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Reframing Power: Perspectives from the Flying Labs Network

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April 8th, 2024

Reframing Power Perspectivs from Flying Labs

The word “power” often conjures up images of grandiose villains in animated movies, their relentless pursuit of it a destructive force that ultimately leads to their own downfall. It is easy to associate power with greed and hubris, with dictators who care only for themselves. And not without good reason. Historically, concentrated power has been used to reinforce hierarchical structures, elevating some, subjugating others, and bypassing our shared humanity. As such, power is often perceived as not just a negative thing but a scarce commodity as well; there is too little to go around, so someone else’s power signifies a lack of one's own.

But some would argue that it’s not power that corrupts people, but rather people who corrupt power. We have witnessed firsthand the transformation that occurs when local communities are empowered to solve their own challenges through effective localization models such as ours, which we describe as glocalization. In our glocalization report, we document why our full-circle approach, which employs a local-global-local directionality, is not only effective but necessary to effect change in local communities in the Global South. Therefore, we know that it is past time for us to reframe power. This is why we co-created the Power Footprint and why we have co-published the Power Footprint report, which offers a fresh perspective on power within the development sphere and a case for how international organizations can rewrite the script, becoming true agents of change. 

Additionally, we asked all Flying Labs what power means to them. What we’ve discovered is that our perceptions of power are formed by our environments. When power is decentralized, creating an enabling environment, it sends ripples of change out across our shared pond, and the impact is nothing short of remarkable. 

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The video above summarizes what the word “power” means to Flying Labs. It is a profound demonstration of what we mean when we say “the power of local”. Power doesn’t have to look like a dictator cracking a whip. It can look like a potter molding a vessel of beauty and function out of clay. A child tying their shoelaces on their own for the first time. A local expert using their skills to innovate solutions tailored to their communities' needs. 

Watch now to experience a reframing of power, and envision the world that is possible when power is not in a few hands but in everyone’s. 

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