If these past two years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to always be ready for the unpredictable.  As we step into this new year, we’ve asked our team of TFF Regional Coordinators what they consider the most important skills and attitudes for change-makers to embrace in 2022 and beyond. Use these insights to align with the changing paradigm, and to join us in supporting the global transformation that the next generations have ignited everywhere. 

1. Embrace change as something positive✨

Lethicia (Europe): “Transformational change isn’t incremental, and its not just about technological innovation. It’s about new technologies within new systems that are underpinned by new values. We have the chance to develop technologies for food and agriculture that further food equity and justice, that support local and seasonal food chains, that ensure health, quality and the regeneration of resources. A win on all fronts. 

2. Unlearn🧠

Utsav (Middle East & Asia): “In every era, it is the youth who rebel against the status quo. But being a change-maker isn’t really about age. It’s about a mindset – one that is always ready to learn, but even more importantly, to unlearn. This way we can uproot prevailing untruths and injustices and see exciting opportunities with fresh eyes.” 

3. Collaborate, and then collaborate more🤝

Morris (East Africa): “As we dive into a future that will be marked by more uncertainty and ambiguity, we all need to master the art of cooperation. We have to find ways to put our egos and self-interests aside so that we can design solutions that are greater than the sum of their parts. This requires practice in things like communication, empathy, dilemma-flipping and building bridges. There are no shortcuts. 

4. Design for agility💪

Brittany (Oceania): “A clear consequence of the pandemic has been the advancement of digital collaboration and flexible workplaces. In this context, the ability to always be nible and agile is critical. Allowing your actions and decisions to adapt and adjust constantly allows individuals, start-ups and even established workplaces to be resilient to any challenges ahead.” 

5. Lead with forward-thinking🚀

Maame (West Africa): “Being a forward thinker is about thriving and achieving growth and success amidst overwhelming uncertainties. To do this, it’s important to communicate your vision authentically and from the heart. This way, you can connect the short-term goals of today and tomorrow to the bigger picture of what you are trying to achieve in the long-term.  

6. Replace “failing” with “GROWth”💡

Luke (Caribbean): “As farmers, we learn to nurture our seeds, especially when they endure harsh conditions. Developing a GROWth mindset mindset means turning disencouraging experiences and setbacks into chances to learn. Just like a seed needs tending to get stronger, during tough times, it is especially important to treat yourself and the others around you with extra care and attention.”  

7. Be generously generous💜

Jessica (Brazil): “When we look at the nature around us, we see that we are all part of a complex and beautifully-elegant system. One action to a piece of this system can affect the entire thing. That’s why we need to value our interdependence, and be generous with everyone around us and focus on keeping our relationships with each other healthy and strong.” 

8. Open up and share your experiences🗣️

Dario (LATAM): “Some people are reluctant to share their real selves and their experiences with others, especially in work settings. They think that they are losing their edge. But, actually the way to gain advantage is to dare to be open, and talk to as many people as you can. Share your good and bad experiences, pack your conversations with as many questions as you can, and then listen and learn from others. The insight or opportunity that you are looking for might just be one serendipitous conversation away.”

9. Be S.M.A.R.T🧠

Christina (Southeast Asia): “The start of a new year is always a great time to think about the future and set goals. We may be leaving one year behind, but the challenges of ensuring that we all have access to nutritious food still remains – and is as urgent as ever. To break down such a big all-encompassing challenge into actions that we can do something about, it helps to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) goals. This strategic method is a time-tested and purposeful way to make sure we can actually achieve real change.”  

10. Think and act “Glocal”🌏

Cuthbert (Southern Africa): “Everything local is global, and everything global is local – this mantra is as true as ever. That’s why we have to resist falling into parochial thinking and echo-chambers. Changing our perspectives and embracing the different scales of attitudes and behaviours that we need allows us to make positive changes at the local level that can have big global impact.” 

11. Find your support system👥.

Matt (North America): “A new year brings an opportunity to focus on our relationships – with ourselves and with those around us. Surround yourself with a constellation of inspiring role models, mentors, and teammates that you can rely on, who cheer you on, and who can help bring out the best in you.”

12. Start a revolution💥

Isabel (Central America): Bill Drayton’s has a motto: “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or to teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have completely revolutionized the fishing industry!” There is more opportunity for positive disruption to the status quo than ever – so I call on everyone who reads this to discover the revolutionist inside of you, and use that fire to drive the transformation we urgently need.”

Feel inspired to get involved?

Does this advice motivate you? Or sound like something you believe and are already doing? Join Thought For Food as one of our Regional Coordinators - we are actively recruiting!