“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
2020 has not been the year that any of us had wanted or planned. It has been distressing to see the impact of COVID-19 on so many lives and on our colleagues in health and other public services.
The immediate health crisis is only the tip of the iceberg; we haven’t seen such global social and economic dislocation since World War Two, and it will require all of our creativity and courage to respond.
Public innovation therefore has a critical role in both the crisis response and recovery.
We have been thinking hard about the role of States of Change in this moment. Over the last two months, we have run a dialogue series looking at everything from the need for a new social contract, the role of leadership, of futures thinking, and of innovation in governance. Over a thousand of you signed up for our collective bit of sense-making and we hope even more watched the playback. We are witnessing great examples of creativity, innovation, resilience, and agility across the globe. We want to ensure the muscle memory of these ways of thinking, doing and acting is not lost.
This next step, our inaugural States of Change Learning Festival, is a continuation of that intention.
Over three weeks in June, we want to create a space to meet, to explore ideas, to share tactics and frameworks, and to build a shared sense of what our role ought to be over these coming months and years. We come together in a spirit of solidarity, humility, defiance, and determination. And while we recognise this moment is deadly serious, we nonetheless want to bring a sense of playful curiosity that is befitting a festival.
We have created three ‘stages’ for you to explore: for the dreamers, the Where are we going? stage; for the planners, the What needs to be in place? stage; and for the pragmatists and doers, the How do we get there? stage. We also have a Community Hub to help people connect with each other on a personal level, whether in your local area or across the world.
Whatever path you choose, I recommend starting your journey with award-winning author Tyson Yunkaporta, bringing us a powerful Indigenous perspective for our opening event.
Our festival is about paying attention to practice, about experimenting in online convening and connecting, about being emergent to context and needs, and creating space for reflection.
It's not a space for one-way conversations, or a place for perfectly curated and polished answers. This is about asking better questions.
It is also not all about the here and now, but is instead about the work ahead of us to ensure that we don’t just bounce back, but instead we build better.
We are truly grateful for all of the session organisers who have generously helped us to create this free global event as our collective contribution to the change that is sorely needed. And we encourage each of you to make as active a contribution to the festival as you can. This is not a time to passively observe, but to get actively involved.
Our hope is that you come away from the festival with a sense of possibility, of purpose and of community.
Looking forward to seeing you there!