KulturImPuls

Culture, Communication and Learning for thriving in times of change

Wings for Life – Uplifting Experience

Posted by juttajerlich on 6. May 2014

flying#netacad
#worldrun

The Wings for Life World Run is the first time ever that a global race took place in 33 countries and 34 locations at the same time. For me it was the proof that we can all do something together at the same time. It was the proof that the technology we have at our fingertips can actually bring us together and unite our minds and spirits for one cause.

This is just wonderful and a very powerful realization.

How did the idea for participating in this event get started?

Having worked with teachers and students for many years, I started to hear from teachers over and over that students do not read their study materials any more, everything is too long or too much. There is no motivation to learn. There is too much information out there and it is hard to choose. In contrast, in a conversation with a friend, he was telling me about the motivation – no actually much more than that – the dedication of Iron Man competitors or Marathon runners. I started to think about how I could find a way to put such kind of passion into learning. I went on a quest to discuss this with students and they told me that it would be great for them to see real life implementations of networking technology they can study and learn from.

Then the Wings for Life World Run project was presented to me and it made “klick”.

In technical terminology the technology that made this event possible is called nowadays called Internet-of-Everything Technology and Networking Technology is at its heart. I am supporting and promoting the Networking Technology Education Program for the IT Solutions provider Cisco Systems, the Cisco Networking Academy. This Education Program is in 165 countries and with its 1.000.000 students worldwide it is called the largest classroom of the world.

Such an event happening was the invitation from life, the unique opportunity to connect people with passion to learners by allowing them to take a look behind the scenes to understand the technological solution and see in front of their own eyes what it takes in terms of team work and leadership to implement a global race. To have this opportunity alone is great but there was another challenge I added. We shared the information and knowledge gained with the larger international network of learners in the Networking Academy program in many countries.

Here are my reflections about how it all went:

Did the experience prove true to your expectations?

The answer is a definite YES.

It is actually more than a Yes, because it exceeded my expectations. Being able to meet the people who had the idea of a World Run and the huge team who made it reality is more than I could imagine. Each single person is fully committed to making the event a success with his or her heart and mind. This energy will touch you. It will inspire you.

Every group member took his own time to feel the energy in its full power.
“Wow, this is exactly what I would love to do as a job …”
“… you started your company with 25?
“I need to plan for this next time … .”
“ … thanks … it is great to be here.”

It is so exceptionally motivating to see a world that is doing the run together as ONE. Being part of this effort by making it a learning experience adds another level that should help to unite the youth in making the world theirs.

Did the students really learn what you expected them to learn?

Our group with Felix, Maximilian, Ivica, Nathan and Kevin was just great. The group was diverse – they were all from different backgrounds, with different interests and skills, at different stages in their life – and at the same time they were all ambitious, open to each other’s views and ideas which helped immensely to quickly find a way to work as a team. It was amazing to feel how sad we all were when our time together was over, including me. They all learned to communicate and share their knowledge in a team and for a larger network. A skill that is so important for any job in life, but rarely ever taught in school or university.

What was the most important for me: I could see the spark in their eyes when they fully understood the essence of my message. How do you know when that happens? Usually a person is rather quiet at that moment and you can literally see this moment of understanding, this insight in their eyes and facial expressions.

What was not so good or needs further improvement?

My real world learning activity was not that easy to explain. It is a complex collaboration on more than one level between five stakeholders who could not have done this alone. It is only possible to be successful if all partners bring their part to the table. Multi stakeholder partnerships are hard to explain and require not only the right attitude but also the ability to recognize an opportunity at the right point in time and in the fitting context.

It is just hard to explain to someone. It is hard to put in a few words. We live in a time of information overflow and people do not (have the time to) read any more. Marketing and Communication have to be short, precise and if possible, less than 140 characters, to be used in twitter messages to catch the interest of readers. Well, this is extraordinarily difficult when trying to explain a project that requires a multi stakeholder partnership to realize.

It seems that people are not able any more to identify opportunities and projects that are worth their time and effort. Continuing this work I will have to find better ways to explain the opportunities or find different words or images to make people understand their significance.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH
I want to thank each and everyone who did take the time to read the materials and to speak to me. Each single person who involved him or her in this project did so because of a personal relationship with me or another person I personally know or work with.

Thanks for trusting in me and my initiative.
I will build on this foundation we created for future collaboration and the next Wings for Life World Run on the 3rd of May 2015.

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