The Rotary ‘7 Areas of Focus’

The Rotary Foundation, which is our Rotary charity, has 7 Areas of Focus for you to explore when you are thinking about providing a service or product, which may be offered to the 1.2M Rotarians around the globe.

If you can deliver such a product or service, that will make a difference in a community and provide a positive impact on the lives of those in the community, then you may manage to have a market for the product or service being offered.

I have to also indicate that the market becomes wider for you if you are able to align your solution / provision, with any of the UN 17-SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals). As both of these focus on similar aspects.

The main ideal behind these areas, is the humanitarian service which will be provided and the vehicle to get them to the end user is to encourage those in the market who provide that very humanitarian service to the communities around the world.

I shall share and expand on all 24 areas for you to explore (7+17); although I shall only expand my thoughts on these, one area at a time.

R&D (Aarandee) a new focus

As I have reached the glorious age of 70, I have decided to start to share superb opportunities with you, for those creative among you who have an entrepreneurial spirit and zest to make a difference.

During the past few years, I have been volunteering through my local Rotary – look up to find out what we do.

When the current ‘covid-19’ struck and lockdown began, I realised that the tremendous infrastructure of Rotary had a major role to play, to create solutions; provide volunteers; enable service to be given; as well as listen to those who were suffering and their wellbeing was also being affected.

I have been volunteering continuously since 1968, that is over 52 years of providing a service to others – and getting a multitude of experiences in my life, each one is totally priceless – there is nothing to equate the value.

Join me on a journey, in which ‘Rotary Opens Opportunities’ for you, to look at providing a new business – either ‘giving a service’ or ‘sharing a product’.

Let this be the first day, of a new life experience.


A positivity pandemic project

For the past few days, I have been contemplating how best to engage as many of the creative and philanthropic entrepreneurs that I have met throughout my life and network. Also included, are the multitudes of Rotarian contacts that unitedly have the end desire to ‘do good in the world’. The third group which I would like to involve, are all my Engineering friends, who know no bounds when striving to solve an issue facing them.

The ‘covid-19’ issue has impacted on so many lives, our activities have been curtailed and I have had 4 weeks to explore the various potential routes to bring about a global solution. My question to you all is – are you willing to join me in creating a series of products and services, to address these?
Many of us are restricted to home, although our abilities to communicate, research and create – can be shared, new alliances formed and a strong network aligned, to gain an ‘on the job’ experience and expand our knowledge of how best to maximise the skills and experiences of different sectors, coming together to transpose potential solutions and devices, that will generate a whole new business strategy. Email me [ ] if you wish to be involved in this new ‘positivity pandemic project’.

I will share my own (R&D) skills free – for the duration of this project, enabling all my contacts to seek out and use any data which I use to generate my creative list of ’50 golden ideas’, in the hope that we find some nuggets of inspiration and provide us with a route, on the journey to the ‘NEW’ normal, which will surely arise from ‘covid-19’.

A number of young entrepreneurs, provide me with much inspiration, strengthening my choice to follow this route, as I know I have skills to share, along with each and every one who chooses to get involved.

Let us start by looking at our proposed ‘project’ and strive to tackle it in ‘small manageable steps’, rather than set a goal – where we know the goalposts are changing daily, we will look at the several end results and work out the route to get to each of them, being mindful that there are many ‘traffic lights and traffic jams’ on the route, which may hold us up, but will not divert us. Set your mind and be aware that a change is needed, to address the ‘covid-19’ issue at present.

Step 1. – Clear your head and kick start your creativity. We start by sharing our ‘circles of influence’, e.g. family; friends; Rotary colleagues; other charitable organisations; entrepreneurs; philanthropists; venture capitalists, all others with varied skills; expertise; funding and knowledge; make sure that you write them down and contact them, invite them to consider being positively involved in our ‘pandemic project’.

Step 2. – Know the ‘project’ that we are starting to work on, write down what aspects you understand, what solutions you are aware of out in society, most of all – where your gut instinct tells you, that there are either ‘bottle necks’ or a ‘lack of / or no resources’, that will help focus your mind and enable you to set the tasks for each day. Give yourself no more than 3 tasks, which are achievable and manageable, thereby enabling you to know that there will be progress, this positive knowledge will spur on you and the others.

