Last Wednesday we were back at the Hautbois outdoor activity centre, in Norfolk UK, to work with this year’s cohort of new ARIES student researchers. Storm ‘Ciaran’had aslo arrived so, despite the beautiful rural setting, I have no pictures of the lovely trees and greenspaces to share – Aparna and I were just pleased to get our kit into the house without a soaking!

Running our SDGs simulation workshops with students is always rewarding. Their energy and enthusiasm fills any space with a huge buzz of potential. This group were no different in their energy, and built their own world for 2030 successfully, even though things looked very shaky when we stopped the clock at 2026.

At that 2026 point, even though they had set up a thriving economy, natural resources were scarily depleted and the society around their economy was anarchic and unreliable. Our simulation enables time travel, among other miracles, so were were able to stop the clock at 2026 to review the state of the world over tea and coffee. This was all it took. The 11 teams returned to their task with new consideration and created a more balanced world by 2030.

This is the second year we have been invited to run this workshop with the ARIES DTP students. Feedback from last year’s session (pictured above) was so positive we were asked to return to re-run this ‘big picture’ session. This year’s students were, once again, surprised by their own reactions to being in charge of the world, and then intrigued by the illustrations of our ‘connected world’ and the data behind the SDGs programme. Our information is updated year-by-year as the years tick over for the world to achieve the SDGs.

Many thanks to Jenni Barclay and the ARIES DTP team for including us in their programme, to Aparna Reghunathan for coming back this year to help out as ‘banker’ and to all the students who joined in with such enthusiasm. We have been running these workshops since 2019 and we know this experience sticks with everyone who takes part. We receive emails, tweets and LinkedIn messages weeks and months later from participants telling us about how the experience affected them. Once again, many of these new researchers told us the workshop will definitely change the context, and perhaps even the content, of their research work. Aligning research with the SDGs framework is the purpose of the Global Academy so reading these feedback comments is always a treat for us.

How about your team? Could your students, research group or business team ‘run the world’ from now to 2030? Would a big picture experience, followed by closer look at the SDGs framework help your team work towards shared goals? Get in touch to find out more.

I’d feel more optimistic about our current world if ARIES DTP graduates were in charge of things right now. However, they are busy starting the research we need to make urgent changes to our world between now and 2030. They have all our best wishes.

Quick post-script.
A workshop with Oxford’s SDGS Impact Lab was held in a space with a balcony so we were able to make our first ever video of a workshop in progress. Watch it here/