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Notes on Retirement

First, here’s a note from Rick Hall, Founder of Ignite!:

People have been kind in offering me congratulations on my retirement on 31 March, and I have been reflecting on what this means, and wondering about both my own future and for Ignite!; after all, the official company name IS Ignite Futures.

So, reflection first: it is a wondrous thing to pause and look back and realise that what you have done, however it seemed to make sense at the time, only gains significance in retrospect. That eclectic jumble of projects and programmes, of networks and initiatives, actually does add up to more than the sum of its parts through the changes and impact and memories that people have recorded as a result of being part of Ignite!.

Have a great idea, and then surround yourself with great people.

And now as some of our earliest Creative Sparks move into their later 30s, and some of our most recent family participants start school, I again realise what a privilege it has been to work with such great colleagues and partners, and what it means for people to trust us with their children’s hopes and imaginations over two decades.

So, wondering second: I have been apprehensive of what retirement means, not least because for perhaps too long I have tended to define my well-being by how busy I am. But if I have learned anything, it is that a key element of creativity is the capacity to live with uncertainty, ambiguity and to embrace change – to venture forth without necessarily knowing the destination. You climb the mountain, not because it is there (as someone must have said) but because you are here.

So in the words of another 70+ year old, ‘Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than the things you did..’ (Mark Twain)

But also in someone’s words, ‘you can’t live your life according to the aphorisms of other people.’

I want to thank the great people that have been part of what turned out to be a pretty good idea, and to wish the ongoing guardians of that idea the very best of opportunities.

And now, a note from the staff and trustees of Ignite!:

Ignite! was founded by Rick in 2006 as an offshoot of Nesta, and has taken on challenge after challenge, exploring how to encourage and maintain that individual spark within young people, within all of us.

Rick has been the anchor, the engine, the steering wheel, and the light-house for Ignite! over its 16 years of existence. He has given his heart and soul to this work, creating countless experiences for others, experiences that permit and encourage individual flourishment.

This is a new beginning for Rick, and a new era for Ignite! too. Rick, thankfully, did not drop his retirement announcement on us last week, and so we have had time to prepare for this moment.

We are in a strong position, powered by skilled, passionate, and, most importantly perhaps, compassionate staff members who bring their own hearts to Ignite!, and we will invest in our staff team over the next twelve months and beyond. Our trustees are a vibrant collection of skilled professionals who believe wholeheartedly in the value of sustaining creativity, and we continue to attract trustees with new perspectives and skills.

Ignite! is nothing without its programme partners. Working in partnership with others is central to Ignite!’s way of working and so we are very grateful for our various programme partners for their long-lasting support. We are also indebted to sixteen-years-worth of young people for showcasing the transformational potential of creative minds.

Ignite! is a manifestation of Rick: joyful, playful, nurturing, community-minded, inclusive, and welcoming. We hold onto these values closely as we sail onwards into the future, knowing that Rick is only a phone-call, or a bicycle ride, away should we need guidance, a cheerful quip, or perhaps a piece of cake.

Here’s to Rick, and here’s to Ignite!


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