A SUNNY SATURDAY...
Time for an honest admission: a great analogy for whatever strategy, organisation and delivery there is behind STEAM Co. is the one about the aeroplane, the one that took off before we'd finished building it, which gave us cues for loads more clever MBA style comments like 'fail fast, fail often', 'good enough IS good enough', etc and we've had a lot of stick for not dotting that 'i' or crossing this 't'.
But hey, we're founded on a great idea and seem to be attracting an amazing bunch of people from all walks of life and interest from a wide a range of organisations.
So back to the aeroplane. The Guardian's editor in chief admits in his leader today that they have broken the rules and run a front page story about something that isn't news yet.
Tomorrow’s news on the front page? What's that all about?
It’s the climate change story, which led to box office hits with movies like ‘The Inconvenient Truth’, books and talks. And talks.
And the story opens with a quote from ‘This Changes everything ‘ - Naomi Klein’s book on climate change that describes the day an aeroplane in the USA was delayed for 3 hours because it had sunk into the tarmac on a record breaking hot day. They really thought that taking the passengers off might reduce the load and facilitate the tow out - about as puny an attempt as many’s response to climate change.
So what’s this got to do with STEAM Co., and #STEAMskills ? Well it’s all summed up by a great blog by educational author, curator and doer Graham Brown-Martin, written as he flew to New York with us for the declaration of a global STE(A)M crisis at the United Nations General Assembly, called by New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS).
In ’11 billion reasons to love STEM’ Graham talks about the uneven distribution of STEM skills around the world, the pressing need for core skills in the workplace and creative approaches to problem solving in areas as diverse as pharma, transport and climate. And he concludes chillingly.
"Children born today will be alive by 2100 and will face the consequences of our inaction."
Biting the hand that feeds?
So when I woke up this morning and saw all this in and all over the paper, I put a shout out on social media to see if anyone fancied a walk through the West End. For a moment I felt like a raving radical, worrying if this would send out the wrong signals to the companies and brands that we are currently begging to sponsor the first year launch of STEAM Co. so that we can stand on our own two feet moving forwards.
We will only ever work with companies that share our values across community, creativity and education. Having a future is seen as read. Some will be obvious potential friends or not friends. There will be grey areas. It will be difficult choosing sometimes and while beggars can’t be choosers, we don’t ever want out partners to tell us what to say or do, though we will respect partnerships and our own agendas.
Only this week, we’ve tweeted some great footage from the amazing looking conference organised by Business in the Community, one of HRH Prince Charles’s charities that does amazing work to connect business in the community under the leadership of the powerhouse that is Dame Julia Cleverdon. (We also met with another of his charities just this week, The Prince’s Foundation for Children and The Arts who are also doing the most inspiring work - this isn’t supposed to sound sickly sycophantic so apologies if it does, but credit where credit is due)
We’ve already secured support from a few of the companies in attendance at the BITC event (watch this space on announcements) but only last night received a rejection from one company who initially appeared to share our values and whose CEO was featured there.
Maybe they really do/have done enough? We aren't the only good cause in town after all.
But the last thing we want is to be seen as raving radicals. Because we’re not. We just want the best for our children. And we want a future for our children, and selfishly, for ourselves. We’re keen to remain apolitical, though do believe in community, collaboration and connection.
If someone stands up and says that encouraging children to study arts subjects will limit their options, we will vocally disagree. If someone says that in future an OFSTED outstanding status will only be granted for schools that take a holistic approach to arts and sciences, we will applaud them.
Indeed we’ve invited the major political parties to join us or send a short film to be aired and discussed as part of the line-up we’re putting together for our first regional launch event in Liverpool April 24/25 (incidentally at which Graham Brown-Martin is due to speak on his latest project Citizen Science). #SCOL1
Acting on climate change means business.
As many people point out, anyone who doesn’t take climate change seriously is going out of business.
We had the most fascinating day with our friends from the GreenPower Trust at the Energy Live News conference last year where we saw the innovative work that companies like Schneider Electric are doing around sustainable power generation, over 500 companies who have dedicated teams looking at reducing their carbon footprint/energy efficiency and EY’s strategic thinking in the area. Yes, it was clear that acting on climate change means business and that the world will need #STEAMskills.
SEIZING AN OPPORTUNITY
And back to the aeroplane. Rather as if the steward has just walked down the aisle with a box of treats to wake us up before our descent, we’ve grabbed one. We’re going to make some banners and nip up the west end and gratuitously surf today’s #timetoact2015 wave .
Maybe see you there with the other talk walkers? Yes, it’s your turn.
And, in the meantime, here’s what another raving radical had to say. Fair play.
Written in a rush, there's a world out there to save. Please tell us what you think and flag up embrassing typos below ;-)