A blog by Bertie Cairns, who has recently joined us as an Associate of Just Ideas.
At the heart of the Just Ideas approach is using the energy of collaboration to help our clients make positive change. In this spirit, we invited our wonderful associates to the first Collaborative Day of 2022.
We really value the skills that our associates bring to Just Ideas and we designed the day as a space where people could share their wisdom and their practical experience.
Here’s just a taster of what we got up to:
We loved the workshop on how to generate powerful discussions. Laura Wallis, who led the activity, used her expertise in mental health as an example. We were asked to consider challenging ideas about our attitudes to wellbeing and place them on a continuum.
- How far did we agree that wellbeing was more important than mental health?
- Should we prioritise limited resources on research into causes or care for the suffering?
No right answers! And, as we listened to other perspectives, we found our views shifting, balancing, reframing. Here was a space that safely facilitated deep thought.
It was such a beautifully simple, transferrable technique that we used it with a client a few days later when helping a team collaborate with questions like: Is it important to like your team members?
At the end of the day, we were struck by the power of a simple tool called “strength stories” which builds on the power of collaboration and active listening. It works like this: recount a challenging event to a partner or group. The role of the listeners is to reflect back to the speaker where they were demonstrating positive qualities. This activity stopped us taking our skills for granted and reminded us where we are strong. At the end of the day, this really increased the energy level and showcased the wonderfully skilled people we work with. Our associates are passionate about creating positive change through connecting with people and it was wonderful to see the diverse ways in which they were working for climate and social justice, for disability rights and improving health. What we also saw was that they share our passion for making connections, for working collaboratively, for learning and growing.
In our collaborative day, we wanted to hear and value the voices of our associates and for them to hear each other’s wisdom. Collaborative practices are at the heart of how we work with clients. It felt important therefore to put that into our own practice with our team. We found that working as an associate can often feel a little isolated and we wanted to draw our team together. We learned hugely from working, listening and being together and participating in techniques that our associates use every day. We felt hugely enriched by the day and we hope everyone who came did too.
We can’t wait for the next one!