The concept of innovation, especially the idea of social innovation, is one that both intrigues my sense of professional adventurism and ignites an excitement for progress. Throughout the Community Change Institute (CCI) this reoccurring theme of creation, development and strategy has underlined all of the workshops and toolbox sessions that have been presented as forums for learning.
To me, innovation is very infrequently imagined within a solitary space. It is a culmination of scattered brainstorming, pinpointed identification of barriers and building block action planning. Without multiple perspectives, it is difficult to solve a problem and this truth is significantly multiplied when you are speaking about complex social challenges.
One concept that filled my mind with the most gleeful feelings of newness and creativity was that of prototyping and experimentation around community programs. This tactic of nimbly assembling an activity, a process, or an approach, testing it, shaking it up, making adjustments and then going around again is not something that I have ever seen in the non-profit sector where I am.
This reimagining of tiny pilots that take little time, money and infrastructure to implement and then immediately obtain results to determine next steps, presents an adaptive way of tackling the possible into the doable into the adjustable with minor investment.
How can we, as champions for change in our organizations, in our network and our greater communities, use this simple yet instantaneous method to address the complicated lives that people lead? Well, it is not about reducing or explaining away the complex and interwoven nature of the problems we aim to support, but instead looking at them through the lens of exploration.
By taking a step back and focusing on how the techniques that we apply, the people that we collaborate with and the means that we use to make impact head on all influence where we end up. Taking little, calculated risks, bringing people together to play around with an idea or issue and applying our big solutions in quick succession in small spaces can be a great guide in how we reach for the next big answer and pose the inevitable big questions that arise.
This is the second blog written by Hailey Hechtman, in a series of reflections about the 2017 Community Change Institute. Read others in Hailey's 2017 CCI series: