to seek their support, and anticipate receiving the requisite support before 11 March.

Please share this with someone you might know who could want to join the journey and support the project. Please see the YouTube clip describing the project, and visit the page where people can support this initiative at www.pozible.com/lifebridge.

They said it couldn’t be done. How often were they wrong?

Design Forum. 10 Cities. Free to Attend.

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Roman ForumRoman Forum, Rome
Roman ForumRoman Forum, Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concept to this 10 City Bridge Run is really starting to take shape, and I have some exciting news to share.

The good news is that what started as a concept over coffee with friends a little over two years ago is now about to go global, and all thanks to you.

Many of you have supported me by sponsoring the journey. The sponsorship has been pre-ordering a book called ‘Life Bridge’ that will feature 100 photos of human bridges. That is on track too, although I expect the book won’t be published until late February 2013. In the meantime, we have an intense journey ahead. You can just watch from the sidelines- that is fine too.

For those people who did support me, a big thank you once again. It is you who has made this possible. And there have been many other people out there who are helping me in other ways. People like Kelley, Jillian and Zipporah- you are not forgotten either. For all my supporters, a quick message. Every journey needs a passport, and this is no different. So this week I should be posting you your own 16 page passport which outlines what is happening on this journey. First I will be emailing to confirm your address, and then posting the letter.

This post is to briefly mention 10 Design Forum that will be convened in each city I visit. You can join in, and if fact it is free to attend. I still need some help to coordinate this, but I know that together that too is possible. Please visit the Eventbrite link here http://designforum.eventbrite.com.au to register. You can register for more than one city, and you can register friends as well. You can see the themes of the link as well.

This won’t be the last time I mention the Design Forum, and I also want to make sure I am not overloading the interwebs with too many posts. If you are not getting enough information, or if I didn’t make something clear enough, please let me know too.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Let’s get to work!

Methodology: How I See This Working

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The infant mortality rate in Africa is at 9% a...
The infant mortality rate in Africa is at 9% and child mortality under five years at 15%. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I filmed a short video while out doing 8 x 400 m sprint training on the weekend, and shared it here for you to understanding my methodology better.

Check out the video here, and the notes below amplify the message. Let me know if relating this story while I am out of breath between sprints is a distraction at all. I was hoping it added some authenticity to what I have been doing (albeit, would be good if I wasn’t so much gasping!)

Essentially, there are five parts to this journey to help alleviate child mortality:

Part 1: 10 City Bridge Run. The Run.

This is essentially a stunt. Running 10 sub-marathons of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries all inside of one month. Is it necessary? I think so. Is it possible? Only if it is funded through crowdfunding at www.pozible.com/lifebridge. Please don’t feel compelled to support me. I am not into guilt trips. If it doesn’t get funded I will have no option other than to close this down. A missed opportunity. We can do better than that.

Part 2: Outcome 1 – The book, ‘Life Bridge’.

This will be a beautifully produced photo-pictorial book with 100 photographs of human bridges. It is something we are going to create, and will tell a story of strength through connection.  More on that later.

Part 3: Outcome 2 – Design Forum to be held in each city I run.

This is perhaps the most important aspect of this project. To go and see, and to capture lessons and stories. The Design Forum won’t necessarily be huge. It is the conversation that is important. The conversation will continue long after the Design Forum is completed. Innovation as a process to help alleviate child mortality is what this is about, and the vehicle is a human bridge.

Part 4: Outcome 3 – 10 Tangible Ways To Make A Difference.

From the experience and contribution of ideas people will be making during the journey, especially through the Design Forum, a co-created list of 10 Tangible Ways To Make A Difference will be collated. I owe this suggestion to Charles Tsai, an impressive social entrepreneur from Canada who impact has been felt internationally.

Part 5: Outcome 4 – Three year Plan (2013-2015)

Another great social entrepreneur, Paul Polak, inspired this outcome through his book ‘Out of Poverty: what works when traditional approaches fail‘. Paul argues that working from three-year plans is most effective to create change. This will be the expression of the 10 Tangible Ways to Make A Difference into some measurable way that people can contribute in some form (not simply in money) to help alleviate child mortality.

There is by coincidence a three year window between now and 2015. How might this be used to help bridge the existing efforts with other people who might be able to do more but are not engaged? Worth examining further. I believe so.

I am not promising a silver bullet, nor I am suggesting that this effort will solve a problem where others have failed. We have all failed together. Looking after each other is all our responsibility.

Life Bridge is an aspirational project to inspire the capacity for change. I believe it will make a difference. I do need your support to make this work. I can’t do this on my own, and their is no intention for that to be the case either. Please join me on the journey through sponsoring me at www.pozible.com/lifebridge.

Do me a favour, and please forward and RT this link. I need you to step up. Please help.

20 Laps of Sydney Harbour Bridge: Training Run 24 August

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English: Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My training run for this Friday. 20 laps of Sydney Harbour Bridge = 24 km. Each lap is about 1.2 km, so the distance is pretty good.

Come and join me if you want- happy to walk a lap with you if you want to take it more gently, or just come and say hello from one of the ends of the bridge. If you want to run a couple of laps, or even just one (or two for the return trip), please leave a comment and I will make sure we meet up together. I will be running between 5 pm and 7 pm, and you will know where to find me…

I like running across the bridge. Great view. The foot traffic around that time might get a little busy, and I will just have to fit in with the crowd as best as I can if that is the case.

Rescheduled my training run of 24 km this week from today to Friday.

Check out a brief video talking about this run:

Coffee Free Friday?

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Please support me for the cost of a coffee on Friday!

Okay, maybe not go without coffee. I share your pain. But would you consider supporting me for the cost of a coffee in my crowdfunding project? I would love you to join the journey.

Check out my new video, but better still visit the Pozible site here at http://www.pozible.com/lifebridge and check out the right hand column.

On Friday, would you be open to supporting me for $4?

Go on, help make this journey possible and changing the narrative for child mortality.

…and could I ask one other thing too? Please ask those you are also having coffee with you support too. Yes, you can do it on your smartphone. And why wait for Friday? Thanks for your support!