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Learnings from the road, with Bryce Ives

30 May 2023

There is something truly exhilarating about zooming up and zooming down, diving headfirst into the compelling issues and themes that weave through the tapestry of rural and regional Australia. But let me tell you, being on the road, visiting these communities, and connecting with the Institutes Regionalisation Ambition is more than just a privilege—it's an adventure of epic proportions!

In each workshop, as we unravel the threads of the Regionalisation Ambition, we witness the magic of mapping. Not your ordinary run-of-the-mill map, mind you, but a map that reveals the interconnectedness of everything happening on the ground. It's like connecting the dots on steroids! And here's the twist: amidst this mapping frenzy, we've stumbled upon unexpected synergies and connections. It's like witnessing a cosmic collision of ideas, sparking conversations about working better together and working smarter, not harder. The Regionalisation Ambition ignites a fire in their minds, encouraging participants to break free from their silos and think big— and this opens up space for meaningful conversations about what is happening on the ground in the region. 

Here's the juicy secret we've uncovered: knowledge thrives within these local communities. Oh yes, it flourishes like a field of wildflowers after a rainstorm. These regional communities hold a treasure trove of wisdom and experience far beyond what anyone (including themselves) gives them credit for. It's not just about the usual lines i.e. "the government failing to understand us". Instead, it's about acknowledging that communities are brimming with solutions. Regional communities have the power to tackle problems head-on, armed with collective brilliance. So let's kick that old-fashioned deficit mindset to the curb and embrace a new era of systems thinking in regional Australia. Let's tear down the barriers that hinder communities from implementing their ingenious solutions to those wicked problems.

Now, picture this: a busy person with kids, a job, volunteer commitments, and a farm. Who has time for a day off to attend an in-person workshop, right? Wrong! What the workshops are showing us (again and again) is taking a day off feels like a guilty pleasure we can ill afford. But here's the kicker: when we do take that leap, when we stop and connect with purpose, something incredible happens. We transcend the mundane and reach for something greater. It's like hitting the jackpot, but instead of cash, we're rewarded with inspiration and collaboration.

In one workshop, a participant from a local newspaper had an epiphany—they realised they hadn't been giving the local migrant community the coverage it deserved. In another workshop, a group of remarkable individuals discovered they held the keys to unlocking the dream of a new childcare centre in the region. These revelations unfolded because all participants committed to the day, carving out time and space to connect, collaborate, and let the sparks fly.

And now, my intrepid companions, our next stop on this extraordinary journey is Broken Hill. As we continue weaving our way through the tapestry of rural and regional Australia, let's embrace the thrill of discovery, the joy of connection, and the sheer audacity to think big and zoom in as well. Onward we go, fueled by passion, guided by purpose, and ready to make the time and space for good systems thinking (with no deficit mindset!)


       Bryce Ives