My Cosmic Journey of Discovery02 Oct 2019
The Lens is a programme designed to encourage and develop creative, innovative and intrapreneurial activity in an organisation - that is thinking and behaving like an entrepreneur inside an organisation. The Lens provides an opportunity for colleagues to bid for investment in their ideas, and gives them training to help develop them and their idea.
Sarah Jones is a Local Care and Support Team Member based in our Moray Branch. She presented her innovative idea to create a dome fitted with calming lighting and sound to promote wellbeing for the people she supports to The Lens. I was inspired to find out more:
How it all started (the planets aligned)
I didn’t realise that when I re-joined Cornerstone in June 2017 after 12 years away that the very reason I came back would also take me on my intrepreneurial journey. I think the planets must have been aligned, as the timing was perfect.
It was the LCAST concept of self-managed teams that drew me back to Cornerstone, and it was the same innovative thinking which inspired me to enter The Lens. It was, in fact, during the LCAST training that the first tiny particles of my idea around creating a ‘SensOdome’ were first developed. We were given a group exercise to design something which would benefit the people we support, and a little voice at the back of my head said to store the idea to use in the future.
A few months later, the opportunity to take part in The Lens turned the light bulb turned back on. As soon as that trigger was made my imagination got sparked, and before long I was imagining a dome and could see everything in countless vivid colours. I kept trying to push it out of my head and I just couldn’t get peace! I finally listened to the voice and put my application in, not least so I got a good night’s sleep as I was waking at 3am with ideas and images of what a ‘SensOdome’ could be and I was telling myself “come on, just let me sleep”!
I did a lot of background work before making the final application. I visited another dome to get some more on the technical specifications and started to visualise how I would adapt it to suit a different purpose. I met with our advisor from The Lens and she encouraged me to have the confidence to put my idea forward. Initially I wondered if I was crazy for having such an idea, but she inspired me to come forward and do it.
Something in the back of my mind was driving me forward. Before all of this I was at a critical junction in my working life where I had become quite despondent with things. It was starting to take away from why I went into social care: looking after and supporting people. I went through a rough patch in terms of my own mental health and I was at a point where I wanted to walk away from social care; and then I get the vision and the motivation to create the ‘SensOdome’ and it gave me fuel to keep me going. It really reignited my love of social care.
Bringing ourselves to work
I believe in divine timing and things happening for a reason. Being involved in The Lens programme became the thing I needed to give me the strength to keep me going with my work. The Lens workshops gave me the opportunity to indulge the creative side of me. I am somewhat wacky character - very abstract - but for some reason the workshop gave me the environment to unwrap and express the SensOdome concept even though I was in a mixed group of peers. The atmosphere was supportive and everyone was really rooting for each other - which I thought was great! So even though the Lens program was meant to be a competition for funding, the emphasis was very much on collaboration.
Supporting each other
There was weeks when I kept waking up at ‘stupid o’clock’ rehearsing my pitch for the Investment Day in my head; I was so anxious. The rehearsal was a life saver as it took away half of the nerves. After the first storytelling workshop I didn’t actually think I would get my pitch down on paper, or even get to the stage. But I did. It was the supportive work environment that allowed this to happen and the sense of belonging to the group. We developed good working relationships even though we didn’t get the opportunity to see each other much as a group. I always looked forward to the workshops. It was quite a pick-me-up after the, sometimes, frustrations of my day job.
The bigger picture
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I sometimes think that front-line colleagues such as myself don’t think enough of ourselves. I don’t think many of us realise how creative and innovative we are every day. I suppose its second nature to many of us because of the nature of who we are and the job we do. We are lucky to see the people we support on a daily basis, which is a reminder of why we do what we do. We forget there is a bigger organisation behind us and it was nice to go from our day-to-day role, where we are so entangled with the lives of the people we support and where we just get bogged down with the day-to-day stuff, to something different. It was good to get a reminder that we are part of something bigger too.
My personal journey
The connection between people is what I thrive from, and my Lens journey has connected me with people to drive my creativity. I am very impulsive and good at visualising things, but not always patient enough to see the end result. And that is what I am still learning through this process. I just want to build the dome and get out there but I am taking my time and not rushing into it.