What’s Working?

IMG_6061One of the goals of the day was to better understand how Hawaii’s independent changemakers are making an impact in the world. What’s working? What’s not?

Participants shared stories in groups of three. As they talked and as common themes started to emerge, they captured those themes on white boxes, which represented the obstacles they faced and strategies for overcoming them.

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Key Takeaways

Sharing and collaborating with each other were clear strategies for overcoming some common obstacles. This reiterated the earlier idea that we are not just independent changemakers, but are interdependent changemakers. For example, you can overcome lack of access to financial resources by finding the right people and sharing resources with each other.

chenoa_james Similarly, as discussed in the Visioning exercise, there is no shared narrative for a new Hawaii, but the stories are out there. What’s needed is a more focused strategy for sharing those stories both with each other and more broadly. In particular:

  • Thanks to technology, we now have many channels for sharing stories. What are the channels for shared meaning-making?
  • How can we leverage visuals to help us communicate?
  • We need to celebrate our successes! People need to know that there are things that are working.

The most difficult challenges were about balancing tensions. For example, being a small community is an opportunity and an obstacle. The beauty of being part of a small community is that you know everyone and everything about them. There is a strong sense of trust that comes from place and community.

  • How do you build trust beyond your own small community?
  • How do you stay true to your convictions without developing tunnel vision?
  • “If you fail, then everyone in your community will know, and it will make your family look horrible! If you stick your neck out, someone will put it down.” How do you make it safe to take risks, to experiment, to fail, and to learn?

Another tension was around dealing with different readiness for change. Independent changemaker like to move quickly, but they still need to work with institutions that have a much slower pace. One participant compared it to working with “a slow battleship. How do you get the battleship to work with the speedboat?”

  • Be conscious of the change process. Change is hard and slow. Sometimes, you have to take several steps back before you can move forward. It’s still progress, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
  • Be courageous. Making change requires thick skin. Perhaps the official changemaker attire should be helmets!
  • Be a mentor. Mentorship is a powerful way of shifting culture and encouraging others to be changemakers.