In the little town that I grew up in there was a strong community.  The community had many ways of connecting with each other and through that connection, supporting each other.

There was the netball club, the scouts, the mothers club, the farmers co-operative, the church and even the Friday night drinks at the pub club.  Everyone was connected with everyone, which meant they shared stories and experiences, they knew when someone needed help and they used those networks to keep the community and all its members strong.

This is an old model.  The busier we get, the less time there is to maintain those connections, the bigger we get, the more people can fall through the cracks and the more degraded our community becomes, the more degraded our community becomes the more government needs to step in and support us.

In the news this week we hear that our emergency departments are full of people with minor ailments.  To me it’s no wonder.  The more degraded our community becomes, the more reliant we become on formal structures such as hospitals and schools to support us and the more those structures can’t meet our needs.

We have become helpless through our isolation; no longer is there someone next door for a sound piece of advice, no longer is there someone to look at us and see we are not alright, no longer are those little community connections easing our burden.

Rather than rethinking our government structures and systems, maybe we should rethink our community structures.  We could develop formal and informal networks to support each other so that we can become empowered and rely only on our government structures on when we truly need them.

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.