Who is Andreja Kodrin?
AK: To put it briefly, Andreja Kodrin is someone who has left the comforts of the highest managerial positions in global business centres, to go on a journey leading her into the world of the generation Y, a world previously unknown to her. Her goal was sincere and clearly defined: to create a new paradigm and restore her hope for the future of her children, their generation, and humanity as a whole. "My life decisions can only be explained if they're put in context: first and foremost, I am a mother. I am also an exploring person, an innovative manager and a person faithful to the promises I gave to myself early in my life", says Andreja. She appreciates honesty, creativity and persistency, and believes in the power of vision.
Photo: Andreja Kodrin
Source: personal archive
Source: personal archive
What motivates you for your projects?
AK: "I find motivation in people who share an unselfish, dedicated and persistent approach to work, based on their mission and vision. Regardless of whether they are sportsmen, teachers, coaches, world leaders or scientists".
How do you experience the "Challenge:Future" project? What is the nature of the project?
AK: "In a single word – hope. I often point out that we [ed.: as a society] are unfortunately still in the phase of gaining awareness, which has yet to provide structural solutions or readiness for such solutions. We are still much more concerned with short-term goals, rather than the conditions, or even survival a decade or a century from now. Under the surface of our big words we are still ignorant and unprepared to make drastic changes. Thus, we still celebrate "the corporation" as a pillar of social responsibility, because it acts according to the principles of sustainable development in the developed world, forgetting how quickly it turns a blind eye when people in Africa are slaughtered in the interest of oil. Each and everyone of us also supports gross violations of children's rights, health and human dignity with our excessive daily shopping. We continue our destruction of the planet and our genocidal attitude towards other species we share our planet with, and totally convinced we're doing nothing wrong".
Challenge:Future is a global platform with more than a million views. It was established to promote innovative and future- and nature-oriented responsible attitude and creativity of young people. The platform was developed and is managed by Third Millennium Knowledge Lab, a Slovenian company which, in cooperation with numerous eminent partners, organises independent competitions and projects for young people from all across the globe. Their most notable competition is Challenge:Future, which takes place continuously throughout the year according to the principle of open innovation and is organised in cooperation with the IEDC - Bled School of Management and the CEEMAN international management development association. All activities of each calendar period are concluded at the Challenge:Future Summit, an exceptional multi-day event, while the obtained knowledge and ideas are published in The Future Book, which has so far been delivered to several political and business leaders, among others the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the management guru Jack Welch.Which need does the Challenge:Future project address?
AK: "Challenge:Future moves every participant, including myself, from a state of inactivity and belief that an individual cannot change anything, into an active role. We believe that every individual is responsible and capable of finding solutions for themselves, society, their company, country or the world, and to act accordingly. With the global aspect of C:F, the effects are multiplied based on cooperation and joint creativity".
Photo: The Future Book
What are the key accomplishments (short- and long-term) of the project?
AK: "The first is certainly the undeniable global nature of Challenge:Future, for we already have 24,000 members from more than 200 countries. The second is inclusiveness and openness to everyone, which is reflected in the increasing confidence and activity of people from traditionally marginalised regions and countries, such as Nigeria, Rwanda, Iran, Pakistan, Georgia, Venezuela, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and many others. Not only have these young people caught up with the youth from the USA, UK or Sweden, their ideas and projects are often more inspired. Our third achievement is our ability to constantly grow and innovate".
In the previous year alone, we have opened 21 local C:F Chapters, gained 80 local representatives, completed 94 local and global social projects, organised 14 Action Teams, which are integrated into the activities of C:F, and developed and implemented three new types of competitions, including the first selection of TEDx speakers.Are these competitions your main objective?
AK: "Competitions are only a means for motivating and engaging young people who are increasingly focusing on tangible effects in the real world. With the transition from virtual activity, based on the open-innovation/open-collaboration principle and joint creativity in the real world, we have achieved an important structural breakthrough, which will serve as the foundation for our further development".
What were the key stages in the development of the idea, and later the living project?
AK: "The beginning of the project coincided with the development of the concept of open cooperation and innovation as an upgrade of WEB 2.0. The second important decision was to position C:F within the network of educational institutions, which we were able to achieve with the help of IEDC - Bled School of Management and the CEEMAN international management development association. The third extremely important milestone, was the breakthrough C:F achieved with the young generation for they have embraced it as their own, which was largely due to the first C:F Summit in 2010. Further development, e.g. The Future Book publication, strategic cooperation with UN PRME, UNESCO, etc., helped strengthen our global image and position. Retrospectively, I find that the most important milestone was ensuring that the main competition and the Youth 4 Youth competition have actual effects in the real world, which allowed us to jointly improve the lives of 270,000 children and youth across the globe".
What are the future opportunities for the development of the project?
AK: "I am hoping C:F will become a powerful platform for expression of the voices of young people at all levels of social, economic and political life, which will also provide them with a bridge during the years when they are obtaining an education and employment, and become an incubator for many business and social enterprises, projects and talents".
The 21st century is no longer a time for elitism, it is the time of an open society. (A.Kodrin)What can the local environment do to encourage more such significant projects?
AK: "The message of C:F is that the 21st century is no longer a time for elitism, it is a time of an open society. This means we need to ensure opportunities for initiatives and projects through which participants will also be able to learn from experience. The closer you are to the core of the problem and the more tangible it is to you, the greater the probability you will be moved by the experience. However, cooperation among different partners who can complement each other and create global synergies is also absolutely NECESSARY".
Can you give us an example of an inspiring story?
AK: "Interesting, encouraging and wonderful stories unfold daily. We have a member who has travelled across Africa reading segments from The Future Book to illiterate people. Our competition has led a student from India to the schools in slums and is currently developing new technology desperately needed for the education of these children; a student from Vietnam who has won one of our competitions has been forbidden to continue her award-wining project by the secret police. We have a student from the Dominican Republic who was an alumnus in 2010 and has participated in all last year's competitions and has won twice. However, alongside these inspiring stories there are also bitter ones. For example, when we were starting the project a risk capital fund from New York was trying very hard to stop our project for it was competing with one of their investments". [ed.: No surprise. Once you are visible someone will inevitably find you threatening.]
Where do you see the opportunities for the future of the world?
AK: "I believe sustainable economic development should be the main goal of humanity. If our civilisation decides it wants to survive, it will be forced to develop new business models and technologies in the coming years and prepare and adapt for a period of great unpredictability and risks. I believe opportunities lie in cooperation and joint creativity with as few words and as many results as possible. Expectations and desires regarding wealth, fame and power need to be more self-restrained. Social profit should become equal to financial profit for we need to understand that we only have one planet and we need to preserve it for future generations. We can start implementing all of the above immediately".
Thank you, Andreja. For this wonderful story. For this wonderful project. For your vision and manifestation. May good energies be with you. I hope you will be joined by many sincere people!
Our European meeting in April this year is progressing. Over 150 participants will meet in Vienna. Our Change the Game Symposium is scheduled on the 12th April from 11 am to 5:30 pm. If you still want to participate, but have not sent your own contribution to present, there will be daily tickets available at the registration desk.
In January InCo movement succesfully completed the first session in the new InCo Cycle (Intuition: From the subconcoiusness to conciusness). For more klick here.