The 12 pioneers of Christmas

by Jeff Wellstead
December 19, 2017

This time of year always inspires a natural retrospection of the amazing things, people and transformations I’ve come across in my consulting travels in 2017.  And though this time of year often hearkens me to slow down, take stock and breathe slowly to rest up for an exciting New Year yet to come, I can’t help but sense an undercurrent of urgency, intensity and slight panic about the state of change, rapid adaptation and mind-numbing pace of transformation taking place in every human endeavour (geo-political, global conflict, economic and technological arenas).

What has me slightly panicked is the seeming lack of readiness for adaptation that leaders and organisations are presenting in the face of what is otherwise a complete re-invention of how we create, conceptualise and bring new ideas to life. Standing here stationary, as I often do around Christmas Day, I can see two massive divides forming. The elder generation of traditional hierarchical monoliths struggling to grasp the re-invention process, and the newer generation of re-inventors who are challenging every known premise of 20th century thinking – known as The Disruptors. But is it really that simple? The Old Folks vs. the Young Kids? The, “this is the way we’ve always done things and we’re not going to change” versus the, “throw everything out the window and start from scratch” paradigm.

Interestingly there is a group of emergent mental magicians who are coming out of the woodwork to lend their mastery and rapid adaptation to this hyper-convergent landscape of transformation. You can’t define them by generation, age, historical context or other demographic means. These are The Pioneers – men and women, young and old, experienced and nascent – who can only be defined by their sense of creative energy and playful attitude toward experimentation. Who see life as a massive sandbox of imagination and who aren’t hampered by status quo thinking, or caught up in ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’ approaches to everything.  

They are singing off a different hymn sheet than the rest of humanity, they are natural thought leaders, re-inventors, imagineers, shapers of the future and won’t accept a repeatable standard for anything. To them life is about playing, creating, shaping incredible outcomes, fascinating products, new ways of building a future and better ways of living in an ever-changing world.  These people live amongst us everyday, and they’re not necessarily the leaders in the spotlights of media, nor the limelight of life but rather often quiet directors and inspirers of everyday activities that explode the way we’ve always looked at things and change our perspectives forever.

These people are the hope of our future generations. They don’t think the way most people do but rather react to the toys they have to play with, the new friends they meet everyday. They act more like children approaching a playground than the majority of us sitting in traffic, frustrated up with our dystopian existence. These are the very people, in all walks of life, who create magic everyday and will help us get to another plane of reality together. I’d love to highlight some of those incredible people here with my 12 Days of Christmas Pioneers:

  1. Dave Millner
  2. Anna Mamalaki
  3. Perry Timms
  4. Gary Walker
  5. Jamie Hindhaugh
  6. Glenn Martin
  7. Karen Dempster
  8. Andrea Johnson
  9. Carmen Carey
  10. Tom Haak
  11. Andrew Lam-Po-Tang
  12. Giles O’Halloran

If you’re not already connected to these people, have a poke around their LinkedIn profiles and see if you can find any connection to their missions, journeys or achievements thus far.  These folks certainly inspired me to go beyond my comfort zone, explore the outer reaches of my known universe and become a better person in the process.

Of course there are more of these either un-sung or well-sung heroes making change and rapid adaptation a reality, whom I’ve been grateful and honoured to meet this past year. But as there are only 12 days of Christmas, I am only highlighting those folks who have really made a deep impression on me in 2017. As we approach 2018 at breakneck speed, take time to reflect on those folks whom you think have made a deep impression on you, who are busy bringing things to life and helping light the path for others around them to achieve exponential greatness and human potential. How can you repay their contribution to our collective future, and team up with them in 2018 to bring about a better world together?  

I know I’ll be thanking my lucky stars for having had these people come into my life, and hope that you too will be able to rattle off a few lucky charms who have ‘wandered’ into your lives – kindred spirits with a bit of magic in their pockets and passion in their hearts for realising the seemingly impossible. I wish you a wonderful holiday season with friends and family as we wind down 2017 together. Rest up… it’s going to be a very wild 2018! 

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