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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Sunday 27 April 2014

2021: a space for odyssey

By 2021, the first cohort of young people born in this millennium will reach their transition threshold. What we already know is that a significant number will not be in a position to harness their talents.  In the 21st century, we have become the social parent lacking the leadership skills to equip the generation growing up under our watch.  How do we create a different environment that enables all young people to thrive?   

We have a world of diminishing resources, we have an ageing population; we simply can’t afford not to have our main social asset – young people – fulfilling their full potential.  Nor can we pretend that their failure is just the fault of the individuals involved.  When our millennium turns 21 in 7 years time, it needs to face up to its responsibility as an adult by accepting the challenge to shape its own future. One in which all young people can be connected with their talent potential by the age of 21, and know where and how to take the next step in their life. A future where we begin to be more clever about what we invest in to make change happen throughout people’s lives. 

 Our millenium needs to make space for a new odyssey in thinking - by reimaginging the face and voice of charity.  They say charity begins at home; and perhaps the truth is that the home of our social challenges is reflected in the way that charity works.  Because charity is not always working as it could.  The type of charity that has to raise money by peddling stories of despair and competing against each other to support problems is no charity to human potential.  It’s a disadvantaging voice, locked in a narrative where we never learn how to bring about an end to the issues that charities are meant to resolve.   Too much charity in the 21st century is in danger of becoming like reality TV – you can’t always be sure what its authenticity is, the format is stale, and few people can be bothered to track what happens next when the audience has switched over to the next big thing. 

So what does the home of our charity need?  A refreshed vision:  clarity to look ahead to see what needs to be done to live a life that is more advantageous for more people; relentless energy to reach out to work with those who can best help our society achieve that change. It needs the courage to replace our trade in deficits and disadvantage with the ‘know how’ to transform talents.  Above all, it must mark a ‘shift’ in defining what we believe is possible, and take us on an epic journey to embrace how we can choose to live our lives.

On the 30th April, Foyer Federation will be celebrating its 21st birthday.  Among the memories, it will offer up a 7 year vision to create a different story for and with young people by 2021.  What chapters that story will contain, and how exciting the narrative might be, will depend on who wants to write its future.  I’m looking forward to finding out…

Create the future with me in a night of Taking Advantaged Thinking Action at The Cockpit, Marylebone, on 6th August at 7.30pm. Tickets now on sale HERE