From scarcity, grows ingenuity

My parents were never ones to be short of ideas. Masters of repurposing the old and creating the new, they would reuse or invent new things to make our family life easier, prettier or better. My mum would keep hold of ‘anything that could serve us later’ and my dad was certainly the most ingenious person I knew (and they both haven’t changed!). Our first family car, a 1976 Datsun F-10, experienced my dad’s ‘ingenuity’ when a saw, a welder and some paint gave it a new life and transformed it into our camping trailer. Every subsequent car received the same treatment...

Yes, my parents were never short of ideas - and they loved executing them. But as I reflect on the wacky and clever creations that surrounded me in my childhood, I know that these were not only the result of enjoyment, but in fact, scarcity.

When resources are scarce, the greatest ingenuity and innovations can arise... 

I experienced this as a child and now, CEO of a small, 7-year young for purpose organisation, ‘scarcity’ is real. From a people point of view, we only ever had a small (but mighty) part-time team. When The Helmsman Project was founded, skills-based committees were formed to allow us to tap into the amazing talent and generosity of pro bono partners and volunteers, whilst providing them with the flexibility to dip in and out as their work priorities fluctuated. 

On a financial front, relying purely on donations and fundraising is a hard gig for a fairly new ‘kid on the block’. Plus, the economic predictions of the next 12 to 24 months are looking somewhat gloomy. We’re faced with this funding ‘scarcity’, coupled with a huge desire to impact many more young people while standing on our two feet. Last March, this situation led us to begin a human-centered design project to help us identify a new, scalable and sustainable offering. With our customers front and centre of the process, we are together co-creating, innovating and, most importantly, solving problems. Once again, from scarcity, grows ingenuity...

In a world where youth mental health is a deep concern, our oceans breathe plastic and new diseases spread over our continents, I look back at my family’s Datson camping trailer and I know there’s hope. The world is full of ingenuity. It must be placed into the limelight. We need to support those with big, bold and brave ideas to solve problems and join them in making them even better. Together, we can replenish our world.

Kim Larochelle

Kim joined The Helmsman Project as a volunteer when it first started delivering programs in 2013. In January 2014, she became one of the organisation's first two employees and is now CEO. She has had the privilege, along with the team, to witness and support The Helmsman Project's growth.

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