Will actually go on & tell the story of the worlds first air ambulance because its pretty interesting & holds some important lessons for innovators & disruptors today.

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In 1917, Flynn received an inspirational letter from Lieutenant Clifford Peel, a Victorian medical student with an interest in aviation.
The young airman and war hero suggested the use of aviation to bring medical help to the Outback. Shot down in France, he died at just 24 years of age and never knew that his letter became a blueprint for the creation of the Flying Doctor Service.
At the time flying technology was very new and rarely used outside the military.
Convincing political leaders that this new tech could be used to save lives in the outback without the government having to build new hospitals, saving money by keeping their few experts in one place was a hard sell for Flynn.
Especially since he was not a subject matter expert. He wasnt a doctor or a pilot. He was a pastor!

They initially dismissed & laughed at him.
But he persevered.

Looking at data from wars. French records from 1901 indicated that the mortality rate of the injured was reduced from 60% to just under 10% if soldiers were evacuated by air.
Access to air ambulance services would also save massive infrastructure costs. Could the Government at the time really afford build massive hospitals that could treat every emergency in every, single region of Australia?
And even if they could ? Did they have the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to run the hospitals?

Or the medical professionals required to live and work in all of these areas.
Long story cut short, a pastor started the first air ambulance in the entire world in 1928.

The medical community that may have initially scoffed at the idea became his greatest allies.
Now for the lessons for young people in Nigeria today, many of whom are in the same position as Flynn.

Seeing a massive problem, but lacking the resources and perhaps feeling like they don't have the subject matter expertise/experience? Sound familar?
Lesson 1: Write with conviction. Tell stories that matter.

Remember Lieutenant Clifford Peel, the young medical student interested in aviation?

He wrote to Flynn suggesting the air ambulance idea...it was just a random musing that perhaps he didn't expect to go anywhere.
But he took action. He wrote. And even though he died before the idea that he gave Flynn came to fruition, his words lived on through that letter.

His name become part of global healthcare history because of that letter!
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity

Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt & to humble

Write that letter/email/whastapp/business plan/article today!
Lesson 2 is about subject matter expertise.

Many people think that in order to help solve a certain problem that you need to be a subject matter expert. But this isn't always true.
As I wrote in this article:

'In a world where data, advice and expertise from all over the world abounds, we need strategic pragmatists that can make sense of it all'

medium.com/@drola/is-the-…
Skills like conflict management, emotional intelligence, influence, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, persuasion, public speaking & communication are often far more important.
I studied medicine, had written medical textbooks, published in medical journals and even started learning to fly by the time I started Flying Doctors Nigeria Air Ambulance service.
But I quickly realised that non-technical skills were FAR,FAR, FAR (Did I say FAR!!!) more important and would have managed those initial stages a lot better if I had developed my soft skills.

Soft skills are the hard skills.
I lacked soft skills. And it cost me dearly. Hard/technical skills are practically useless without soft skills.

The World Economic forum emphasizes the increasingly important role these skills will play in the future. Don't dull.
If you have the vision you can engage partners that have the technical skills.

Flynn was a Pastor.....but he started a service that was so cutting edge and virtually unthinkable over 100 years ago.
Lesson 3: It won't happen overnight.
Its unrealistic to think that you will 'hammer' in the space of a few months.

Flynn worked for 10 whole years to get this project off the ground.

😎 No pun intended.
Lesson 4: Relationships matter.

Poverty isn't only a lack of financial resources. It's isolation from the kind of people who can help you make more of yourself.

So treat people well, build bonds, serve.
Today’s most valuable currency is social capital, defined as the information, expertise, trust, and total value that exist in the relationships you have and social networks to which you belong

-Ferrazzi
Flynn was able to leverage on a long standing relationship with Hudson Fysh who he met whilst networking to get the political capital and the equipment to start the service.
Lesson 5: It may not be as sophisticated as you want when you start.
The first pilot, Arthur Affleck, had no navigational aids, only a compass. He also flew in an open cockpit, fully exposed to the weather, behind the doctor's cabin.

Fuel supplies were also carried on flights.
Today however, the Flying Doctor Service of Australia is one of the largest & most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world with 70 aircraft.
Transports 177 patients per day, over 5000 patients per month and over 60,000 per year

They flew 26,412,555 kilometres just last year.

That’s the equivalent of 34 trips to the moon and back, or more than 600 flights around the Earth.
This is MANY billions of dollars cheaper than building & staffing thousands more large, sophisticated tertiary hospitals within an hour of each other across the country.

And leaves more resources availible to focus on primary care.
Lesson 5: You have to look back to connect the dots.

Steve Jobs made this point so powerfully in his Stanford Commencement Speech.

It basically means that you won't know the path where a lot of the things you are doing now are guiding you to. You will only know that when you look back.
Throughout Flynn's training he helped other Ministers with missionary work in rural &r emote areas.

He even published a book called "The Bushman's Companion", a popular book of information and hints for people in the bush.

He probably didn't know where all this was leading.
Lesson 7: Leave a legacy.

I try to live, thinking about the type of impact I would like to have had by the time I die.
A former Governor General of Australia, Sir William Slim once said of Flynn "His hands are stretched out like a benediction over the Inland".
I am sure Governors wasnt so complimentary or supportive when he was trying to start.

But eventually everyone felt his impact. He made his dent on the universe.
Recently the central bank in Australia, honoured him by putting his face with an image of the very first air ambulance on the $20 note.
Flynn was cremated & his ashes placed at rest under the Flynn Memorial; the very centre of the vast territory to which he brought emergency medical care and innovation to thousands

Allowing every one to access a centre of medical excellence regardless of where they live.
The burial service for Flynn was linked up to the Flying Doctor radio network and was heard by millions of supporters/well-wishers at remote stations and settlements across the outback.
Reverend John Flynn, OBE, DD.

A pastor, a visionary, a disruptor, an innovator, a tech guru, a thinker, a leader, an inspiration.

My personal hero who made me start a similar service in Africa, 100 years later.

Hope you all learned something from him.
Quite a few people asking asking where they can learn soft skills. Some resources contained in my.old tweets below.
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