It’s just one month into 2017, and for many, that means they have just launched their New Year’s resolutions. The gym is still crowded, your refrigerator is still full of healthy food, but that initial motivation may not be as high as it was on, say, January 2. So, it’s time to find new sources of motivation and even inspiration for keeping that New Year’s resolution. One place to find that inspiration is the Film4Climate competition. If you’re trying to find a reason to persevere through whatever new challenges you are finding, look no further than the winners of this competition. All these films put things in a unique perspective.
When I was a child I lived in two worlds. The first world was a creative one, filled with music, a teeming treasure of sounds that stretched from church to nature. It included thunderous organ chords, melodious tube fiddles, and raspy frog choruses, to name a few. The other world I inhabited was more sober in nature, marked with political instability, hardships, and poverty. These two worlds came together in a loud cacophony that is my home country, Uganda.
“Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance” by Atul Gawande seems an unlikely place to find governance reform ideas and development inspiration but I found both therein last week. The book was recommended by a dear colleague who knows of my interest in organizational change. An accomplished non-fiction writer "Atul Gawande, a 2006 MacArthur Fellow, is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.” He tackles the “universal struggle to perform well” through the eyes of a surgeon. Along the way we are introduced to countless examples of organizational seizure, organizational change and the people at the center of these operations.
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Culture and Development
- Communities and Human Settlements
- Tufts University
- The New Yorker
- positive deviance
- organizational change
- MacArthur Fellow
- Institite of Development Studies
- Harvard School of Public Health
- Harvard Medical School
- Centre for the Future State
- Atul Gawande
- An upside down view of governance
Imagine you are crossing the street in any major city. The light turns red and you're instructed by a flashing light, perhaps a police officer, to halt and allow for the flow of car traffic. Perhaps you look both ways, see nothing coming, and decide to walk anyway. Your actions are acceptable in most areas of the world but the public response to your seemingly acceptable behavior is unique. After landing on the other side of the road you are chased down by mimes, mocked mercilessly, people around you join in the mocking and hold up thumbs down signs while pointing out stars on the ground where pedestrians, like you, have died. No this is not a nightmare or a flash mob, this is just one technique in your communication tool kit that can be used to engage the larger public in community behavior adjustments. This particular public mocking/service campaign was the brainchild of the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.
Towering mountains, majestic temples, and colorful cityscapes are all characteristics that I had expected for Nepal. I wasn’t disappointed. Driving into Kathmandu, the myriad of exotic colors, shapes, and smells truly ignited my senses and the sense of respect for tradition and gracious hospitality unsurpassed.
Something I didn’t expect was the sense of liveliness on the streets and the industriousness of the people. This is especially evident amid challenges in infrastructure, connectivity, and constraints such as the lack of electricity for up to 9 hours a day and a noticeable lack of quality roads. In spite of this, there were numerous shops selling all kinds of goods and services dotted around the city creating a palpable sense of entrepreneurship and energy.
Growing up, many of us receive a horde of unwanted advice in the name of our supposed wellbeing:
“Study accounting or management so you can get a paying job!” “Learn cooking rather than singing!” “You'll do it this way because that’s how it's always done!” “Let others change the world; you just focus on your career!”
The other day, someone told me Youthink! needs to be more optimistic. Well hey, it’s hard to be cheerful and witty about topics like poverty and disease…
To be fair, though, there’s often good news from the world of development. So, maybe she did have a point. I decided to try to highlight more of the positive from now on.