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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Monday 18 June 2012


I'll be writing regularly to document my current trip in Australia over the next 2 weeks, working on Open Talent with Hanover in Melbourne. This is day 1 of the tour...

Arrivals are magical moments. The transition between different cultures, the movement over boundaries between worlds, the entry into a space where even the most mundane act is full of significance. I’ve spent Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday travelling to Singapore (great airport), Sydney (with posters of ‘come to Great Britain for great culture and great country’), and my final destination of Melbourne. It’s winter here – but it feels more like autumn with half-dressed tress waiting for a skinny dip of snow. Along the way I’ve watched far too much from a series of Homeland, scan read a dozen books and articles on innovation theory, written notes on various mad ideas to preserve the concept of Thinking Class travel, and spotted a wonderful advert in a toilet at Sydney airport for Mensheds Australia – who use the concept of men’s sheds to develop community spaces that support health and wellbeing.  Not sure what kind of space the female equivalent of that would be, but I liked the community focus of the concept and the way it was reconnecting public services with those who miss out.  Another Place to Open Talent.

I have always been thankful for working for the third sector during conversations at passport control and immigration, and landing in Australia was another one of those occasions.  After being pulled to one side, it felt certain that the man with rubber gloves who had swooped on me was about to conduct an unwanted inspection of at least my bags, if not more. I tried to explain that I was over to speak at an event organised ‘with the Brotherhood’ but that wasn’t the best way to lessen any suspicion until I stumbled to find the rest of the name - ‘of St Laurence…’ - and began to explain how Foyers operated.  It got me through unscathed.

Then the jet lag finally caught up with me, walking like a zombie round a shop across the road from my Melbourne apartment, searching  aimlessly for a distant memory of shopping ingredients as though the answer of life lay somewhere between a section of chillingly named ‘caged eggs’ and monster size celery.

I have taken a huge ‘to do list’ with me to Australia, but there is one main goal for being here: to fire the next stage of Open Talent, hammering out the tools that will sustain its impact both in Australia and at home.  Whatever it looked like might be in my bag at immigration, it’s the things inside my head and heart that pose the greatest challenge to the ecosystem.   The arrival of Open Talent is all about a revolution.  Expect the barricades of thought to be burning.

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