A new year always brings new challenges, and I’m delighted to be starting 2014 with a big one of my own: taking up the reins from Edward Andersson as Deputy Director of Involve.
During my job hunt I was looking for a position at the centre of a Venn diagram with three criteria: 1) working on issues of most significance for bringing about a sustainable and inclusive world 2) taking greatest advantage of my skills, experience and who I am as a person (and potential to develop in future) 3) loveliness of work environment – indexed by the availability and rituals of tea :).
I withdrew from four other competitions to take the position at Involve, and three weeks into the job I’ve only become more convinced that I made the right decision (phew!). Involve’s core business – transforming the relationship between citizens, decision-makers and governments – is fundamental to progress on almost all of the other issues I’m passionate about.
From tackling inequality to transforming our energy system, when you boil things down, time and again you see progress being blocked by a lack of effective dialogue between those who make decisions and those whose lives will be impacted by them. A sense of alienation, resignation and powerlessness. For me, it’s not so much about the vacant stare of a NEET as they shuffle grimly up the dole line. It’s about the vacant assumptions of our economic elites, such as those gathering in Davos today, that what is really possible in the world should be carved out by those with a gilded lift pass. Even these privileged souls are often dead behind the eyes, parroting the consensus of those-in-the-know because they think their position in the club depends on it. I hope that through my work at Involve I’ll be able to help us treasure our most precious gift as humans: the gift of will (h/t John Ashton). It is will that makes us human – and we cannot hope to build a humane or sustainable society without it.
The job is a fantastic opportunity for me to capitalise on my experience working on accountability, power and participation (see my background here) – and I’ve been learning from my new colleagues every day.
So a link to a big mission; some specific and crunchy projects to work on; some excellent people and a fabulous selection of teas. Sold.