Monday 17 August 2015

Global Integrators--15

Global Innovators
Making Important and Sustainable Differences 

We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, 
we pledge that no one will be left behind.
Transforming Our World: The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
(United Nations, Preamble, 1 August 2015)
(note that the word “innovation” appears 20 times in this document)

First World Problems, Weird Al Yankovic

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to come together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skillfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).

This entry highlights the need for important innovations to really make a sustainable difference in the plethora of the world’s great problems and the world’s vulnerable people. Specifically, we offer some ideas on personal qualities that can help people like you and me make a difference in our world as global innovators who are helping to build the future we want and wanting to be the people we need. Many of these characteristics overlap with the material in previous entries and can also be understood as commitments. I find them to be especially relevant for the UN’s transformative agenda for sustainable development, with its five overlapping areas of people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships—to which I unswervingly add a sixth crucial area: probity (i.e. virtue, integrity, adherence to the highest principles).  As with many of these entries, this current entry on global innovators is still a work in progress!
Some Characteristics of Global Innovators
1. Not content with the status quo
--Not business as usual
--Leave no one behind
--Transformation at all levels, from the personal to the macro systemic
**Example: Peoples Health Movement (PHM)

The PHM is a global network bringing together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations and academic institutions from around the world, particularly from low and middle income countries...We currently have a presence in around 70 countries. Guided by the People’s Charter for Health (PCH), PHM works on various programmes and activities and is committed to Comprehensive Primary Health Care and addressing the Social, Environmental and Economic Determinants of Health. The world is facing a global health crisis characterized by growing inequities within and among nations and millions of preventable deaths, especially among the poor. These are in large degree due to unfair economic structures which lock people into poverty and poor health. In 2000, concerned activists, academics and health workers got together for the first People’s Health Assembly. The People’s Charter for Health (PCH), our founding document was developed and PHM was born.” 
2.  Making a difference
--Low and middle income countries and colleagues
--Vulnerable people
--Focus on the big stuff
**Example: MHIN/Grand Challenges Canada

“What is a Grand Challenge? A grand challenge is a specific critical barrier that, if removed, would help solve an important health problem in the developing world, with a high likelihood of global impact through widespread implementation….Historically, some of the greatest impacts in global health were from innovators who tried out bold ideas. The discovery of vaccines over 200 years ago and of antibiotics in the last century are classic examples of unorthodox thinking that resulted from bold ideas that have had big impact and saved millions of lives…” 

3. Awareness of the global context
--Staying current with global events, issues, reports, etc.
--Understanding the multi-faceted nature of most major issues
--Pursuing inter-sectoral involvement
**Example: Understanding the Current Global Context, Global Integration Update, Member Care Associates, April 2015
How are we doing as a world community? How can we better understand current efforts to promote wellbeing for all? Here are five current materials to help us explore these important questions. The first four materials are reports that overview the state of world's development (items 1-3) and peacebuilding (item 4). We encourage you to take the time to at least read the overviews/summaries and to make some notes/applications as you do so. We have gone over these items many times (and with several colleagues) in order to grasp the content, new terms, and implications for our world, our work, and our lives…”
4. Ethical Imperatives for the common good
--Personal responsibility with moral courage
--Sense of urgency
--Contempt for evil
**Example: Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home, Pope Francis (May 2015)

“158. In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters. This option entails recognizing the implications of the universal destination of the world’s goods, but…it demands before all else an appreciation of the immense dignity of the poor in the light of our deepest convictions as believers. We need only look around us to see that, today, this option is in fact an ethical imperative essential for effectively attaining the common good."

5. Mentality and Lifestyles
--A way of thinking
--A way of being
--A way of relating
**Example:  See the opening music video, First World Problems…and avoiding consumerism, corruption, complacency, etc.

6. Working together
--Finding common ground
--Building a professional community
--Connecting and contributing
**Example: Mental Health Innovation Network

“We’re a community of mental health innovators - researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, service user advocates, and donors from around the world - sharing innovative resources and ideas to promote mental health and improve the lives of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders.”
7. Etc.: funding, organizational and governmental backing, perseverance, creativity....
**Examples: Forces for Good (nonprofit organizations), How to Change the World (social entrepreneurs), A Path Appears...

Finally, and pulling some of these ideas together, watch the trailer for the film A Path Appears:

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