Two years in, it is still a learning curve.
Setting LocalMotion up during the height of the pandemic meant that we pivoted to a two-year development phase. This is allowing places more breathing space to try ideas and create a longer-term plan that will come back to funders for a funding decision in 2023.
These are my reflections on what has been most impactful so far.
1. Relationships are systems change
Bringing together people in places and with funders has been key. I would do this earlier and more often if I had my time again.
2. Including funders' Trustees in the work is invaluable
Their perspective is crucial to re-imagining philanthropy.
3. A ‘failing forward’ ethos of taking the next right step together
This has offered the most security to places in chipping away at the risk-averse ethos of being certain something will work (and that all your outcomes are nailed down) before you approach a funder about it.
The strength of the funders’ shared ethos has been crucial here. We can’t wait to know all the answers before we do something, but we can learn from what we do, and iterate from there.
4. Transparency and a curious mindset go a long way
We’re always trying to get under the surface of what’s going on, uncovering hidden dynamics and building the trust to handle powerful conversations more openly.
5. Capacity challenges abound
The 'radical everyday' way to maintain momentum lies in challenging ourselves, at least as much as we challenge others, to be different and to change – what outcomes are we contributing to that we want to change? The ‘shiny and new thing’ is often about connecting existing work and ideas to build on them collaboratively.
6. Make the impossible possible
We’re working on big structural challenges that can feel overwhelming. So connect people to ideas and inspiration often. Bust those myths! Communities can be trusted (and inventive) on big structural issues. You can create change, even if you don’t have everyone you would like in at the start. If it feels too big, make it smaller and take that next right step.
We’re acting our way to the future here, so ultimately I don’t know how successful LocalMotion will be. We have strong relationships, big ideas and the connections to create change. I hope that LocalMotion will connect with other programmes to build a network of people who can mentor, coach, and support each other in a more ‘open source’ way.
Ultimately my advice is: connect with people, ask questions, share your learning. I am always humbled by the time and expertise people have given me. It’s a privilege to be able to learn, ask questions and try things out with those who have been on, and those who are travelling, a similar journey. Thank you!