When did you last hear an amazing story? A tale of derring-do, help medical or grand ambition, shop heights scaled, ambulance depths plumbed – simple stand-up human decency or quiet unassuming endurance or some quirky ingenuity fit to inspire generations to come. The kind of stuff they used to sing songs about, and still do.
Sat around their dining table one evening, David and Clare Hieatt pondered. They were rubbing their chins over what they could really do about the things they cared about. They’d started howies back in 1995, something of an awesome inspirational-type clothes company in itself, but this was clearly not enough. From that evening of reflection, they figured that the world’s Doers are the best people to inspire people to go Do something. In David’s words, ‘They show us what is possible. They leave a trail that we can follow. Knowing how they did it helps us to connect the dots about how we can do it. They give us the inspiration, the final push we need to go and do our thing. Whatever that might be. From starting a new business, to inventing something that hasn’t been done before to fighting for your cause, doers seek.’
And so the Do Lectures were born – a series of talks by people who have Done stuff, and might well Do more, if we let them up and at it – a few days gathering each year to share ideas and stories, to meet other fantastic Doers, and thereby get these stories out and about in the world. Here are a few Qs – the As courtesy of David Hieatt – that might give you more of an idea.
Why do people get involved with the Do Lectures?
There isn’t a set of talks like it in Britain. The talks have sustainability at its heart. Their reason to exist is to make a positive change. The speakers do not get paid but we do cover their expenses. Speakers come from all over the world to tell their story. They want to share their learning, they want to share their new ideas, they want to share their journey. They want to tell the world about the change they have made or are seeking to make. It might be a small tent but there are some big ideas being shared. They have a story to tell. People remember stories. They forget facts.
How do you choose your speakers for the Do Lectures?
We spend the year researching the speakers. We find out who has written the most interesting books, written the most thought provoking articles, who is doing the bravest thinking in their field, and then we pull from that research and start to compile a short list. We already have some of the speakers booked for next year. We also have a number of Do mentors throughout the world. They report back to us from time to time. They tell us who their doers are in their part of the world. They we literally get on the phone to the people we are going to invite. Even in the second year, an invite is starting to carry some kudos.
What is the most unusual topic for this year’s Do Lectures?
Maybe, Mount Everests binman. Or a school that aims to create chaos and not order. Maybe the man wants to change how concrete is made. Or maybe the man who’s doodles have ended up on the big screen for what could be the biggest film of the year: Where the Wild Things Are.
Where do you see the Do lectures in 5, 10, 20 years’ time?
In 5 years – There will be a series of How to Do books. That cover the subjects that the talks cover from clean tech to inventing to climate change. Global talks. The talks will take place all over the world. From Sydney, to Bangalore, to Stockholm, to Tokyo, to San Francisco, to Beijing. The talks will over time become an important set of talks, respected throughout the world. In 10 years – The aim for the Do Lectures over the next decade is to build a world resource for Doers and to supply that knowledge for Free for the world to use. To make a positive change. In 20 years – To build A Do school. There will be a physical and a virtual library available free to the world.
So here’s a gathering with a difference. At one thousand pounds a place, you’re less buying a ticket, more contributing to the speakers’ expenses and the future free distribution of the lectures. David and Clare are thinking big – what is fast becoming a respected annual event should attract over a million people across the world this time around to get inspired for free. If you can go, I most humbly and slightly jealously urge you, go. And if a back seat is the order of the day – well, don’t make a habit of sitting there. Once this year’s stories are out and available, I think there’ll be more than enough get-up to go. Yes, I surely Do.
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