Hello gorgeous Be. Whanau, friends and partners of the Be. Lab and the newly established Global Centre of Possibility@ AUT!
Like everyone else in the world right now, we have been adjusting to the new conditions we all find ourselves in.
Right now, I am sitting here in my kitchen, the sun is shining in, the cat is nibbling his bowl of cat food, a Tui is singing in the nearby tree, but other than that the world is unbelievably quiet…
For me, quiet can generate a range of emotions; sometimes I can find it unsettling, sometimes I can find it soothing and very peaceful… however right now I feel as though I am being invited to pay attention and to listen deeply to the world and what it is trying to say to us all at a time of such extreme uncertainty.
What is the world saying? What does the world need from us right now? I believe these are some of the questions that we, citizens and leaders of Aotearoa and the world, need to pay attention to right now!
Over the last three years we have been creating the concept of a Possibility lens, a new way to reframe accessibility and to look at the world through. This new lens was designed to help us imagine what would be needed to ensure a truly accessible future world, no matter what came our way as a society… including if Aotearoa was closed off from the rest of the world, economic chaos, and major health issues.
With the support of the amazing team at SO, future-centred design and others, we interviewed 60 global thought leaders on what they believed were the likely scenarios to face us as a society in the next few years. We then layered over this a way of designing, innovating and leading into an accessible future world. And from all of this, along with our ten years of experience in social change around accessibility, we created thePossibility lens and framework, and the newly established Global Centre ofPossibility @ AUT (GCOP)!
Now, I cannot say that I had the slightest idea that we would actually find ourselves in this place in March 2020! But what I do know is that if ever we needed Possibility thinking as a society and as a nation, it is now.
The Be. Lab and the GCOP would like to offer the Possibility lens to Aotearoa and the world at this time. This is a contribution we feel we can make as everything that we thought we knew and trusted is being brought into question.
The access community is one of the most creative and innovative communities in the world because when we live with an access need, and the world around us is largely inaccessible, we become very adept at problem solving, reimagining and redesigning what might be possible!
So perhaps, some of the leadership that is needed right now might come from the very community we think of as “vulnerable", and in need of additional support during this crisis.
Yes, we are! Are we doing things differently? Yes, we are! Are we opening our selves up to a multitude of possibilities? Absolutely, and we invite you to join us and to do the same also! And…the team will share these adaptations as they emerge and as we try out new and varied ways of connecting and operating!
The amazing Sue Russell, CEO of the Be. Lab is doing a remarkable job with the team and the programmes during a very unusual time and I am so delighted that we have such a creative and capable CEO heading up the Be. Lab and the team.
She will be in touch with you all shortly to let you know in more detail what is going on at the Lab and how you can connect with this amazing work and programmes.
But for now, just know that both the Be. Lab and the GCOP are working very closely together to advance an accessible world of Possibility for us all!
There are 3 things we would like to offer Aotearoa at this time….
The teams at both the Be. Lab and the GCOP feel incredibly fortunate to be able to continue working during this time albeit very differently in so many ways. The reason we were able to move so quickly to working remotely and to have the appropriate technology to support us individually and as teams, is largely thanks to the extraordinary team at Microsoft New Zealand! Last year Microsoft came in and got our teams set up on 20 of the latest surface pro laptops, set us up on Teams, and together with some other clever people ensured that our teams could work remotely and effectively!
In terms of resourcing, our key partners, the NZ Government along with other philanthropic funders, have been quick to reassure us that our contracts are secure and that in fact they very much want and need us to keep operating and providing services to our communities. They also understand that some of our services will need to be reshaped in order to be of value during this time andI thank them for their leadership and trust in us to honour our contract and the true spirit of our partnerships!
And in addition to these partners, the Sudima hotels, ACC and AUT have also enabled the Global Centre of Possibility to emerge at such a critical time of uncertainty and ambiguity in the world.
So, one thing that keeps emerging for me is the desire to say thank you! Thank you to our community, our partners, our funders, our leaders, our team, our Board and all our amazing and creative access citizens for continuing to have faith in what is possible and in the gentleness, decency and bravery of the human spirit!!!
To contact the team at Be. Lab if you have any questions about, Be. Welcome, BeEmployed or Be. Leadership email Sue Russell at email@example.com
To contact me (Minnie) if you have any questions about our work in Possibility, contact Minnie at the Global Centre of Possibility (currently my kitchen!) at firstname.lastname@example.org
With much love,
Chief Possibility Officer and Founder of Be. Accessible and the Be. Lab.