Learn how they can build on those good relations to come up with new solutions — together
Thursday July 12, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger
Catherine Chiong and Jeannie Chong say they learned much at a recent innovation think-tank, but it wasn’t so much about new ideas and how innovation works as the people that participated.
On June 26, the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) held its most recent such gathering, an opportunity for staff members to think together and come up with new solutions to challenges.
Catherine and Jeannie were part of a group of six summer students new to the meeting, called Ideas for Change, spearheaded by co-executive director Richard Faucher.
The event began with about 30 staff in attendance describing in one to two minutes an object they had brought that best reflected their characters and interests.
People brought items like beach glass from Nova Scotia, boxing gloves, headphones, a day planner, and a bracelet from Taiwan.
Catherine and Jeannie, both human resources and quality assurance assistants, say they were intrigued to learn so much about their BACI colleagues.
“It is really impressive to hear they wanted to share on a more personal level, instead of just talking about work-related things,” the two note in a write-up they put together on their experience.
“We feel like it has changed our experience at BACI because now we know so many of our co-workers on a more personal level, and they also know more about us and who we are other than just student doing work at BACI for the summer.
“It is amazing to see how harmonious we are working at BACI and that we enjoy the working environment with our staff.”
But the two add they realize the innovation gathering is about more than good relations. Through a symbolic exercise, they saw how these relationships can be a foundation for creative thinking, together, with limited resources to tap into, in order to create a desired change.
A friendly competition took place, with different groups trying to create a bridge out of materials like Play-Doh and cardboard, thinking all the while about the symbolism of each piece and how it was put together.
It was an opportunity to both practice collaborative creativity and ideally find some new ideas for another kind of bridge-building — sparking new connections between the people BACI supports and others in the community.
Catherine and Jeannie say they look forward to working together with their BACI colleagues to do more around creating an inclusive community. They see more clearly how trying something new and creative but most importantly collaborative can help make a difference in this work.
An Ideas for Change retreat is scheduled for the fall.
To read a story on the purpose of Ideas for Change and what it has generated, click here.
Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.