Category: Play

wego… what?

Sometime in July 2000 I found myself not wearing any shoes for a few weeks; a mere 25 years of age and still in many ways behaving like someone ten years younger still.

I’d been drifting around south east Asia and was happily washed up on the Shores of Bottle Beach, Kho Phangan, Thailand.

I got stuck.

It was, after all, pretty nice.

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Each morning I would wake up thinking, “I really must leave this beach, my visa is going to run out and I’m sure I should explore more”.

Each day at sunset, I would slunk down in my hammock and listen to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore in perfect stereophonic sound…

…Mañana.

Bottle Beach is only accessible by boat, meaning it had remained pretty isolated compared to other beaches. Every day, a long-tail boat would arrive carrying new arrivals and also picking up day trippers from the beach who needed to head to the local town of Chaloklum for supplies.

As I was barely getting myself together each day, the most energetic of these boat men would run up and down the beach front shouting “CHALOKLUM, CHALOKLUM, WE-GO-NOW…. YES YES WEGONOWWWWWWW!!!”

I liked him. He was a man of action. He had a deadline. He was going places and he was going places now and we’d better all be on the god damn boat now if we wanted to get anywhere today…

…except I was never on the boat. I was having breakfast.

But the imminence and power of his energy and his demand for collective action stayed with me. It became something I mused on for years after I (eventually) left the beach. I took on “wegonow” as the prefix to every personal email address I could from that day onwards and its resonance has never left me.

I was hooked on the idea of ‘wegonow’ – it became symbolic not only of a time I felt really relaxed, but also of a time when I felt anything could happen (and it frequently did!). The word became more than a reference to a sun kissed travelling memory. It became something along the lines of:

we = collective

go = movement / action / direction

now = imminent / happening

And that, my friends, is all there is to it.

 

N.B. …that’s all there is to it except that this particular escapade on Bottle Beach was where I first ran into this man; who, while I haven’t seen him for several years, remains someone I consider to have been something of an inspiration and key influencer on my journey into the world of management. Although don’t tell him I said so.

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Digital Catapult Brighton: Placemaking

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Last night in the hot, hot city, a happening happened. A taster event for the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton to open up a discussion on digital technology, innovation, art, culture, design and #placemaking.

Here’s a copy of the programme:

I found it really thought provoking. Especially the stuff from Peter Passaro on data and how it could be used to support social change; creating a better city, a better place for everyone to live in. And there was something visionary about a city data centre which everyone (yes everyone!) put their data into that was ‘owned’ by the people of Brighton and Hove.

It made me reflect on what I was doing at this event. I’m no tech expert. I don’t work in the sector. I am an unlikely candidate for catapulting!

But there is something in all of this that fascinates me. A belief that technology can support the building of communities and the ‘rehumanisation’ of work and play.

In some circles there’s a pervasive feeling that technology is going to ‘dehumanise’ work, eventually taking over people’s jobs – and that in a dark future, the robots will assume control and humans will become ‘redundant’.

I don’t think this way. I believe if we ethically harness the power of digital technology we can do some amazing things to support communities to be healthier, happier and more resilient and self sustaining. I want to support the tech sector to help the public and voluntary sectors make that social change happen and the presentations we saw inspired me to continue on that journey.

What I heard from Liz was that digital technology not only has value as a medium for creating art but also that there is art to be found in the collection of ‘people and place data’ – beauty in a 3G signal!

I also loved Ava’s answer to the audience question about the Screens In The Wild project: “Do we really need more screens?”, which was simply “No!” – a Zen Slap moment of realisation that what we were learning about here, was research and development in action; a design process – not a market product…

And so this event came with a warning, which was nicely picked up by Jenny Lloyd in her opening presentation: all design should be informed by and start with User Experience (UX). People first, right? Without user experience informing the show, the tail of technology wags the dog of design… and we end up with a dog’s dinner of a development.

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How To Find Fulfilling Work

Someone prompted me to remember this little quote today:

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both. Lawrence Pearsall Jacks; “Education Through Recreation” 1932

It evokes something of what I aspire to and sometimes experience. I originally found it in the book “How To Find Fulfilling Work” by Roman Krznaric. It’s a bloody good read and has some really interesting methods and exercises to help you work through the process of finding… well, the title says it.

Come to think of it, I might well need to read it again!

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