• Leaders: Budgies Launched into Space – A story of local talent producing pure genius!

    Date: 2012.09.07 | Category: Leadership Testimonial | Tags:

    When you are engaged on a mission of spotting talent, it’s amazing where the journey can take you – even into outer space! Dropping by my local cafe/bar – The Tobacco Factory, in Southville, Bristol ( a place itself which has done much to develop talent in the local area and home to the renown Tobacco Factory Theatre) I got into conversation with Andrew Price and heard his remarkable tale of the first ever Budgie Space Launch Programme!

    Check out the stunning birds eye views in the ‘Budgies In Space’ film on YouTube here:


    Working together with a local shop, Paper Village, North Street, Bristol a group of colleagues and friends hit on the idea of creating a flock of 101 crocheted budgies as a project that combined a community arts project, a social network, a great family fun activity and a charity fundraiser.

    The idea was simple – sell at low cost  budgie making crochet kits and ask volunteers to return 1 or more completed budgies to the project. Volunteers were also encouraged to give the budgies names and to post photos of them and their budgies on the facebook page (Bert and Bessie’s Budgie Banter). All the money raised was given to charity, in this case ” Children’s Hospice South West”.

    The Budgie flock was let loose from time to time to fly to a museum, zoo, country house and latterly big music festivals. And then the idea of launching the budgies into space was born!

    The same group of friends and colleagues including local musicians, engineers, computer whizzos pooled their talents to launch two little birds, attached to their spaceship by a giant helium balloon at Camp Bestival, their progress tracked by a live film, taken from the spaceship’s on board camera, transmitted onto the festival’s large screens. The budgies reached  an incredible height of 127,000 feet!

    A second flight was subsequently made from the Isle of Wight –


    So far almost £5000 has been raised for the charity – click here for information on how to make a donation and to find out more about the charity.


     Sometimes some conversations just make you smile at the sheer brilliance of what people can do and how by building on a wealth of diverse talents  something extraordinary can be produced from a simple idea . Not only by developing and implementing the technical expertise, or by raising lots of money for charity, but also by engaging the local community, connecting with people and hearing their sometimes moving stories behind their customisation of their budgies and their names.

    As I said at the beginning of this post, you can discover genius in many different places if you set out to really spot it! This conversation highlighted  a group of what I  call ” genius makers ” spotting talent, liberating it, pushing it to greater heights ( literally) , engaging with  and making it possible for people to become part of the project,  collaborating, sharing and learning together!

    The Leader’s role in organisations is to enable their genius makers to do the same, whatever the project.

    It’s great to be inspired. Where are the genius makers in your own neighbourhoods who can help keep your own learning about what it takes to be a multiplier of talent going?