A single lightbulb is illuminated in a group of dark bulbs

Imagining solutions leads to breakthrough ideas

A single lightbulb is illuminated in a group of dark bulbs

For years, we had tried to understand high turnover rates at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary (BGCC). We have tried many new models to get better results, but to no avail. Using the Collaborative Social Innovation (CSI) framework allowed us to do things differently.

We spent time understanding what the issue was really about and this allowed us to frame our thinking in a new way. In order to generate new ideas we used an internal workforce council. The council represented staff at all levels of the organization to go through a story boarding process, which allowed new ideas to emerge.

Staff were asked to imagine solutions to the question: “How can we, BGCC, increase the number of new staff who stay past 18 months by 40%, through re-designing the experience of their first month of employment”?

With our Workforce Council in place, we began the work of making the solutions tangible and ensuring we evaluated the best ideas. Once we landed on what we thought would be the best ideas, we began to prototype them and quickly found one idea was far too expensive and the second involved too much staff time away from their core work. We went back to generating and building upon other ideas. We re-grouped our Workforce Council and landed on other ideas we could go deeper on and implement.

One idea resulted in re-directing staff recognition dollars from our annual event to what the staff really wanted. The second idea involved a completely new way of interacting with our staff within a 90 day window of employment. These ideas are being implemented and evaluated and once all the data is recorded, and we will prototype new ideas if the results are not meeting our goals.

The CSI framework allowed us to get more buy in from staff and brought our team together. We now have more involvement in new ways of thinking and can see better results in our new solutions.

Cheryl Doherty is CEO at Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary. She is an active member in United Way’s Leading Boldly Network