Step 3. – Your plan for the rest of each day, will be to start on these tasks, build in some down time – for relaxation and contemplation, if anything should happen on route – communicate with me and I shall coordinate our efforts, if you have staff who are willing and able to assist in that too, bring them on board. Remember that many are not allowed to ‘work’ if on furlough, this may be one of these hurdles that we will have to overcome, therefore they must look at this ‘pandemic project’ as ‘volunteers’ doing good in the community. Do not let there may be to many traffic lights or traffic jams, that slow down the journey, prepare to manage through them positively.

OK, the first steps of our ‘NEW’ normal – has started. Are you ready to step out and tackle the new day? Let us try and achieve results, there is a ‘golden nugget’ solution waiting for us, when everyone contributes to the plan. Share with your network, spread this project – perhaps like a virus which ‘covid-19’ is; so that we have a positive outcome at the end of the day.


My ‘positivity’ – ’50 Golden’ Ideas post

There are 3 work environments that have impacted my life, since leaving school in 1966.
Education and

In each of these 3 environments there were additional voluntary focus areas that I served;
work; in the 3 areas above
volunteering; in youth organisation; youth clubs; sport; young engineers; Rotary
philanthropy; giving of time; skills – expertise; money; transport
charitable giving; of time; skills; money; transport; products
social enterprise; for local community based projects
leadership; as a Principal Teacher; our Rotary District Governor; as a District Rotary Foundation Chair;
creativity; in ‘idea generation’; a ‘what if?’ thinker
service; above self; for…
family; friends; and fellow Rotarians.

In each of the focus areas, I was able to spot potential ‘entrepreneurial’ opportunities, these helped to build my list of ‘The Golden 50’ ideas. That is, ideas for potential projects or services, that could be explored and perhaps eventually taken to market, if they were found to be viable.

I take the list of ’50 ideas’; which can be either, a unique project; or an associated link with a particular project. An example which I use would be the idea that started when I was looking at ‘big data’ information; based on births; deaths; and population. The ‘Births’ data – generated a number of ideas linked to the early year’s growth of the child. Whereas, the ‘deaths’ data – generated a specific project, that built on collaboration, between related business opportunities.

I regularly explore the list and select ’10 ideas’ to consider further, this allows an insight into potential markets and possible outcomes; that is, what is currently in society to address the issue and how effective is it, if there is something, if there is nothing out there – then question yourself – ‘why not?’, This may save a lot of wasted thought on an idea that is not required. Often though, there is the spark that generates ‘why did I not think of that before?’

From the information gathered on these 10 ideas – I ‘select 3’ to explore to a ‘MVP’ level; this step enables a deeper understanding of the factors that influence design; address markets; examine routes to market; and appropriate costs – both related and required for development.

Once the MVP data is in front of you, then ‘1’ genuine potential product or service will show, the journey then begins, to build the product / service and set up the routes to market; determining if investment is required from other agencies, to make it a reality.

I plan to do a series on the ‘golden 50’ later; let me know if you wish to be involved. This will require your participation to enable you to start to build your own ‘golden 50’ ideas, so that you can use your skills and expertise; as well as your network of contacts, that may determine your own direction, for a viable successful project.

Once you have selected the ‘1’ project to consider taking to market, as your development work continues, you can go back to the remaining 49 ideas, add in a new one from your reserves and start the process again. The result will be a number of projects at various levels of development, providing you with sufficient work each day.

Take care and stay safe.
DG Jimmy

District Governor News – 13

DG Jimmy – Covid-19 Message. March 2020

OK folks, I stole and altered the message below and the leaflet too from another source ‘Erskine Rotary’ (I need someone to make it a ‘word doc’) so that I can alter the leaflet as well. It’s time to come clean and wash your hands regularly, also don’t touch your face or mouth, etc.. after cleaning, or you will have to start again, to reduce the covid-19 effects.

As I watch the news when the virus took hold in China, then in Italy and in other places. I saw it unfolding towards us. I thought this is an opportunity to grow Rotary. ‘Service above self’ in our community, is what we do.

Recently, one of our Rotarians in district shared a post in Facebook: “What will happen to Rotary, will it be dead after the virus has come and gone?” I thought he has missed the obvious point. But then I thought, he was actually being prophetic and asking precisely the right question—before I even knew there was a question to be asked. (Alex is a past DG; he was doing what past DG’s do so well: keeping Rotary honest and real about the world.)

