What CAN’T we do that we really really need to?

Convener(s): @sethhonnor 

Participants: Kate Maravan, Arabelle Lawson, Rebecca Manson Jones, Alyn Gwyndaf, Morven Macbeth, Bridget Floyer


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

First answer to this question is: We can’t write up these notes in a way that suitably captures the session. Further question: Do we really really need to?


We set out to see if there was an answer to this question. Is there ANYTHING we can’t do that we really really need to. The conversation at times really challenged our collective brains. These notes will not convey that depth.


  • If you “can’t” does that mean its not so important?
    • We thought that maybe we used that as an excuse sometimes
  •  “I can’t work on my own”
    • We decided that actually we could. 
  • “I want to create something but I don’t know if I can do it”
    • We decided that we could overcome that concern probably
  • “We can’t make people give up their cars but we need to”
    • “maybe we need to change the way people use them or change the fuel or…”

“have to doesn’t mean we will” we found this a usefully disruptive statement to the question.


An answer (which maybe stood for other answers?): middle east peace


We discussed how need is subjective 

“Did we need to go to the moon?” For inspiration?

“We won’t know until we’ve failed to do it”

“Culturally we feel we can’t” 

We talked a lot about how this might be more true for some individuals than others depending on their personal context.


  • Who owns empowerment? The facilitator or the empowered? 
  • The voice of “you could do that” is too rare a voice


There are things you can’t do because of who you are (this was as close as we got to a useful answer)

We talked about the “need” bit of the question

“equality of context”

We wondered whether we wanted a society where everyone believes “I can” “we can” (rather than we can’t/I can’t)

- We realised that our sense of this being positive was being driven by our own ideologies.

  • What is the ideology of the empowerment?
    • An answer: We can’t come up with an answer to the question.
    • Further question: But do we really really need to?