Design Forum: A journey to reduce child mortality
Child mortality is a 'wicked problem' which needs more attention if it is at all possible to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal target.
In 2000, world leaders of all 192 Member States of the United Nations agreed to eight 'Millennium Development Goals' (MDG). These were established to reduce 1990 extreme poverty levels by two-thirds before the year 2015. MDG 4 set out to reduce under-five mortality (child mortality) rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Only three years remain before the 2015 deadline.
In 1990, nearly 12 million children died before they reached their 5th birthday. In 2012, slightly less than 7 million children will die before they reach their 5th birthday. This represents a 41% reduction in child mortality, and while this progress is good news, it is not enough to achieve MDG. By 2015, the rate of child mortality will need to fall below 4 million for the year to achieve MDG 4.
10 City Bridge Run
Commencing 12 December 2012 (12.12.12), Matt Jones will run 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries all inside of one month as a stunt to open a conversation about how together we might improve this situation.
The 10 countries chosen to run each form part of a narrative which might help many to better understand child mortality. The journey is difficult and challenging, mirroring the seemingly impossible target to achieve MDG 4.
In each city where running occurs, Design Forum will be held. These will culminate in a Global Design Forum to be held after arriving in Seoul on 24 January 2013 (Registration for the Global Design Forum will be seperate to these ten Design Forum events here).
You can see the dates and themes for each of the Design Forum at the registration above.
The Design Forum are free to attend, but only because of the generous support of many people who have made this journey possible.
We are still raising the funding needed to complete the journey after being successful crowdfunding the minimum neccessary funds to prove the concept and commence the journey. We could use your help too.
Would you consider supporting this project for $24? Please visit www.pozible.com/lifebridge and join this journey!
Who, Where and When
There is still a lot of stuff to work out. That includes where these conversations will take place, what time they will occur and who will be speaking and facilitating. That is more an exciting opportunity than a challenge to fret over. Let's make this count!
If you have an idea about where we could hold these Design Forum, then please let us know (our budget is extremely tight, and as well we want to offer this conversation freely, so please make suggestions for interactive venues which would not incur costs for the organisation of events). The best way to do that is sending a message to the organisers (look to the right), or to register, and answer the questions providing information about how you might be able to help.
This is about participation, but that also involves people taking time to sit back and listen. Don't feel like you have to commit to anything big by coming along. Join us, and let's see what alchemy we can create!
Stay informed through visiting the blog at www.10citybridgerun.com.
Bill Shore and the Imagination Gap. In his 2010 book: "The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men: inspiration, vision and purpose in the quest to end malaria" Bill Shore describes a "narrow by vitally important space between the impractical and the impossible", which he calls the "imagination gap".
He writes: "The imagination gap is a place where hope lies waiting to be discovered, and cannot be extinguished once it has. Most failures in life are not failures of resources, or organisation, or strategy or discipline. The are failures of imagination."
In his book, Bill Shore places emphasis on working to bring existing solutions to scale rather than discovering new ones. The information we need is often known already.
Paul Polak and What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail. Through this process, we want to identify 'game changers' that might create scalable and entrepreneurial solutions for future progress in reducing child mortality. This is anything but a cookie cutter process and requires application of imagination along with the rigor of pragmatic innovative process.
Paul Polak in his book "Out of Poverty: what works when traditional approaches fail", provides a list of "12 Steps to Practical Problem Solving".
The first three of these are instructive, and have shaped this journey:
1. Go to where the action is.
2. Talk to the people who have the problem and listen to what they say.
3. Learn everything you can about the problem's specific context.
During this project, we will be hoping to engage and learn from thought leaders and those experiencing child mortality in order to shape our understanding.
Another of Paul Polak's steps is: "Follow practical three-year plans." From the information gained during the journey and each Design Forum, we will be hoping to frame a pragmatic 'three year plan' to focus on concrete measures that many people might somehow be able to get involved in order to make a difference.
Not everyone can travel to Africa. But we all have the capacity to think differently about this problem and ask how we might reduce child mortality.
Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair: More than A Quick Fix. A recent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled "Innovation is Not the Holy Grail" written by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair pointed to how efforts to bring about change are often part of the problem itself by inadvertently impeding progress.
They write: "Pushing innovation based on simple recipes and success factors is still the prevailing dogma. It reminds us of the frantic hunt for the next miracle diet guaranteeing wieght loss in seven days. We strongly believe that leaders [need to] engage in an honest and critical diagnosis and evaluation of negative organisational factors and innovation hurdles. Impact may come more from dedication and routine work [than suggestions of quick-fix solutions]. Unfortunately, dedication and routine work do not have the sexiness factor of innovation."
Innovation often fails, but experimentation to find what works and then applying that as a solution is important. How might building a human bridge change things for the better by learning from the hard work that is going on around the world today?
Held across ten cities to open a conversation: "How might we use our networks to reduce child mortality?" The locations: 1. Sydney, 2. New York, 3. London, 4. Lagos, 5. Kinshasa, 6. Addis Ababa, 7. New Delhi, 8. Hong Kong, 9. Port Moresby, 10. Seoul.
Life Bridge: 10 City Bridge Run
Life Bridge is a project which asks how might we use our networks to help alleviate child mortality. Child mortality remains an intractable problem globally, despite all the advances in medicine.
Introducing Matt Jones:
Life Bridge originated from Matt Jones as his passion project to bring about change where it is needed most. He cannot do this alone, and only you have the ability to bring this to life by supporting this initiative.
Matt's background: an Australian Army Officer, a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal for his role in East Timor. Matt's military experience was varied, extending across two decades. In 2004, Matt was responsible to stand-up then manage the Australian Army response to the 2004 tsunami relief effort.
In 2004, Matt received a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to undertake research through UK and USA to examine successful models of social enterprise. This was a turning point as it was an opportunity to see new ideas.
Matt writes: "Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement. I am thoroughly encouraged to go hard right down to the last mile because of the people who have supported this initiative."
Matt is encouraged by remembering the African proverb:
"If you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, then let's go together."
This is a stunt designed to open a conversation to address whether it might be possible to reduce child mortality through the creation of a 'human bridge' in the context of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4.
The journey will examine a theme of 'human bridges' and what this might look like towards working towards a tangible outcome in order to make a difference to child mortality. The bridges we are building are made possible because of the support of people just like you. You too can support this project here. Let's make this count.
Life Bridge draws inspiration from a quote by Ophelia Dahl (co-founder of Partners in Health and daughter of renowned children's book author Roald Dahl) taken from a graduation speech when she quoted Adam Hochschild who earlier wrote about the importance of "drawing connections between the near and the distant":
"Linking our own lives and fates with those we can't see will, I believe, be the key to a decent and shared future... Imagination will allow you to make the link between the near of your lives and the distant others and will lead us to realise the plethora of connections between us and the rest of the world, between our lives and that of a Haitian peasant, between us and that of a homeless drug addict, between us and those living without access to clean water or vaccinations of education, and this will surely lead to ways in which you can influence others and perhaps improve the world along the way."
(The story behind this quote was also taken from Bill Shore's outstanding 2010 book: "The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men: inspiration, vision and purpose in the quest to end malaria")