After many seemingly abstract and intellectual conversations with the good folk from Ideo around what Livity Africa does, social innovation, human-centred design and a few other buzzwords that made our heads spin … Livity Africa was invited to participate in a prototype that Ideo was conducting in South Africa.
The aim was to give Rockefeller (AKA “Big Poppa”) insight into how to better support social innovation in their grantees’ organisations.
Claire Conroy (Head Client Service), Laskarina Yiannakaris (Art Director), Sabelo Mkhabela (Senior Content Producer) and Lindsay Breytenbach (Head Training and Impact) were to attend a series of camps held in the Western Cape that would uncover innovative ways of working and bring them into action in our workplace.
“A learning-in-action immersive experience. The camps provide an escape from the day-to-day and an opportunity to apply new ideas alongside a cohort of supportive practitioners.“
We were intrigued …
So with much anticipation – heightened by the fact that we were kept totally in the dark about where we were being bussed off to – we followed our cryptic emails and messages to get ourselves onto that bus heading into uncertainty.
Camp 1: I AM
The first Ignite camp was themed “I Am”. The focus was the idea of knowing who you are as an individual and as an organisation: defining what you can and cannot do. We explored this by creating an imaginary animal with particular characteristics we felt were necessary for its survival. Part of the exercise was to figure out those characteristics and what role they played in an organisation or individual’s productivity and ability to work on new innovative ideas.
Camp 2: I CAN
Camp 2 reminded us that if the right support structures are in place we can do anything we put our minds to and go on to achieve really innovative things. This “I Can” philosophy was tested when we had to zip-line across dizzy heights through the Hottentots Holland Mountains. That exercise also taught us that we all play a critical role in building supportive environments within our organisations and if we have one another’s backs we can confidently take the leap and conquer any challenge.
On a more practical note, we were given a prototyping framework (questions below) to help us put our ideas into action, so that we can begin learning from – and improving – them right away.
- The problem we see is …
- Our idea to address this is …
- Our hypothesis as to why our idea works is …
- The assumptions that underly our idea are …
- We will test those assumptions by …
Camp 3: I Will
The third camp, which took place on the Boschendal Estate in Franschhoek, was themed “I Will”. The focus here was to break big ideas up into manageable parts making them easier (and less intimidating) to put into action fast. Once our big idea was identified we had to answer these questions to interrogate the idea further:
- What opportunity does this address?
- Who will it help?
- Why do you think it would work?
- Why are you excited by this idea?
Next up was ordering these thoughts into “what it is that we need to do” to make this idea a reality, “how would we do it” and “who we would need to engage” into time frames of “tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, in 5 and 10 years”.
We wrapped up the camp by presenting a mock pitch to a prospective Live SA and Digify Pro funder (AKA Blesser), explaining why they should fund the combination of the programmes illustrating how this combination and their funding would increase our impact.
jTake outs from colleagues who attended the camps:
Claire’s Ignite message: Ideas floating in the air above reach and comprehension need an environment of possibility and collaborative play to be moulded into reality.
Sabelo’s Ignite message: What I left with from the camp was that as an individual or organisation is you have to know yourself – not necessarily in a sentimental way, but know all your character traits and weaknesses and be aware of what role they play in your work.
Laskarina’s Ignite message: Don’t get ready, get started!
Lindsay’s Ignite message: Find ways to test aspects of your big idea quickly, so you are able to gauge if the (big) idea is worth pursuing.