Paper Planes

Paper planes: a partnership

When you think about making a paper plane you might think of your childhood. Perhaps days in the sun or your childhood classroom exploring the science of flight? But do you think of partnerships?

For me, paper planes are a great metaphor for partnerships. A paper plane represents the ideas and projects that we want to design. Each person folds the paper differently. Each paper plane and partnership have their own trajectory and outcomes (expected and unexpected); often reliant on the winds of change. Both support creative and innovative thinkers as well as technical experts. Paper planes remind us that even without leaving our desks we can let ideas take flight and that we can create new beginnings from a simple piece of paper.

When I asked health leaders in Melbourne’s Growing North to make a paper plane I was met with excitement and sometimes a light dose of uncertainty. What if the paper plane doesn’t fly? Is there a right way to fold this? How are you doing it? Where are we flying these?

Can I have a wish right now?

First, I asked each partner to write their wish for the Growing North partnership on their paper. To me, the paper was the instrument in which partners can express themselves. I chose bright yellow paper as yellow to me signifies growth and innovation. Writing the wish down on the paper was important. Whether their wish was for themselves, their family, their organisation, service users or the community in the Growing North; folding that paper with their wish on it into a plane, their wish took on a life of its own and their wish took flight.

For the love of flight

The Shared Vision for the Growing North partnership platform like paper planes represents the ability the partnership provides partners to launch new ideas, to take risks together – in the same direction, with shared resources and vision. Sure, some paper planes fell more than they flew, took a wrong turn or didn’t fly very far. But they all flew. They all provided learnings. Our partners love to fly, dream big. They have the training, experience and technical skills that enable them to reach new heights.

Modern and ancient wisdom

The origami meaning for paper planes is “starting over” or “throwing yourself into the future”. For others, a paper plane represents adventure, trusting the wind to take you where you need to go. It can symbolize a journey or be a reminder to let go of the past and to be open to new opportunities. For health leaders, it can be an opportunity to have fun, not conform to conventions but most importantly paper planes can act as a reminder of why we start things and where we want to land.

Whatever your meaning, thank you for flying with me!

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