Appreciation + Question – Pollinators and Transitions

This post is in the form of a personal letter, of which I’ve been writing quite a few lately. The form I’ve been using is of Appreciation + Question. The form is to firstly ground in my positive intention and sincere appreciation of the efforts made, contributions given, conditions enabled by the other party, and secondly to pose a shared question oriented in a shared direction.**

The letter below, was intended initially for a wider audience, but in the end just to our Board. Our Chairperson and Community Lead subsequently wrote a better communication on behalf of Pollinators to our members to communicate changes. This meant this letter and the invitation moved from something explicit to all, instead held as my intention and open question embodied in interactions. And now, on this blog, for whoever wants to read it!

Note: The photo, above, was the the a breakfast with some Board members after composing this letter. It was at SaltDish cafe, appropriate as that’s where the first Pollinators conversations and ‘Friday Fika’ breakfast meetings started, back in 2010.

This is a brief personal letter to say thankyou, as I make a transition.

For the last 6 years I’ve had the incredible fortune to connect, collaborate and create with many of you. In doing so I’ve grown, learned, and benefitted immeasurably. My own experience has been coherent, aligned with the win-win-win-win ethos – aligning the benefits and ‘blooming’ of individuals, organisations, partners and communities.

The intention from 2010 was to enable Pollinators to exist as a truly sustainable network, entity and part of a local ecosystem and community: that it’s contribution and benefits would continue long-term, and be independent of funding, economic cycles and reliance on particular individuals. This long-term view has guided many decisions about our investment in governance, projects, systems, people, intellectual property, infrastructure and relationships. This same long-term view and maturing is what makes it easy to step out of from my role as a “Lead” within the organisation.

Instead of a formal leadership role, I’ll be like many of our members who are also coworkers, collaborators, contractors, all giving at least as much as they get, leaving the community, entity and shared spaces better for them having been there, and enjoying being part of the learning. What I’ll actually be working on is sharing the learning across the State and nation – working with more than a dozen similar networks and organisations. While this shift has been happening for years, and I wrote about it 18 months ago, it can take a long time for the conditions to enable the transition of individuals and organisations.

As I change focus and have the last moments of your attention, I’d like to as one last question.

What are the conditions enabling of sustainable human communities?

And, ask of your response before sharing it

“Would I do it?”.

That question – implicating oneself in the implementation of an idea – refers to an ethos that has become increasingly evident as the distinguishing characteristic of the entrepreneurs and innovators I’ve worked with that have been most effective and worth investing in. By taking that question seriously, they avoid making glib suggestions or advocating for wise choices or actions others should do. Instead, they consider seriously the question, their learning, and only advocate for it when it’s something they themselves intend to embody, enable and enact.

If you have reflections on that aspiration to sustainability, or on what are / will do to enable its realisation, I’d love to hear about it. And, I’m sure others would to. Your insights may inform the future directions for Pollinators, Geraldton, all of us who care about the future or regional (and more widely, any) communities.

You can share via Podio with Pollinators (if you are a member) with me (andrew [at] or on Twitter @ArOuthwaite).

Thankyou, for the past, present and future benefits of your being and contribution.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch wherever we may meet: as a member, collaborator, on social media, on the streets and out in nature.


Andrew Outhwaite

** I took up this “Appreciation + Question” practise as an antonym and antidote to the regularly-felt-but-rarely-directly-communicated (instead held in mind, written in journals) emotions generated through interactions with others in personal or professional life. Sometimes I did express those feelings, and almost every time it was poor timing or inappropriate: either too-late, received as surprising expressions of care and appreciation a month after the instance that generated it, or cynical and pointed questions that undermined good relationships and future potential at exactly the moment we were on the brink of shared victory. So far, the  positive impact of these letters has been incredible, positive, and more effective than I could have ever anticipated.

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