Looking back at the first few months of Edventure, I can see how Temujen’s and my experience and learning mirrored the experience of the apprentices. Perhaps this is not surprising, especially considering that we invited the apprentices not to join as consumers of a product that we had created but as active partners in creating Edventure.
Just like the apprentices, we started with a dream, a set of abstract ideas, and a bag of thoughts and assumptions about how we can create the lives we would rather live, the world we would rather live in and the education we would rather have had. The dream propelled us into giving up previous work and other exciting opportunities and spending more time working than any other job we have had before. It felt like a risk without any guarantee of success costing us many anxious moments as well as giving us incredibly exciting sense of adventure.
I can now see how the dream let us walk naïvely and under-resourced into starting a new year-long programme, in a community we had not lived in before, with an untested business and education model- all within nine months. This naïvety is what I’m extremely grateful for, as without it, the project would never have happened.
Just a few months before our anticipated launch we met many challenges that shook our trust in the dream and business model and even in each other. Our funding and the building we had counted on fell through. Recruitment was slow, and our team shrank from four to two when we choose to start up in a small market town rather than in a city. There were times when we thought we should defer the launch of Edventure until the next year, but we wanted to learn the right lessons through doing, rather than further planning. We needed to step into the same space as we would invite the apprentices to step into.
One of the things that helped us through the muddy waters was ‘trust in the process’. Trust that plans not working out is part of the process of creating an innovation that responds to reality rather than ideas; that group conflicts are part of becoming clearer about what we want as individuals; that disengagement from what we do is part of distilling the essence that holds us together; and that the death of an old version of a team, model or idea is part of the growth of something new that better suits reality. But that trust would have left us walking blindly if we were not to have met as many allies and friends on the way, a community of people who have been with us through challenges, triumphs and celebrations. Nothing has ever been shaped and transformed by a single hand or two or three, but by a community. These are the people who contributed to Edventure Frome through practical help or conversations during the first six months of the project.