Consequences Blog #60 #2019 Life is a circus #2020

Cirque Du Soleil Programme Souvenir – ‘Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities’ (2014) attended 29 November 2019

It is the final Consequences Blog for 2019 and without getting caught within semantics, as to when the official new decade begins as far as I am concerned it is simple – the current decade ends 31st December 2019 and the new decade begins 1st January 2020 – so this is my last Consequences Blog for this decade!

My decade reflection is guided by a recent Cirque Du Soleil show that I had the pleasure of seeing – ‘Kurios – cabinet of curiosities’. I have been a fan of Cirque Du Soleil going right back to the year 2000 (nearly two decades ago) when I saw a performance in the UK Millennium Dome (no referred to as O2 Area). Being in a reflective mode I must admit that I have been fortunate to see many of their performances and all around the world. As successful as Cirque Du Soleil has become it is important to note their beginning was quite a humble start in the 20th century in Canada:

Since 1982 Cirque Du Soleil being an inaugural troupe of young street performers has formed to be a striking, dramatic mix of the circus arts (without animals) and street performance featuring wild, outrageous costumes, magical lighting and original music. Kurios 2014

Thinking about the decade past I can liken the phrase of being ‘striking and dramatic’ a little similar to some of my Board experiences over this decade! When a Board is functioning well it is able to achieve so much. In this decade I have reported to and been on Boards where I have enjoyed the experience of working with a dynamic Board – often embracing all sectors. Another example of being striking and dramatic in this past decade can be found in my personal life where my tally of being a Great Aunty has grown to nearly 19 – great nieces and nephews – in just one decade!

Many good things take time to eventuate and I liken my education experiences over this past decade in such a way. Similarly, Circus Du Soleil demonstrates the benefits of hard work and commitment to a single point of focus: 

More than 30 years of dreaming daring and pushing limits. The international success story known as Cirque Du Soleil is above all the story of remarkable bond between performers and spectators the world over. That’s because, at the end of the day, it is the spectators who spark the creative passions that fire Cirque Du Soleil. Kurios 2014

My creative education passion was definitely sparked during this decade by starting my PhD in 2012 and successfully graduating in 2017. Not only did I get to push my limits but with many key people supporting me (and you know who you are) this decade was more than magical. Most importantly educational experiences like this and the lessons gained will stay with me for a lifetime – just like the experience gained when watching Kurios.

Drawing further into the Kurios souvenir program the story of Kurios provides a great reflection of this decades of distraction and our times of much uncertainty. It sets the story as being part way through this decade (2014) recognising that there is also beauty in chaos. 

It is a most incredible time, a time of wonder and possibility, full of astonishing inventions, mindboggling feats, and world-changing discoveriesIt is a time when creative collisions between art and science become matter-of-course. Kurios 2014

At a similar time for me in this decade I ventured into the notion of an emergent strategy where the vision of the organisation I was leading was committed to giving every child in Australia a good beginning. Being emergent means not being predictive and encouraging flexibility to achieve the vision. This is both a scary and exhilarating experience and resulted with leading into a merger which I refer to as #GoodSave (Good Beginnings Australia and Save The Children Australia). Kurious uses the phrase ‘creative collisions’ which I also believe best describes the experience of merger challenges but with a strong commitment to purpose decision making rather than ego centric decision making the collision can be a perfect one. 

During this decade I am also reminded that I became part of a joint alliance across three service delivery agencies, two Universities and one of the Big 4 to design and deliver a randomised control trial and social return on investment. This research held an aspiration to provide an evidence informed rationale around reducing social isolation through volunteering (all funded by a private donor – such a gift). The outcome of this study has shown that the program – Volunteer Family Connect – is highly effective in supporting vulnerable families with moderate needs that are too complex for universal services but below the threshold for specialist or intensive services – a little like the balancing act found within the Circus Du Soleil. 

Minds are being opened and people ponder in awe the endless possibilities, no longer certain what is real and what is not. It is time when synchronicity and coincidence can no longer be dismissed with a simple shrug. It is a time of awakening. Kurios 2014

With significant findings including for every $1 invested a $5.42 return Volunteer Family Connect has well and truly made a stand in this decade. In addition, it plans in the next decade through co-design with existing and new stakeholders scale and expand to other segments of the life cycle- more performers and spectators to add to the show!

I conclude my experiences of this decade within a scene setter for the next decade using some further reflective words from the souvenir Kurios program.

We are in a future past-a Thomas-Edison-meets-Jules-Verne-retrofuture. We are now or never. Close your eyes and open your heart. Now look again and behold the wonder. Seize it. Kurios 2014

References

Cirque Du Soleil Programme Souvenir – ‘Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities’ (2014) attended 29 November 2019

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