Like the fast-moving cars in cities, the fast-thinking minds of children throw smiles to my lips.
Building cars are complex – it takes a lot of creativity and expertise. On the flip side, kids crush complexities and build simple car toys that move – yet it takes their creative hands and expert minds to create.
So, what does it take to create the space for anyone anywhere to have the freedom to sparkle through their skills, gifts, stories and talents? Curiosity! The desire to see, think, hug, dance and work differently.
In the last 10 years, thinking about my network weaving journey – from dining with grassroots communities in African countries to virtually shaking hands with changemakers from 5 other continents of the world – one thing stands out: Humans are dynamic, gifts are uncountable, stories are limitless and creativity is endless.
I have seen the bright giggle, the reflective laughter, the inspiring aroma and spontaneous creations that people make in seconds, minutes and hours through their skills, stories and connecting with others.
Is that possible in an online space? You bet. Every word weaves into sentences, every silence makes sounds meaningful, every hello creates new possibilities.
Here’s an example. Sometime in April 2023 I facilitated a session about transformation with June Holley and Brendon Johnson, where we had over 30 people, mostly meeting each other for the first time, come together to use the zoom whiteboard to bring back their childhood painting power.
Everyone had just come back from a breakout room where they shared their personal or professional stories of transformation with 2 or 3 other people.
I gave an easy question: “what does transformation mean to you?” and turned on some gentle background music.
Participant could only reply by drawing, painting, colouring, building or breaking. Here’s the result, after 5 mins:
How did they do this in 5 minutes, turning an empty, plain canvas on Zoom to an amazing painting that reflects how we feel about transformation? I caught some words there: ‘Joy, spaciousness, courage, trust, new, aliveness’
It was a messy and intriguing experience that left everyone feeling inspired.
The whiteboard canvas became a piece of art – coming from the dots in people’s hearts, that ran to their hands and it popped as a beautiful design. Art accommodates all of us, despite being from different disciplines, communities, and networks.
This creation led us into many other conversations — building relationships, exploring systems change, social innovation, complexity, indigenous practices, exchanging ideas, and learning from one another.
Read some of the reflection of participants:
Lucy Draper-Clarke: “It looks to me like the real, the humanizing qualities like joy, there was commitment, the heart and beauty, using those as the energy for transformation. So rather than focusing so much on what needs to be transformed where the problems are, it’s like channeling the best of human qualities. into the process. So that’s what came up for me through the stories and through all the hearts on the screen.”
Andy Stoll: “Well, it’s messy. I think that’s when you think about transformation. It’s not a linear, easy one, two, three, four. Lots of different hands create a very emergent property of. No one had a plan for our picture, but here we are.
In communities, families, networks and life, there are several dots, in different forms, shapes, sizes, colors, contexts, carrying different potentials.
There are many tiny dots of sand supporting the ocean floor. The gentle kiss of the sand is part of the fun at the beach, in that same way, the small talk to build trust may lead to building a network edifice.
Everyone in a network has a need and we bring the gifts of our heart and hands to paint each other’s life with meaning.
For example, there are several dots of scrap metal that make a gigantic car. Beyond the money that engineers make, they put their hearts and hands to creating magic that helps us travel millions of miles.
Just as important, the dot of a smile can inspire a hopeless heart and that smile can cause a catalytic and daring embrace to a weak soul.
It was a dot – a curious step you took – to read this blog, but it may just lead to truckloads of ideas and opportunities.
There are multiple dots of virtues lined up limitlessly in your genes – what will you turn them into?
In the last 10 years, Damilola Fasoranti’s work has helped communities and networks turn their education, gifts, and skills into desired solutions. As a catalyst coach, network weaver, and social entrepreneur, he loves co-creating ‘chaos’ in learning, sharing, and communities to accelerate them towards creating positive impacts. In 2017, he created the first grassroots makerspace – a school without teachers – to trigger creativity and innovation in grassroots communities, as the Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy, Nigeria.
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