The Do Lectures have a global reputation. Rightly so.
A friend Ruth Kennedy first told me about them. What stayed with me was not what she said but how she talked about her experience. Her energy.
I started following Do co-founder David Hieatt’s blog, bought some of their books (Do Story by Bobette Buster is a goodie), and had it on my love-to-do-sometime-list.
Getting there isn’t straightforward. It’s held in a field in south-west Wales. Ireland is closer than London. Even before that, you fill out an application form with questions that made me sweat. The hardest one: draw a doodle of yourself. My attempt is above.
Like all good festivals, there’s a price tag that goes with it. But this is a festival for the mind — and heart. (Interestingly they flip the events’ business model: participants pay, speakers don’t get paid; the talks are shared for free, with no advertising, to grow the worldwide Do community.)
“The place had immaculate vibes”, said one Do-er. While it brought out the best in us, it would have been even better with more diversity throughout.
Still, something extraordinary – and regenerative – can happen when you put one hundred pretty amazing humans in a field for three days; ask speakers to share the essence of who they are (which at times moves you to tears); have intentional provocations and real conversations; curate natural spaces with fire pits, an open-air amphitheatre, a Welsh choir and al fresco dining among the flower beds.
Not to mention a gin bar and live music acts including a virtuoso sax performance by James Morton who had half of us pumping like pogo-sticks.
I’m left with clothes smelling of wood smoke, a new yummy network of committed change makers and a brain fizzing with ideas. When my husband Aden picked me up, he summed it up nicely. “You look like your synapses are sparking like a V12 motor, the clean kind, electric-powered.”
So, this will be the first of a few posts sharing what I heard.
When you don’t know: muddle
I’m kicking off with an introduction to Omid Maleka, Explainer-in-chief of Blockchain Technology, who spoke about his journey into crypto… and how:
“When you don’t know what to do … when we don’t know our story… muddle.”
He explained crypto in a way that I hadn’t previously understood. He held up the first CD he bought when he migrated to America as a teenager.
“The scarcity of society has been an organising system for ever. Take this CD, if I gave it away, I would feel like I lost something… Now think about streaming. What happens if I share the music file instead?”
Of course we all know the benefit and convenience of streaming, but we give up something of value. “That’s the trade off.”
Omid described the difference between cash (universal, free and private) and Apple Pay (my words here – elitist, costly and monetising our data).
“Apple Pay. Think how much they own,” said Omid.
At the heart, he challenged us to reframe value. “Big tech and big banks are stuck in the old paradigm… which is to hoard. Crypto represents a very different story.”
Move faster-er and be braver
The point is this. At Do, everyone was there for change. Whether through our business or ourselves, or for the planet.
We want to leave the world in a better place. We have no choice but to try.
As Andy Middleton, MC and Sustainability Catalyst, reminds us on the last day.
“In the time we’ve been here – the world has had the three hottest days in its history. Don’t go away being optimistic because we are in a s**t place. But go away and be braver.”
Hi, I’m Claire. Through my business Wordstruck we help companies bring their sustainability strategy to life. As the Founder of Regenerative Storytelling, we’re helping leaders do more for their people, their community and the planet. I publish regular content about storytelling, regenerative leadership and reframing how to address our rapidly heating world. To see more of my content, please sign up – and join the conversation by sharing a comment below.