Leading Change

The Minds of the Lab – 10 things 2020 taught us

To wrap up a year that lasted a decade, here at The Mind Lab we challenged a handful of our great minds to each come up with 10 things they learned in 2020.

First, I’d like to point out that giving people a restriction of “10” things created some interesting results… some gave way more, some culminated their answers into fewer, more holistic key themes, some answered 10 questions, and some (read: one) decided to craft ten points, each consisting of 202 characters, equalling 2020 characters in total… mind boggling!

Let’s see what the great minds at The Mind Lab learned this year…

A circle of hope

We’ll start with Saskia Verraes, Programme Lead for our newest Postgraduate Certificate – Leading Change for Good. Saskia’s beautiful reflection takes us through the highs and lows of the year and leaves us with an optimistic view coming into 2021, well worth a read…

“People started walking, cycling and taking ferries. Skies became blue and knowing how to bake a bread suddenly became a most wanted skill. Strangers in communities became good neighbours and friends.

The habits we thought could not be broken, broke. The mindsets that could not be shifted, flipped upside down.”

Read: The 2020 Circle of Hope, by Saskia Verraes on LinkedIn


Our National Academic Director, Craig, decided the only way to tackle the year was to break it down, into 10 even pieces of 202 characters each. Craig reflected on disruption, the continuum of nature, human constructs, and how if 2020 were a colour, it would be orange.

“2020 disruption was both normal and more disruptive than normal compared to other years, while for some, life continued somehow undisrupted (or did it?), for others the disruption was absolutely deadly.”

Read: 10 x 2020, by Craig Hilton on LinkedIn


Megan is Programme Lead for Connected Environments at our sister company Tech Futures Lab, as well as a member of the Innovation team. She took inspiration from the letter ‘R’ as a way to encapsulate what 2020 meant for her. Enjoy this alliterative listicle….

“Take nothing for granted and actively participate in each day, week and month. 2020 was the year I started to mindfully build out my time in terms of focussing on the things that would bring me joy and make an impact.”

Read: re:2020, by Megan Rorich

Fee’s 2020 recap

Our firecracker General Manager, Fee Webby, often physically draws and maps out her ideas as they unfold. This time she even got the colour pens out! Check out the visual representation of what Fee learned this year.

Read: 2020 wrap, by Fee Webby

Tekau from Te Mihinga

Te Mihinga is Pou Ārahi here at The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab. I asked her ten questions to sum up the year – covering lows to highs, best books, and most inspiring moments. Check out our chat in this video…

“I started crocheting again, I really enjoy it and it helps reduce waste… We also began a maara kai, a garden where we grow food… I’ve been inspired by the number of new Māori MPs that got voted in. It was really inspiring to see wāhine Māori and tāne Māori in there, especially with Mataora, facial moko…”

Watch: Tekau from Te Mihinga

The final word from Frances

Our CEO & founder Frances Valintine remarks that this year has taught her many things about herself, her staff, her ways of working, the country she calls home and her love of technology.

There is nothing quite as daunting as knowing everything you have worked hard for could slip through your fingers leaving a very different future for your own family and also the families of those around you. 

Read: Ten things 2020 taught me

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