Gold, Japan and FC United – intentions for 2016

Gold, Japan and FC United – not resolutions but intentions for 2016

2016 is going to be a year of facilitation, writing and travel. Lucky me to be able to do what I love and to do it with inspiring people. When I meet people and the vibes are good, I lean in and find a reason to work together. My first intention is to do more of this.

It’s like that with CIPFA – The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy – where I’m the Writer in Residence. CIPFA might not sound that glamorous but they’ve been amazingly supportive and open to thinking differently – how many organisations have a creative writer on board? It’s bold and I’ve been chuffed to help their members to develop their voice, influence and get published.

It’s also another way of continuing my on-going theme to “change the ending” – developing positive new narratives for the public sector. The articles and stories recognise where we are (public finances continue to be cut) and shed light on opportunities, possibilities, hidden realities and alternative perspectives.

So this first week back I’ve been thinking about prospecting for gold. Andy Burns –(@CFOstaffscc) – big thinker and great collaborator, sees Gold in Data. It’s an idea that became an article and with input from provocateur and tech guru Martin Sadler (@MartinJSadler) is becoming a wider creative conversation that I’ll be facilitating in Feb (see below.) I’m working with interesting, can-do people, I get to learn and experiment and we hope the result will be a new seam of resource for public services. Of course we’re prospecting so who knows….

In 2016 I’ll also be developing some new facilitation techniques – it’s easy to fall back on what you know works but I like to stretch myself and the groups I work with. It keeps the process fresh, curiosity and creativity high. I had the opportunity to introduce some new exercises in the summer last year at UCL facilitating a dynamic cross cultural multi-disciplinary group representing universities from the UK and Japan. Part of the RENKEI programme, their task was to generate new ideas for social enterprises that tackle inter-generational fairness – a tough ask for any group.

The facilitation exercises had surprising and sometimes moving results. Members of the group co-wrote and performed stories about… a dying fathers’ regret at the lack of communication with his son, a young girl who turned a toxic jelly fish into a mobile phone charger and one story imagined Sir John Soanes time-travelling to share his curiosity and hunger for change.

The group developed great commitment to each other and their task. This year the programme continues in Osaka, it’s a gift to work on. We’ll be focusing on turning ideas into reality and it’s my aim to learn a bit of Japanese.

My final intention is to finish my second novel this year – deep breath – it’s taken three years so far. I like to see writing as a collaborative process (too much sitting still in front of my computer makes me go stir crazy) and so invite people to share their ideas and insights around the themes in my writing. It’s incredibility supportive and I treat the feedback as gold-dust. One outcome of this is that I’ll be heading to Manchester shortly to watch FC United play North Ferribly United in the National League North with Jayne Stephenson (@JayneStephenso1) as inspiring an accountant as you’ll ever meet! I’m following my nose to fan owned football clubs, where the Council has supported their development and people have taken their destiny and that of their club in their hands. I’ll be hoping for a win and that it will help me with the end of the book. All good stuff eh!

Setting out intentions works for me. I prefer it to new years’ resolutions which often feel negative and are usually impossible to achieve. My intentions make me excited about what next. How about you?

there's gold in our data!

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