This is Brad Johnston's response to What are you skating towards in 2012?
Skating, Flying, Surfing
I am a public servant in the Ontario government at a time of unparalleled fiscal imbalance — where the services we already have, cost more than the funding we have to pay for them. We are living in times that are out of balance. These require new sight and new ideas: changes in our rules, relationships and boundaries.
I am skating counter clockwise in an arena with other people skating around in circles. Momentarily pushing off against the slightest amount of resistance I glide forward. Shifting my weight I push again from the other side. Look, push, glide, look. How long can I skate in a circle? I am learning from the best teachers in Canada about Social Innovation and becoming an Institutional Entrepreneur at the SiG@Waterloo Graduate program. I am learning to see whole human systems through the lens of ecological systems cycles and understanding big movements in slow time.
I am fascinated by the sleeper ‘Movement of Social Impact Financing’ at a time when our bi-modal public and private sector economies are faltering. I skate like a Monarch butterfly into a buffeting head wind; amidst all the elements and energies of nature. I fly through linked trails of quiet backward swirling air only felt in the middle of a strong wind. The wind gives me both my direction and my energy. Then I have my eye on the world. Is everyone moving as fast as they can? Are some walking or standing, or sitting or swimming, or eating, sleeping and talking, or surfing. I am drawn to memories of a beach in Costa Rica where the tides rise and fall twice a day and the surf breaks like the ocean inhaling and exhaling. Where there is nowhere to go but here.
I am moving in a circle with other people and flying in the energies of strong wind and I want to play in the water of the ocean and never leave. This is what I am skating towards.
Brad Johnston is an under the radar social intrapreneur in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) developing a culture of innovation and training employees on the value of social innovation thinking. Brad is part of the University of Waterloo — McConnell Foundation Graduate Diploma Program in social innovation, the first of its kind in Canada. The program has leaders from across Canada in the government, business and community sectors. Brad is also part of the innovation facilitator network with P&G and works with the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute on the convergence of social technologies and business communities.
Note: I release individual essays from the collection, What are you skating towards in 2012? on a regular basis. Upcoming contributions are by Jacques Dufresne, Lindsay Cant, Richard Bridge, Stefan Lorimer and many others. You can access the accumulated essays here.