So, coming late to the game with this, I’m now asking myself that very question. What will Rotary be like after life returns to “normal”?

It’s early days now and, as is being said over and over, this is a marathon, not a sprint. But I still see some signs which lead me to a hypothesis: I think this time in the life of our local Rotary is going to turn our community involvement and leadership on its head.

What do I mean by this? And what leads me to this hypothesis?

In the early days of 1905, we know Rotary came alive at the local level. It grew and improvised on a day-by-day or hour-by-hour basis, figuring out “on the fly” how to create and sustain a local community program, when gathering to plan and serve was not always possible. Rotary today, is bubbling with activity and creativity: live-streaming, daily messages of good news and charitable work, virtual meetings on zoom, et.el., sharing of resources and “how to” videos. We also see growth in mutual care and concern. The phone is making a comeback as the most direct and personal way to check in with those who feel the isolation most keenly. “Zoom” is, all of a sudden, a word that has become commonplace as groups of people figure out how to meet. Virtual coffee hours are being planned and volunteers abound ready to pick up groceries and messages for those who cannot safely expose themselves to public places.

Before the virus arrived, Rotarians in the West of Scotland Rotary – District 1230, had become focused on 2020 as the doomsday year—the time when the ‘Rotary International Board’ would turn out the lights. We looked up to our leadership to tell us what this would mean for our future and to give us hope and inspiration. We looked up for the casting of a new vision which would save us. We looked to careful, methodical strategic planning exercises which would, in time, provide just the right five strategic priorities for the future. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with any of these things. But my hunch is that this virus and the new world which is thrust upon us each day, may just pre-empt such top-down approaches in favour of a new and revitalized Rotary which is simply taking shape from the ground up before our eyes.

It may just be that when something we are used to and take for granted is taken away, we feel its absence more acutely and that is when we discover in new and powerful ways that the connections of mutual support and care that we find in community are essential to our spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. For these connections, we look not up but down to the grassroots to discover who we are and who we will become.

This time of isolation, unexpected and unprecedented as it is, comes during a time when our Rotary had already become isolated and marginalized within society. The prior meeting for lunch and golf is over but, until now, we still had all the outward and visible signs of that era: the landscape, Rotary in every community and the complete freedom to meet and eat, when and how we pleased. Many have gone now and for some time to come, we won’t have those freedoms, our Rotary meetings mostly locked tight and banned. Perhaps this is a time for us that hearkens back to the early Rotary aims, in which small communities began to do random acts of kindness, tentatively, often in secret, often invisible to the society around them. Perhaps this is a time for us to see in a new way the reality of faithful Rotarians in our day who must exercise their service in secret, behind closed doors.

Rotary was built from just four men, from the ground up. They planned and rotated their meetings and survived while doing good quietly. And now, in this moment, it seems already clear that Rotary will survive, and will renew and sustain itself, from the ground up. By our communities discovering through necessity who and what they will be, without the ability to gather. By smaller groups within communities, establishing new norms of mutual care, new ways of working together, new ways of sustaining the life and spirit, of those in the community.

Does this mean we are going to become isolated? With every community, doing its own thing apart from others? Not at all – In fact the sharing of resources, ideas and creativity among clubs and Rotarians is already flourishing. A new sense of collegiality is being nurtured. Rotary leaders locally, have taken responsibility, as they need to, for setting overall policies and protocols to keep people safe and healthy, and they will need to play a vital role in honing financial plans which adapt to the economic challenges created by this virus to ensure that the Rotary resources are directed where they need to be at this time of crisis. We aren’t becoming ‘protestors’, but I do believe that this time is breathing new life into the Rotarian community on the ground, at the local level. At the end of the day—and as it has always been—from where else could the renewal of Rotary come?

No one knows how long we will live in this world of isolation and improvisation. But when life returns to normal (or, more likely, the “new normal”), maybe we will look toward 2050 not with fear or despair, but rather with both optimism and realism. Perhaps we will be a Rotary reformed yet again by circumstances beyond our control—but also with a renewed and even deeper awareness that ‘we are who we are’ in a community with those who care about us and whom we care about (even if we don’t always get along). When that time comes—when the pain and fear and loss have passed—we may also find ourselves in a deeper community in Rotary, to be present where life is the most intimate and the most real.

DG Jimmy

Copied and paraphrased from a facebook article by The Rev. Canon David Harrison, Toronto, Canada.