December 28, 2011

For all the social networks, people still want us to jump on planes

138000 Miles 2
Every year that passes, I like to see what my toll on the planet has been in order to make some carbon amends and try to better understand this curious equation: for every year that social networks grow, the amount of travel to see people face-to-face increases. We were all promised something different, I'm sure, but the fact remains that our little business needs to jump on planes to continue to grow:

That means that this year I've had to go around the world just over 5 times. Two of those times were actually around the world, as our growing base of Design Thinking Schools in Australia hits tipping point (more news on that in 2012). But that means the other three times around the world has been spread between a growing desire of Nordic countries to make their high quality learning ever more inspiring, and the beginnings of United States schools seeing that there are ideas elsewhere that might help mend some of the damage done to their system over the past decade.

There have been some inspiring moments this past year, too many to count, but I've particularly enjoyed:

  • chilling with my adopted homies Alas Media and Alan November in Boston;
  • finding the clarity for a forthcoming book on Alan's veranda overlooking the Atlantic in Marblehead;
  • exploring an in-revolution Cairo and relaxing with my family at the end of the hectic year on the Red Sea;
  • hearing from Brisbane teachers on how their teaching lives have been transformed by the Design Thinking Schools we're kicking off there;
  • letting my daughters giggle nervously on their first gondola expedition in Venice;
  • sitting alongside the Vice President of the European Union in an expansive chamber at the Commission to work out how we get 650m Europeans better connected;
  • staying at home in my own city for most of the late Winter and early Spring to help return my Government to power through our direction of their digital campaign, and pave the way for a vote on independence from the UK in four years time.

I'd love to say that there will be less travel in 2012, but we've already got three turns around the world booked between here and August, with more UK and European work beginning to develop. The little enterprise I started two years ago has flourished this year, with more excitement to come in 2012 with my not-so-new-now colleague Tom Barrett, and other new faces likely to appear in the New Year.

We're busy to bursting point, and in these times that is a Good Thing.

We're also making an effort in our company to travel with more efficient airlines who run more green aircraft, meaning that despite the extra 22,000 miles we've emitted 3,000 tons less carbon into the environment. We'll just have to continue working as hard on mending the damage we're doing to the planet as we are on creating excitement and change in schools around the world.

Happy New Year, fellow travellers, virtual or alongside us on Seat 53F.


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I think that growing world of social media is causing us to live the 'real' world more intensively, to have more interactions in real world and to travel more. We're able to meet more people online, and then we want to met some of them for real :-)

I think that growing world of social media is causing us to live the 'real' world more intensively, to have more interactions in real world and to travel more

Great stuff! Thanks for this update.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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