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I have never been part of a motorcycle club. In fact, I have never even driven a motorcycle. 
So it was new for me to hear the roar of 42 engines of 600cc right around me. 
It was fairly new for me too to feel the wind in my hairs as we raced down the streets. 
I was surprised by how cool it felt to be part of that roaring group of machines, even if it was just for twenty minutes, rushing through the streets of Bangkok at night. And as I sat there on my pink and green seat staring at the flickering lights around me, I wondered for a moment if you can 'look' for surprises? Because in essence you would think that if you look for them, they would no longer overwhelm you.

I have spoken at two recent Ground Handling International (GHI) conferences in Africa. They were chaired by Brenda and Maurizio Anachini. Maurizio and Brenda challenged me for the most recent edition of the GHI-Africa conference to think of ways in which we could perhaps apply the princile of leapfrogging to safety training and safety promotion. Leapfrogging in aviation was one of the themes of that conference. And so I read up on the concept of leapfrogging. There is a great book about leapfrogging by Soren Kaplan.
Leapfrogging is all about skipping a stage in linear development of technology. The most cited example is how large parts of Africa skipped the stage of developing a complete network of landline telephone and went straight to mobile phones. For now, I have come to the conclusion that leapfrogging safety promotion may be very difficult. 

But at the Foundation, we are trying to see if there are ingredients of leapfrogging that we can apply to our work in order to speed up safety improvements, in order to help business cultures mature quicker towards open and transparent cultures. That would fit well with our role as a catalyst. After all, the function of a catalyst in chemistry is to speed up a chemical process without being consumed in the reaction and continuing to act repeatedly.

One of the crucial parts of leapfrogging is harnessing the power of surprise. Surprises help us find new directions and opportunities. When we are surprised, we are prompted to question and potentially modify our mindsets which can create greater clarity around a new opportunity or challenge. How can we increase our openness for surprises in safety promotion and maybe speed up the maturing of our safety culture? 

It helps to work with people like Frank and Gwen Ė two of the many inspiring professional volunteers we deploy in our programs who are OK with putting themselves in a vulnerable position as an AviAssist facilitator. 
It is one thing to transfer knowledge with the help of power point. 
Itís a whole different ballgame to dare to experiment with instructional techniques that may well also be on the edge of your own comfort zone as instructor. But often, outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens. Stepping outside our comfort zone allows us to experience new areas and give ourselves and our organisations new experiences. And in our case, that new experience we want to promote is one step up in the safety culture maturity ladder. 
We constantly embed new surprising instructional techniques from our professional volunteer facilitators in the standards in our training and procedures manual. We pick up new tricks and surprises from each and every one of our instructors and facilitators. Thatís part of our quality protocol as we look for continuous improvement.

For me being part of the gang of Tuktuks racing down the streets of Bangkok at the end of a conference dinner was something I didnít expect. It was a fantastic surprise put up by ATR aircraft at the end of a fantastic dinner on the first day of their global flight safety conference where I had the pleasure to speak. The TukTuk surprise prompted me to continue the creation of new experiences in Foundation events.

Keep looking out for surprises in our events. We hope they will inspire you to adopt them in your own safety promotion work. But ÖÖ donít look too hard for them or you may take away the 'wow'! 

Best aviation regards, Tom

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