Imagination and action

Inspiring Stories Trust founder Guy Ryan. "We’re one tiny organisation in an ecosystem of change that is emerging around Aotearoa – there’s a real ground swell building."
"Our greatest asset is people-power". Inspiring Stories team - Lu Davidson, Charlotte Clements, Liz Willoughby-Martin and Guy Ryan.
Guy Ryan tells us more about the Inspiring Stories Trust and the Festival for the Future in Wellington, celebrating innovative young New Zealanders.

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‘A vision to harness the power of storytelling for a better world’ might sound like wishful thinking but to Guy Ryan it’s a reality. After witnessing how his own film, Carving the Future, could be a catalyst for ideas and action, he founded the Inspiring Stories Trust.

‘A vision to harness the power of storytelling for a better world’ might sound like wishful thinking but to Guy Ryan it’s a reality. After witnessing how his own film, Carving the Future, could be a catalyst for ideas and action, he founded the Inspiring Stories Trust.

“Innovation happens when you create experiences for people from different backgrounds to come together – to explore issues, ideas and opportunities.”

He tells us more about the Inspiring Stories Trust, film competition and Festival for the Future in Wellington, celebrating innovative young New Zealanders.

Tell us a bit about your background

I grew up in a tiny town on the West Coast called Granity. At 18 I left the Coast to study at Otago Uni – six years later wrapped up with a double degree in Design & Marketing, and a Masters in Science Communication…. Pheeuuwwww!

Amidst full-time studies I grew from making surfing/skateboarding films, to co-founding a film-production company, learning about wicked problems and co-directing community festivals.

Tell us a bit about Inspiring Stories Trust

The Trust was established with the vision to harness the power of storytelling for a better world. A big part of the motivation behind it was an internationally award-winning student film I co-produced called Carving the Future – a 25-minute doco showcasing young Kiwis leading change in their communities.

Having seen how powerful film could be as a catalyst for ideas & action, I set the Trust up and successfully pitched a range of national youth-focused programmes to win a Vodafone World of Difference Scholarship in 2011. Now in year two, we’ve run more than 80 events nationwide and had thousands of Kiwis involved. This is my full-time role, it’s an absolute dream – and I’m surrounded by a team of great people!

What range of people and resources are involved?

Right now there’s a core crew of five organising our second-time national event – Festival for the Future (Nov 16–18, Te Papa). The Festival alone is a collaboration of more than 50 organisations across government, business and community sector with 300 people coming from around New Zealand to take part.

Really though, we’re one tiny organisation in an ecosystem of change that is emerging around Aotearoa – there’s a real ground swell building, it’s exciting. Resource-wise, our greatest asset is people-power – having a team with expertise across a range of creative disciplines, strong communication skills and a love for what we do.

Tell us a bit about the Inspiring stories film competition

Again – largely inspired by Carving the Future, the competition challenges filmmakers of any age & skill level to make a film around the theme “young Kiwis making a difference”. The key here is framing things in a positive light, and action-oriented. Too often we’re bombarded with negative media which only leaves people feeling disengaged, and disempowered. We live in a remarkable country, with fascinating people and projects happening nationwide – that’s something worth celebrating.

The competition has just run for the second-year. It’s twice as big, there’s a huge variety of interpretations on the theme – and on the whole, the quality is a step up from last year. We’ll be touring winners nationwide next year as part of our national tour.

How did the first Festival for the Future come about?

Innovation happens when you create experiences for people from different backgrounds to come together – to explore issues, ideas and opportunities. As part of my 2011 World of Difference year I was lucky enough to take part in a range of professional development opportunities – conferences & events, and I’d also just got back from my first big OE – soaking up as much around the social entrepreneurship space as possible. The Festival grew out of seeing an opportunity to create something new, and having some resource to do it.

Now in year two the Festival is attracting people from right across New Zealand, from all walks of life. It features an outrageously exciting line up of guest speakers, workshops and project development sessions – leveraging huge amount of generosity and high-end expertise. It’s a chance to celebrate some of our most innovative young New Zealanders – to get excited about what’s possible, and make stuff happen.

Who or what has inspired you recently?

So many people/projects. I’m most inspired by people’s willingness to devote time and energy to help others. Earlier today I was the keynote speaker for Toi Whakaari’s graduation – it was hands down the most incredible grad ceremony I’ve ever seen, the staff and students have got a great thing going on there. Humbling!

What might it take for a vibrant, sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand?

Imagination + Collaboration + Action. Easy

What’s your big idea for 2013?

Social entrepreneurship. We’re looking to build big-picture partnerships & programmes to foster & support social entrepreneurship in New Zealand. We need more Kiwis taking risks – stepping into the unknown, with better access to support, mentoring and resource to deliver better social & environmental outcomes.

Carving the Future TRAILER 90s from Splashroom Media on Vimeo.

2012 Roady – Nelson Reflection // Lu Davidson from Inspiring Stories Trust on Vimeo.

* * * The Big Idea 10th Birthday Questions * * *

What does The Big Idea mean to you?

For me The Big Idea is more practical than intellectual. An idea is nothing if you don’t action it. The Big Idea is an action-learning community, and a great platform to celebrate creativity.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

15 Nov 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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