From the Initial ‘Push and Pull’ to the First Principle of Edventure.
I stared into the white, thick smog of Beijing. The Bird’s Nest Stadium was only a hundred metres away from the highrise I stood on, and yet, I could hardly see it. I had spent our previous team meeting sitting by a Ginkgo tree, the only bit of nature that was not fenced off. I had flown over to China to work with some of the most successful young entrepreneurs from Europe and China who wanted to build a better world through business. Our task was to facilitate the group to write a policy document to be handed to the President Barroso and President Wen Jiabao.
From being surrounded by some of the most talented young entrepreneurs, I got a sense of possibility. I looked out at the stadium and thought that even the Olympic Games must have started with a simple idea. At the same time, I felt irritated talking about business for a better world that was hardly scratching the surface of sustainability and ethics, and questioned my impact having flown to China to facilitate a few conversations. I was put off by a culture of entrepreneurship that was driven by prestige and success rather than deep questioning and learning about what sustainable business might really mean.
The sense of possibility gave me a pull, and my irritation a push into making a decision. I decided to make an idea happen that had grown over the past few years, and to give up most of my previous work. It felt like jumping off the skyrise I stood on, not knowing where to start, and most of all, being afraid of doing it alone. Not knowing anyone who had a similar idea and would love to embark on a journey to make it happen, had stopped me for a long time. This time, the push and pull had been strong enough to simply start, and trust that I would find peers for the journey along the way.
Temujen Gunawardena and I met in a small independent coffee shop in Brighton in December 2011 to talk about this idea that we had later called adventure it seemed immensely good timing I had decided to stop most of my work, and Temujen had just finished studying. We were both passionate about creating spaces where people could come together to make incredible things happen. We both wanted to create livelihoods that were truly sustainable and create solutions to global issues rooted in local community and an awareness of sustainability. We wanted to question and learn, and invite others to join us. Our starting point became the first principle of adventure: combining opportunities for deep learning, generating income, and creating positive social impact.