My Tickle Trunk - Creating a safe space for ideation...
What is a Tickle Trunk? Well on Mr. Dressup this was a steam trunk that held an assortment of wonderful things that you could put on to become whatever you wanted to be. You want to be a clown, inside the trunk was a red nose, floppy shoes, and a multi-coloured wig; you wanted to be a fireman - a red hat and Dalmatian puppy dog stuffed animal would appear; you wanted to be a master chef, no problem - the Tickle Trunk could provide you with an apron, wooden spoon and chef's hat.
What does dressing up have to do with ideation? Being able to put on a hat, or an apron, or a wig provides a sense of freedom that allows for you to think outside your day-to-day confines. At some point in our development we stifle this creativity for the common-place. Though I don't think too many people would describe me as common. Ideation requires those involved to shift their mind-set, approach a problem from several angles, have a safe space to disagree, have a physical space to re-create and test and theorize and act and measure. But most of all, it requires multiple types of people from different disciplines. This is what I love about the Tickle Trunk concept... A space that has everything you need to re-create a solution to a complex problem. The beauty is that there isn't only one solution (or one costume) because there are multiple people sharing their thoughts and ideas.
This idea was explored further today with the launch of Charity Hive. An idea from Joni Avrum and Michele Fugiel Gartner - Charity Hive is a space for charity sector aggregation of ideas, best practices, thought leadership, action items and networking. What surrounds this idea is the charitable sector is stronger when sharing information instead of limiting the conversations to small networks of individuals and groups... in other words, breaking down silos and turf.
What's in My Tickle Trunk?
My trunk focuses on ideation and social change. The trunk itself is a physical location that can be anywhere in the world (even virtual space) that is considered "safe & sacred." My trunk (this space) contains and facilitates access to resources (intellectual and financial), but first and foremost, intellectual. It brings together organizations working on a similar issue (i.e. poverty) and companies/financiers that already support programs/services that are addressing this issue to have a candid conversation around how to address this social issue. It is more than just talking heads, because the outcome objective is understood from the start - at the core of the dialogue is common understanding that those participating are not looking at it from the WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME question. Rather, they are looking at the issue from the process and solution driving perspectives.
How do I know if this will work? Some of it is based on assumptions and some is based on other models. For example, the St. Luke's Foundation that creates spaces for organizations to gather in learning cohorts, meet with consultants and access external resources to solve the larger issues that they are struggling with. I was reading about this model in the Pollyanna Principles and was comparing it to a recent experience I had with a public foundation I am on the granting committee of. We have, as a society, and as system of funding charities, created a competition that does not necessarily weed-out the lowest contender. Instead, this system rewards those that can generate outputs on shoestrings and not necessarily establish sustainable (i.e. replicable) solutions/services/programs to address the systemic issues that the organization was established to address.
So I am going to test this. I am doing this with others - Michele Stephanie - Social Bling, Pamela Divinsky - Divinsky Group and Eli Fathi - ChideIT. We are still putting together the concept and how it will play out, but in my mind I see it as an X-Prize concept supported by corporations (large and small) who are not only financing the solution, but are part of the ideation in true partnership with the organizations that are currently playing in this space. With 85,000 charities in Canada, there are some amazing people doing amazing things - but how many are actually working together on those amazing things? How many of them are actually competing against each other for funding of their amazing idea - what if it was a collective approach? As a funder, if a group could show you that by investing in the collective they could take your investment and leverage it 2-fold, 5-fold or 10-fold, would you take that risk with that collective? This is a new form of social finance (perhaps even philanthropy) that could fundamentally shift the way that our charitable sector seeks and secures funding.
Utopia? Improbable? As community investors, are we prepared to take this type of risk?