Snapshot of the Future

Festival for the Future 2012 by Megan Salole
Patu at the Festival for the Future
Make Stuff Happen at the Festival for the Future
Notes from the Festival for the Future
Streaming and twitter wall at the Festival for the Future
In this guest MsBehavour File, Helen Baxter covers the Festival for the Future 2012, an annual gathering of young filmakers, innovators and changemakers from across New Zealand.


By Helen Baxter

I have seen a snapshot of the future and it’s an exciting, vibrant place, going by the passion and determination shown at the Festival for the Future. Over three hundred Creatives + Entrepreneurs + Community Innovators in their teens and early twenties, converged at Te Papa for a weekend of conversations, collaboration and action.

The Friday night launch event was opened by Taiko drummers in the Te Papa Marae, and a Kapa Haka performance from Patu. Speeches and welcomes came from a diverse range of voices including Guy Ryan - CEO of the Inspiring Stories Trust, the Wellington Mayor, MP Paula Bennett and Grace Taylor a spoken word artist who is proudly from South Auckland.

Not many conferences start the day with dancing, and even a launch night party at the San Francisco Bathhouse didn’t affect the energy levels on Saturday morning. There were too many inspiring comments from the keynotes and young innovators to quote everyone, but thanks to the live streaming team you can watch the podcasts on You Tube.

The keynotes were followed by workshops divided into five themes - an Innovation Cafe, About Change, Develop Your Toolkit, Creativity & Play and the Power of Film. You can read notes from the workshops and keynotes summaries in the collaborative reporting document made by Loomio:

Saturday night was the ceremony for the Inspiring Stories National Film Awards. Congratulations go to the following winners:

On Sunday morning I ran a workshop with Ben Knight on ‘21st Century Organising’. I talked about my involvement in the #Blackout campaign of 2009, and Ben introduced Loomio, an open source tool inspired by the Occupy movement. It has been designed to to help gain consensus within groups, and is being developed in Wellington by the Enspiral Collective.

We set the agenda with an unconference or participant-led discussion with the goal of identifying common problems faced by organisers and volunteers, and suggesting potential solutions. At the end we co-created a 21st Century Organising Toolkit for communicating, collaborating, automating and delegating: - simple, agile, project management and remote collaboration, activity streams for teams (email for Trello workshops)

Hootsuite - free social media management for up to 5 channels, for tracking hashtags, cross-posting, following, creating lists, scheduling messages

Doodle - easy scheduling, vote on the best times for meetings

Yammer - internal conversations, collaboration and knowledge flows (used by Enspiral to connect 85 people worldwide)

Loomio - consensus and group decision making. Made in New Zealand!

Google - Hangouts - video conferencing for up to ten people; Calendar - shared schedules); Drive - collaborative documents

Creative Commons for content creators who want their work to be shared. Watch CC Kiwi to learn how CC licenses work

I have created a Festival for the Future 2012 storify page to capture some of the comments and feedback from the weekend, but here’s a few key quotes to take away:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and it's the mavericks who can create solutions. When a child sees a tree they think climb, when an adult sees a tree they think fall. Young people have always been at the forefront of change, and are the greatest renewable resource on the planet. The world is far more malleable than we realise, and change starts with a small group of committed people.

Ideas come from listening to people, and evolution waits for no one. Biomimicry can solve all our problems because nature has already solved them for us. Just because you don't have a student card, doesn’t mean you're not a student any more. Happiness spreads from person to person, like dye in water.”

Alex Hannant from the Hikurangi Foundation summed things up beautifully: “I’m a cynic but there's a new energy in here: It's empathic without being sentimental, it's optimistic without being naive”.

The Festival for the Future 2012 was a truly ‘phenomenonical’ experience - one that will go on to create phenomenons, as well as new words.

Written by


21 Nov 2012


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