Last month UnitingCare Queensland’s Edge Innovation Festival set out to challenge the preconceived ideas of UnitingCare Queensland staff. Ashley Thompson reports.
Created with the objective to “turn your thinking upside down”, Edge is a festival of free events designed to inspire Uniting Church service groups including: UnitingCare Community, UnitingCare Health, Blue Care and the UnitingCare Group Office.
Not unlike the 31st Synod open space, the inaugural event in August 2014 provided opportunities for staff and volunteers to create, network and exchange ideas which will ultimately innovate the operational practices of their organisations.
According to UnitingCare Queensland director of mission Colleen Geyer, Edge 2015 is all about a new perspective: inviting staff, volunteers and even clients to take a look at something from a different angle.
“Sometimes you have to disrupt how you do things to make a difference … because if we do that then the sky’s the limit on what we can achieve,” she said.
“Innovation is dancing on the edge of creativity,” said national director of UnitingCare Australia, Lin Hatfield Dodds in her video address to participants at the opening event.
UnitingCare Queensland CEO and 2014 Telstra Business Women of the Year, Anne Cross added, “Innovation is the way good ideas are made valuable.”
To UnitingCare staff this festival is an organised breathing space from the workplace and a chance to reflect on the assumptions they bring to the issues they address daily.
“We need to stop fixing by using traditional thinking,” says Edge Inspire speaker Vicki Webster—leadership specialist, career coach and organisational psychologist.
Vicki invited participants to write out their assumptions (the things they know to be true) when addressing a problem, and then to write out the complete opposite—quoting CD Baby founder Derek Sivers, “We need to realise the opposite of our assumptions may also be true.”
The purpose of Edge 2015 was to put innovation at the forefront of UnitingCare and avoid falling into the trap of it always being an afterthought.
Divided into four streams: Edge Create, Edge MoveIt, Edge Ideas and Edge Future; participants were encouraged to sing, draw, work out, be open-minded and let their imagination run free through a series of events held over four days across the state in halls, cafes, pubs and “quirky” spaces.
Colleen says she is excited for the future of Edge as it continues to challenge and open up the minds of UnitingCare staff.
For more information about Edge Innovation Festival visit edge-innovation.squarespace.com