I was privileged to be among the 150 people at Trampoline II on Saturday. Trampoline is an unconference … no agendas are set before the start, it is simply an opportunity for people to talk and listen to each other on the broad theme of ‘what I find interesting in the world’. The organising framework is based loosely on how Open Space Technology operates. It also borrows from Barcamps.

a shot from the first trampline earlier in the year

a shot from the first trampline earlier in the year

I loved hearing about ‘edge theory’, learning how to be funny from a professional comedian, listening to some intelligent commentary on intergenerational learning, thinking about how simplistically we have used computers in education … and overall loved the generosity and energetic dynamic that Pat, Steve and Mel facilitated. You guys are legends.

The day left me with apparently conflicting reflections. One the one hand there is nothing new under the sun. The energy and passion of (mostly young) people who are seeking to cultivate a better world will always be.

But every season brings new opportunities and on the other hand there is a compelling argument that the shifts we are experiencing now, with the perfect storm precipitated by climate change and evolving economic systems will bring genuine revolution.

I wonder about leadership. I looked around the room and loved the spirit. But energy, passion, intelligence and vision is not enough. I am one of those who thinks that personal character makes the difference between being a frustrated, the-world-owes-me-something type and those that are able to leave their mark. And personal character is marked not by cleverness or opportunism. It is forged through perseverance in suffering, discipline and intentional humility. It comes from a well formed view of the meaning of life, one that enables us to live in service of a cause bigger than ourselves. That’s what I reckon anyway.

My experience on Saturday gives me hope. Scattered among the brilliance and vision was the right stuff … I look forward to the future if it can be shaped by people like some of those at Trampoline.

3 thoughts on “trampoline

  1. Thanks for the post Col, captured how I felt about Trampoline 🙂

    Leadership is an interesting one, and I love the comment you make about requiring humility to leave your mark. I would also say you need apathy and intuition – the ability to quickly understand how people feel given different situations and scenarios.

    Food for thought 🙂

  2. Great insight Col.

    Critical reflection can be lacking from days full of so much energy and inspiration. The experience of those like yourself, Peter Spence and others are important to channel those people into leadership.

    I think the way the organisers have worked hard to get it outside a tech/IT space and incorporate others is important. What I found was that there were great ideas and inspiration, but like you say nothing amazingly new and what was more interesting was a regular lack of a strong evidence base. Ideas are great. But alone they are not enough. So, along with your leadership – I’d like to recognise the importance of depth of understanding. It probably comes from my BA training in arguing a point based on the knowledge base that has come before. But, I have found that after the initial rush of trampoline – I am found wanting more as I think through some of the ideas…but maybe that is the point.

    Now we start the research and flesh out the ideas to see if they stick – that’s what the leaders will do, right?


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