Act Now for the Wellbeing of Future Generations

For my Welsh Sport_The Conversation a range of experts share their thoughts on the future of sport in Wales.

Today sees the first in a series of posts from Al Smith, Jono Byrne, Mark Upton (co-creators at myfastestmile) and Sport Wales' Owen Lewis. 

“Ghost of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

As we approach the season of goodwill and prepare to spend some well-earned time with friends and family, it seems timely that we spare a moment to consider what we’re doing in our professional lives to provide for the wellbeing of others. In embracing the opportunity afforded by the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act we invite ourselves to be guided by future intent rather than beholden only to present successes or bound by the ways of the past. If we are to meet the aspirations of a vibrant, cohesive, more equal, healthier, resilient, prosperous and responsible Wales we will be required to reimagine our business in both thought and deed. For Scrooge this involved the stark invitation to consider seeing life as his business rather than seeing business as his life.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

Before we rush to judgement of this miserly man we might consider the uncomfortable comparison between Scrooge’s penny pinching observance of the bottom line and our present predilection for management by metrics. Whilst measurement undoubtedly has its place in informing our actions, when we allow it to dictate our direction of travel all sorts of unintended consequences ensue…

“Darkness is cheap and Scrooge liked it.”

…in order to avoid such misdirection, we must reconsider not only what we measure but to what end. Measurement systems, however elaborate, aren’t geared well to deal with nuance or to sit with uncertainty, but human beings are. If we are set to find profit in a life well lived then we need to ensure that people are at the heart of our decision-making process and that we only measure what matters in our efforts to make sense of the dynamics at play in our world.

As we move into the New Year we will explore, in a series of follow up articles, what it might mean to better attend to what matters rather than allowing ourselves to be led by what we can measure.

 “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!’’

Al Smith, Jon Byrne, Mark Upton and Owen Lewis

Now it's time to let us have your thoughts. Use the Comments section below to share your views.

Sport Wales has launched 'My Welsh Sport _ The Conversation', an opportunity for everyone in Wales to give their view on Wales's sporting future.

For more information and to give your views visit

You can read the Welsh version of this thought piece here.


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