Innovators Hub Catalyst – day 2

The second day of IHC was brilliant, we’d been set up with a WhatsApp group where we could all communicate. A few of the group were early so we decided to meet up for coffee first. This was a great opportunity to get to know a few of the group more.

Our first event of the day was a talk from Mark Harland from ‘We Are Form’. His drive and passion to "help people and organisations work better" hoped to have us leave the day changed and more in touch with ourselves.

Mark started by telling us a little about himself and what he had done. With 25 years of experience behind him we were all excited to see what he had to share with us. Mark asked us to suspend disbelief for the day and trust him. He shared with us an optical illusion where there was a chessboard with an A and B placed in what looked like different coloured squares. Mark told us the A & B squares were the same colour and asked if we believed him. 90% of the class said they did not and that the squares were obviously different colours. This is an illusion that is phased by perspective. The squares are in fact the same colour but the squares that surround them are darker shades that distort your eyes and make them seem like they’re different. It’s about our perception of reality, we’ve all seen chess boards before in our life and know what they look like so the idea that the squares would be different colours doesn’t register in our minds even though our eyes might see it.

Next we talked about our values and our driving ‘whys’, the reason we do things, how we felt about our current situations in life and where we wanted to go. This really opened my eyes to a lot of thoughts and feelings. Listening to people in the group share how they felt their career was going and have Mark dig into that with asking why until he found what was driving that person. Speaking about the grey zone, where you don’t love what you do but you don’t hate it enough to leave, finding yourself in a limbo. He spoke to us about why we wanted to go to work, why we do the things we do. All of these questions brought out something in the group, making us think even more. It was almost therapeutic in a way, to dig deep into ourselves and to find out own driving why.

After some more of this session, on finding our strengths and working on them, we were given an activity - a leap frog game. Nine pieces of paper were on the ground and we got into groups of eight. Each group split in half, and stood on the paper facing each other. There was one square of paper left as a gap in the middle. You were only allowed to move the way you’re facing; you can only move 1 piece at a time unless you’re overtaking someone then you can jump two. The object of the game is to get everyone from one side to the opposite side. This is another activity that seems easy but isn’t. It took everyone quite a few tries to be able to see where we were going wrong. The people in the middle are so focused with moving their side forward that you get stuck after 3 turns. We switched our team so that the people in the front were in the back as we just kept going round in circles. As soon as we did this, one of the members of our team had it click. We had to change our perspective to be able to see where we were going wrong and eventually there was only one group left that hadn’t succeeded yet. The groups gathered around to watch and see when they eventually completed it and were met with applause.

After this Mark spoke a little more about our strengths and accepting ourselves. We created a Venn diagram of our passions, what we were good at and how we can use those to make money. One of the things that ended up in the centre of mine was being organised, which works out well with my goals. I don’t know exactly where I will end up but my real dream job is to be a PA. So my driving why could be to help people and make their lives easier and happier by being organised. Mark assured us that even if we don’t know our strengths yet we will find them – a great finale to his session.

At the end of our time at IHC we will have a graduation of sorts and our next task focussed around this. Each team was given a fictional £1 million to plan the perfect party. Our group’s idea was a lavish boat party with endless drinks and food, an amazing DJ and a photo booth where we could have polaroids taken and write our favourite memory on from the last few weeks. After a few minutes we were informed that our original £1 million has been downgraded to £500 so we needed to change our ideas. Our group tried to keep a similar idea but more of a DIY party. This included: A Spotify playlist were everyone could have their own music, having it in the office we were in, making use of some of the budding photographers in our group having people take turns to take photos, and to finish off we would blow up balloons for a big balloon drop at the end.

This was a great activity for learning to compromise.

Then it was time for Robyn’s session. She gave us a talk on what shaped her as a person, where she came from and the things that shaped her into the person she was today. It was inspirational and amazingly thought-provoking. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll know what I mean and I hope you do. After Robyn was done, we were set to put down 3 things that we thought shaped us through our lives so far. We were given pieces of A3 card to draw them if we wanted. We sat in a very large circle and were each given 3 minutes tell the rest of the group what we had. I suddenly felt even more support and joy to be able to be part of such a great group. I was surrounded by people sharing the highs and lows of their life. At points it was even emotional for some. Being truly open, honest and trusting with a group of pretty much 40 strangers is nerve-wracking, but we all came out with a newfound trust and respect for one another and it brought us all closer together.