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.