In a week when Artisans Collective have received an award for innovation and “thinking outside of the box”. It has also taken some self discipline to remain inside the box.
One of the most well-worn phrases in the business world is “thinking outside the box”. It is supposed to mean thinking creatively, freely, and off the beaten path.
It’s the kind of thinking that , in an age of increasingly powerful algorithms and neural networks, attracts significant attention. For now, it’s the kind of stuff that machines can’t do that well.
Sometimes we have to remain inside the box.
This week I received my Dementia Friends Champion Training. Which has an absolutely set format of delivery. Ensuring all friends receive very similar information. Regardless of the person delivering. To me this is inside the box thinking.
“A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help. It’s easy to get involved. “More information here.
“If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid. “
The origin of the phrase is not clear, but it became popular because of the nine-dot puzzle. Now a management consultancy staple that poses a problem: how to connect nine dots with four straight lives drawn by never lifting one’s pencil?
The temptation is to draw a box, which does not solve the problem. Rather, one must draw lines outside the confines of the box shape suggested by the arrangement of the nine dots.
So why does it matter?
We are involved in lots of community activities, which brings us in to contact with lots of different organisations, agencies and groups.
Some of the organisations have very strict guidelines and procedures. I see them as restricted by the box. It is not a criticism as sometimes it is statutory requirements that dictate it.
However we are fortunate to have met some very innovative leaders within some of the organisations who see the benefits of co-producing with others “outside of the box”.
One such example is that we have been working recently with Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.
When you get messages like the one below from The Commissioner, it helps us realise that our “out of the box” thinking is sometimes appreciated.
“Thank you very much for coming to the session on Tuesday to review the feedback from the consultation on my priorities, and to contribute your knowledge, experience and ideas to the development of my work programme. I thought it was both an enjoyable and useful meeting, and I hope you felt so too.
I will be publishing my one year work programme and three year strategy in the first week of April and I will of course send you a copy. In the meantime if you have any other thoughts on the work programme please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
Other more regional organisations such as, North Wales Police and the Health Board. In my own personal opinion have leaders who are willing and indeed encouraging input from the grass root level.
Talking about Roots!
I have to mention another major organisation that “get” what we are trying to achieve here in Prestatyn. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Through Grow Wild, Kew is inspiring millions of people to grow as a group, get active, learn about and engage with nature, and give back through volunteering. All of which can improve health and wellbeing, as well as urban and unloved spaces across the UK.
They are supporting our efforts at The Morfa Gateway Project in 2019. Their objectives are totally in line with ours.
It has been a hectic March with lots more exciting things just about to emerge, including our BBC appearance on the box April 5th.