If the essence of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) focus in 2012 could be captured in three words, what would they be? How about strengths-based, co-creative and forward-thinking?
This was the first full year of the association’s Ideas for Change group, a space for collaboration and the exploration of new ideas to advance social inclusion.
“There is a lot of creativity at BACI and if we don’t tap into this, I think we are missing out on opportunities to find new ways to have people completely, fully included in the community,” said co-executive director Richard Faucher in an interview early in 2012.
The intention was to have this group start as a hub for innovation in the association, but from the beginning the goal was always to expand it out and include more staff, families, self-advocates and community members.
Later this year an Ideas for Change retreat was held with this question at its core: how to spark change in the organization’s culture to one where creativity and co-creation is happening all the time.
Richard says the ultimate aim is to create a way to welcome and make it possible for all the organization’s stakeholders to bring their creative ideas forward and also participate in co-creating new solutions together.
Richard says he envisions this culture change beginning to crumble many of the existing organizational silos and even flatten its hierarchical structure to a certain extent.
He sees even the physical environment being different — more inviting of co-creation and collaboration.
“I hope that when you walk into BACI you get a feeling that what you bring to the table is valued,” he says, noting as it stands now, as with the majority of service providers, there are certain established policies driving what gets done at BACI. But, as it turns out, these policies often don’t funnel down into real significant change in the lives of the people served.
“We’re hoping the creative process we’re trying to establish now is what drives the agency going forward,” he adds.
In the grand scheme, this culture change is about creating paths to help the BACI community live more fully into their place as creators of a society of true belonging for all.
A commitment has been made for a smaller group from the Ideas for Change group to meet once a week, to eventually bring in more people and to test a few new ideas that emerged in the retreat. One of these ideas is a lottery lunch where a selection of staff names is pulled from a hat. These people will gather for a meal and conversation on what they might do differently to change the social outcomes of the people they work with.
The Lottery Lunches initiative has now been launched.
A follow-up Ideas for Change retreat is being considered for January to assess progress to date and consider next steps.
Also in keeping with the strengths-based, co-creative and forward-thinking themes, BACI was part of an Appreciative Inquiry summit this year to boost employment of people who have an intellectual disability in the province over the next three years.
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