News personal blog volunteer

Think outside of the box?

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.

outside the box 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.
inside the box

“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.

The box puzzle

I wish I had a pound for everytime I have seen it used.

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.

News volunteer Workshop

Festive activities and new pathway for 2019. – Morfa Gateway Prestatyn

December 21st a fantastic festive activity day at the project with DCC Countryside Service and lots of participants during the Free Wooden Reindeer workshop

Source: Festive activities and new pathway for 2019. – Morfa Gateway Prestatyn

News personal blog

Target can mean different things to different people.

The past week has been full of meetings and events as 2018 draws to a close.  Targets seem to have been talked about so much.  So rather than a new years resolution in 2019. I will be setting a number of targets. Therefore I thought I would look into my understanding of the meaning of target.

Target “An objective or result towards which efforts are directed.”

This is one definition that I consider can be positive or negative. Personally I regard a target as a motivational factor, a thing I want to achieve.

Just recently however I have seen a negative side to the way people go about things to reach targets. Some targets are to me just “tick the box” exercises. Some organisations seem to put things in place to to satisfy a target set by outside bodies.

Rather than putting something in place to actually solve or lessen the core problem which should be the aim in my opinion.

Target “A mark or point at which one fires or aims, especially a round or rectangular board marked with concentric circles used in archery or shooting.”

Something we spoke to Roger of Prestatyn Men’s Shed about as he is a member of the local rifle club. They now cost 10p each apparently. So time to make some recycled ones we thing. 🙂

Target “A person or thing against whom criticism or abuse is directed”

target thank you

Something I know about. This week one of the organisations I volunteer with has been the target of some criticism on social media. 

Personally I have no doubt in what we are trying to achieve as a social movement, with all of our community activities.

Friends have also been recently affected. So a few words of advice.

Dealing with negativity can be exhausting and discouraging. So it is most important to also to remember to take care of yourself.

I am really lucky to have friends who support us. If a rude comment really gets to me, I have trusted friends that allow me to vent and get perspective.

Remember, no matter how “personal” a comment may seem—those hateful words are coming from their insecurities and baggage. You don’t have to let their issues ruin your day.

Be secure in your value, focus on the positives, and let the negatives fade into the background.

Sometimes when you are working hard (I volunteer for upwards of 60 hours a week ) you could lose site of the target.  The criticism may help you refocus on the core topics. For that I thank the critics.

Don’t let trolling put you off using the Internet for communicative purposes. It’s relatively rare to encounter deeply abusive trolls, and it’s easy to block them on most platforms. Don’t stress!

Target “A person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack.”

Something weird is going on locally. There are a group of youths deliberately destroying peoples Christmas lights, in Prestatyn.

It is good to see that our local police are concentrating their efforts with regards to this.

Something is fundamentally wrong when youths want to destroy the spirit of Christmas for our community.

Particularly for the local children and in addition the hard work and investment of the citizens affected.

I would love to understand what their motivation is behind this?

You can report problems by calling 101.

Or I recommend reporting online to North Wales Police here.

My personal target for the next Two weeks.

Is to complete our list of events at Artisans Collective and Morfa Gateway projects.

My main ambition is to enjoy the festive season with Jayne my wife over Christmas week.

I am thinking of just One more blog post in 2018, hopefully summarising the past year,  aspirations and ambitions for 2019.