Over the course of a few weeks this month, we spoke to a number of different stakeholders and partners who have had some involvement with the Hub. These Stakeholders may have been instrumental in getting the Hub up and running; they may be involved in delivering a service out of the Hub, or volunteering for or from the Hub; or perhaps they were just keen to link into the Hub to explore deeper partnership working. We used a fixed set of questions to ensure we explored the same subjects with everyone we spoke to, and made a point of keeping the discussions conversational.
Amongst many things, we asked:
- How people became involved in the Hub;
- What people’s vision for the Hub was;
- How we could make the Hub more effective;
- What could we do to improve the customer journey.
What we discovered was a lot of passion and enthusiasm to work together. Talking to people one to one, informally, gave people a chance to speak honestly and openly, not just about how they felt as workers and volunteers, but how they felt personally about living and working in their communities. At times these conversations were deeply personal and passionate:
“communities need places where people can come together and learn and share with each other, people shouldn’t have to feel so isolated”
“we de-skilled communities when we were cash rich”
“it would be great to know what the customers of the hub think about the hub”
“It’s not about the services, it’s about the person walking through the door”
Each conversation lasted between an hour to an hour-and-a-half. A surprising side-effect of creating this head space and asking these questions ‘outside’ of work, was that people quite often told us they were experiencing light bulb moments – an insight into something they’ve done or could do differently.
It struck us was that to allow this to happen was simply creating the space and stimulating the conversation. Many of us are so busy on a daily basis, that we just have time to get through our ‘to do’ lists, and don’t often have the chance to reflect on other ways doing things. So many of the people we spoke to came up with creative, kind, interesting and clever ideas and all said they welcomed the opportunity to talk and further opportunities to get involved. The potential to tap into this latent creativity could be substantial, if only we can create the conditions to make it happen more regularly.