Snap out of it! The long weekend is behind us and we have settled back into furious work. This week has been mostly self directed, however we have also had a pitch den with the lovely Sara Jones and Rebecca Milne to give the teams advice on how to improve their pitches. We seem to be repeatedly welcoming back into the space Nic Hadley and Rupert Ross who treated us to some awesome interactive workshops. Dan from Akina also visited the teams for one-on-one chats to encourage teams to stop and rethink their ideas once again. We’ve even had workshops and sessions taught by our very own participants and crew, what a bunch of multi-talented people! We have a great space here at AUT and we love that the mentors and speakers who come in to talk to us fit into our “zone”, you’re all welcome anytime!
This week our #AKL team farewelled our facilitator Alex Devereux who has left to join the Fonterra Business Graduate programme. We threw him a goodbye morning tea with lots of yummy treats and festivities. Thank you for all of your hard work during the programme Alex, we all appreciate it and are wishing you luck for the future!
We also celebrated Vic’s birthday by throwing a surprise birthday bash! Happy birthday Vic with much love from the team!
Overall it has been quite a busy week, but I managed to sit down and have a chat with the second Plastic Diet member, Josefina Peters-Didier about her experiences with plastic and the importance of passion in everything that you do…
We’ve already heard a bit about Plastic Diet from Samuditha in Week 3, but has your idea changed or evolved since then?
Every day it changes! Every time you think you have an idea and everyone will love it, you talk to someone else and they say maybe it’s not so good. It’s easy to get carried away with side ideas, so you always have to have your purpose super clear.
In our case it’s reducing the use of plastic at the source. We keep going back to the idea of recycling but the truth is that that doesn’t solve a problem.
Is it difficult to be open to change within your idea?
Yes because you get attached to ideas and sometimes you have to let them go. Maybe they are bad ideas, or for some reason it’s unlikely those ideas can physically happen, or it’s not the time for them yet. We keep record of all the ideas and we’re trying to figure out when they could actually happen. It can be quite frustrating but we will keep working towards it.
How are you personally connected to the idea of “reducing single use plastic at the source”?
I have always loved the ocean, taking care of it and the animals that live in it, even as a little child. Then I thought well now I want to become a marine biologist, but if I want to make a change I need to be a bloody good marine biologist. I just finished my PHD and even though the research is fascinating it’s really hard to make a change. You spend years creating research and only a few people will read about it. There are things going on in society today that we need to act on. Live the Dream came at a perfect time, I had just finished university and I had always been super concerned about plastic pollution.
I have the credentials so now I want to act on it. I’m still very divided because I love research but that only reaches a small audience. I’ve got to do something big!
What have you been up to this week?
Throughout the programme we have been talking to as many people as we can. We have been working on other areas that could make bigger impact through the use of plastic.
I wish we could be at the moment when we’re working on our business model. But it’s such a complicated issue that we still aren’t quite there yet. I think the most important thing is to create awareness and the most difficult thing is to link that with money or an income stream. We might just start with campaigns until we get more recognition from the community. Then once we’ve created awareness and have more people onboard, we will start thinking about revenue streams.
What has stuck with you so far throughout the programme?
I had this weird conception that in business you have to show that you’re a business person, but now I realise that it is about being genuine in yourself and saying “I want to make a change in the world”. That is the best way to connect with people.
Everything that you do, if you do it from the heart, will lead to success.
I’ve seen that so many times throughout the programme, by respecting who you are and being absolutely genuine. The question for me is when you’re really genuine and hard working, at what point will it start working? I want things to start working now, but I guess it’s like they say, when you see a good idea it took 9 years in the making…
If you stay true to yourself you can make a change in the world.
What has been the biggest challenge of the Live the Dream programme so far?
I guess it’s just scary when your idea doesn’t work. It comes down to external factors which is really scary because sometimes it doesn’t matter if you have all of this passion and conviction.
I’m guessing you have faced some external issues?
Every time we have a new idea. We’re going to make it happen and we don’t want to disappoint people. Getting to know all of the people that have gone through what we’re going through and seeing where they are now is very inspiring.
What is driving you to spend ten weeks of your life here at Live the Dream?
I love challenges. Anything that sounds scary I normally go for it because I will come out a better person. I just love taking the leap. Even if it sounds scary, just going in and figuring it out. You are putting yourself on the line and other people have their eyes on you, so it’s essentially an all or nothing kind of thing. Putting yourself on the line is an addictive feeling.
If you consciously decide to take the risk, you will give it all.
I’ve got one last big question… What is your vision for this world?
I could guarantee that people and society would be so much more happy if we reconnect and take care of things. Part of the plastic programme is that people have become so independent, its quick, its easy; it’s the takeaway culture. Somehow when you remove plastic from the picture there’s suddenly more connection. There is value in protecting something or caring for a cause. It’s really difficult at first, but if everybody starts doing it I think we would be better with each other and with nature.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I told Guy the other day that I am so grateful. I want this “leap of faith” situation to finally lead somewhere amazing. The feeling of giving back to everybody, it’s like a secret rewards club.
How you guys are helping us at the moment, I wish I could do someday for you.
We’re working really hard and I don’t think that work is going nowhere. When you know you have the skills to make it work it’s all about determination. If you’re determined enough to make something work it will sort itself out in time.