One question we ask at Hevas Innovation is: how can we create synergy within teams so their projects can succeed?
Developing the necessary skills a project’s success starts by forming links between team members, creating a collaborative vision, and making clear agreements about project design (Hinske 2014). With a collective vision, the individuals that make up a team become aligned for a common project beyond the differences in their worldviews and beliefs. With this alignment, they can work collaboratively and effectively. It’s common for team members to have different visions. Although differences are a rich source of diversity, when we’re talking about a team’s main goal, it’s important to have clarity and mutual agreements. Imagine if these conditions don’t exist and each person is working towards a different goal, what will happen to the project? On the other hand, if everyone is collaborating for the same common good, they can build a joint project in which everyone feels united.
At Hevas, we design workshops for multi-actor projects involving various institutions, from government and international sectors to civil society. One of these workshops was integrated into an ambitious project to bring about solutions to some of the socio-environmental challenges in Mexico. In conversation with team members, it became evident that each one had their own idea about what the project’s main goal was. They were all good and valid ideas. Nevertheless, their differences called for an exercise in reformulating and reiterating their collective vision. In this way, their team would have greater cohesion.
This cohesion is an important factor in success for multi-actor initiatives and alliances. Meaning, when the people involved in the project truly and openly feel the desire an possibility of collectively creating a better future through a joint strategy and collective vision. To do so, it’s necessary to have a clear and coherent objective that can unite all the members of an initiatives, despite their differences. (Kuenkel 2017) However, often teams lack clarity in their project’s vision.
This is why at Hevas Innovation, we propose and facilitate activities through which teams can find opportunities to consolidate their vision. We structure conversations such that teams reflect about their desired future and the possibilities they have to reach it. We do this in a way that enables all voices to be heard and valued (including alternative forms of communication that do not require the spoken word), spaces for individual and group reflection, and opportunities for collective construction and creation.
Starting from individual reflection is important since global transformation begins with knowledge of oneself and criticism of personal emotions, expectations, and assumptions (constructively, of course) (Richie-Dunham, 2014). In the workshop with the multi-actor team, we created space for self-knowledge and reflection as well as activities that catalyzed the transformation of these thoughts from being isolated points of view, to being a unified visualization of the possibility of creating a different future together. This way, we paved the way to harness differences and create dialgue to construct a collective vision.
What can you STOP DOING in order to improve? Reflections on creative destruction in the light of a New Year
The exercise consists of figuring out what you need to STOP DOING in order to help a project reach its goal. Pinpointing and letting go of counterproductive activities and behaviours creates space for innovation. In a workplace, TRIZ can help teams identify factors that hinder success and it can catalyse a process of creative destruction, transforming a system and paving the way to new and improved form of work.
This year I brought TRIZ into my New Year doodling ritual. I finished shading in the grapes and started on a list of things I want to stop doing. We live in an extremely fast-paced society, with extreme and overwhelming standards. Rather than seeking out a greater task-load, I realised I might gain more from letting go of some practices:
We invite you in this New Year to avoid adding even more things to do to your load and think instead of that which you can stop doing. Download our TRIZ support template.
Happy New Year from us at Hevas!
Communities of practice are an alternative to traditional and vertical learning processes. They are structures that promote participatory and horizontal learning through dialogue, reflection and collaborative experimentation. They are formed by groups of people linked by a common practice, who seek collective solutions to complex problems. The practice unites the community in three dimensions: mutual commitment, collective task, and collective knowledge (Wenger 1998).
At Hevas we had the opportunity to lead the co-design of a community of practice for the Triangular Cooperation India-Mexico-Germany for the Improvement of Air Quality, promoted by the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) in which government institutions from India and Mexico, based on the common purpose of improving air quality and inspired by the experiences shared by specialists and organisations from the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and other countries, designed projects for the creation of clean air zones in their cities. The creation and dynamisation of this community of practice that we call Breathable Cities, detonated the possibility of innovating and collaborating internationally despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, thus demonstrating that with virtual tools we can create new realities that, had they been in person, would’ve been more expensive and difficult to implement on three different continents
To ensure the success of a community of practice, it is essential to create interpersonal bonds and build trust among community members so that they feel free to express their ideas and that they can engage in fruitful and constructive conversations from equality and with a sense of solidarity. To achieve this, we take full advantage of the flexibility that virtual meetings provide and use our unique and innovative strategies to facilitate transformative experiences.
At Hevas we designed experiences that created the conditions for all people to participate and reflect equally, both individually and as a group. Within these experiences, skills in the design and management of urban socio-environmental projects, with a perspective on gender and intersectionality were strengthened. With the technical support of Ricardo, a consultancy specialising in air quality, we design various experiences such as:
The participants expressed great satisfaction with the experiences lived, however the the facilitation process was most praised as it ensured an atmosphere of friendly and trustful cooperation in which, surprised, they opened their minds to mutual understanding, their hearts to interculturalism and the feeling of all the participants, and their willingness to find agreements and share advice that would make their projects a reality in their respective cities.
If you want to know more about how we generate innovative processes to create and strengthen communities of practice or you want to generate new realities for your organisation, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social networks or contact us.
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