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Posted by Philip on 8 March 2013, 6:12 pm in , , , , , , ,

That's what it's all about, but can we build the app? #lifehackhq

This time last week I wrote a fairly candid post about the Government's Youth Mental Health Social Media Innovations Fund, in particularly Lifehack, the "sustainable technology solution to combat New Zealand’s youth mental illness problems". Today I met with them.

I won't go into the content of the meeting. That would be, at best, tedious for you and, at worst, onerous for me. But I will share my reflection on the "launch >blog > tweet, tweet, tweet > email > meet" process of the last week.

Firstly, we disagreed and allowed the disagreement. I've blogged before that I believe that where communities struggle with diversity is in their need to hear or to speak with one voice and that they need to decay agreement.

Secondly, in meeting, we clarified some important information — namely that I wasn't criticizing them or even the Social Development staff working on the project — I was taking a principled swing at the National Government. We also clarified that the launch event, as you'd expect, presented a more "sealed" approach to the project than the actuality. The Lifehack team are grappling with many of the issues I raised and are talking to others about how to address them.

I misinterpreted some aspects of the initiative, particularly the investment in it. Funnily, waiting in my inbox when I returned from the meeting was a newsletter with a link to this Herald article with the actual investment: $100k not $62m. The same newsletter had a link to an article about Jason Armishaw, Lifehack's "spearheader", which I'd missed.

Meeting today with Jason as well as Jade and Eddy from Curative, Lifehack's "big voice that attracts the mover and shakers", assured me that they are far less certain than a swanky Government launch would allow them to admit. And you know how much I like uncertainty.

So, I'm satisfied and affirmed that I was right to have concerns about Lifehack and I am glad I voiced them. The conversation today, for me anyway, was a constructive response to disagreement and I'm hopeful that we will continue to talk, as I am truly wanting to be proven wrong. Indeed, in some respects, I already have been.

I still have reservations, though. 

But I was affirmed by this tweet from @lifehackhq: "Great to be able to sit down and chat with you Philip! Glad we got a few things clarified..." This is exactly what youth, community and all other social development is all about: sitting down, chatting, clarifying...

The challenge for Lifehack, the Government, in fact us all, is can we build an app for that?