This weekend we were fortunate enough to attend the incredible Festival for the Future. Hosted by Guy Ryan and his team at the Inspiring Stories Trust, the event brought together a group of vibrant, innovative people to tell their own ‘inspiring stories’ and demonstrate how effective collaboration can combat complex issues we face in our future.

“Imagine if every young New Zealander unleashed their potential to change the world.” Guy Ryan and Malcolm Cameron, Inspiring Stories trustees, share their experiences with mentoring and intergenerational leadership.

The event was a combination of thought-provoking keynote speeches, exciting young innovators sharing their experiences and projects, and workshops that facilitated skill-sharing and networking with a diverse bunch of inspiring and interesting people.

Some highlights from our weekend included Saturday morning’s keynote speaker Alex Hannant. Executive Director of the Hikurangi Foundation, a charitable trust that supports social ventures working towards a sustainable future. Alex asked us to consider the great achievements we have already gained, as well as the gaps between our current situation and the vision we aspire to. He challenged the audience to be bold and treat the complex issues of our time as opportunities for change.

This theme was continued the following morning by Sacha McMeeking from the Ministry of Awesome, who pointed out that big problems have thousands of points of causation and need an equally complex matrix of solutions to match it.

To complement the grand ideas and contagious optimism for the future, we were presented with real examples of innovative young people, working together on exciting projects; not just talking about problems, but doing something about them.

HumbleBee founder, Veronica Stevenson, talks about how Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision inspired her to create opportunities for herself in New Zealand and explore the world of biomimcry and bioplastics to find better manufacturing solutions for outdoor apparel and waterproofing. Listen to Veronica, and two other innovators who spoke at the festival, on Radio NZ talking about their work here.

We had a fantastic time at the Festival for the Future and would like to extend our thanks to Guy Ryan and his team at Inspiring Stories. Fortunately for those of you who didn’t have an opportunity to attend, Guy has committed to running the festival in 2013. We’re already looking forward to it!