As a growing charity, we feel it is essential to define and develop the ‘See Change Methodology’, which embodies the culture of our organisation. This will not only help us better understand the value of our work and what makes us special, but will also help communicate our work to current and future participants and team members, partners, funders and larger audiences in a clear and coherent way.
This is why we decided to run a series of workshops to discuss and define our culture and methodology. Read more to find out about the process and outcomes of the workshops.
We are very lucky to have a highly engaged board of Trustees, and the series of workshops was facilitated by one of our Trustees, Robbie Stamp. Robbie - currently Chairman of Bioss International, h2g2.com and The Hitchhiker's Foundation - is particularly interested in the relationship between purpose and strategy and about what it takes for organisations to truly live that strategy. He highlighted the importance of clearly articulating a shared understanding of See Change culture:
“As we are scaling our work and bringing in new people, it is so important to make implicit knowledge explicit - you can also think of it as creating the DNA of the organisation. This will allow us to grow with confidence and, through a growing number of See Change programmes, touch more people’s lives positively.”
With this in mind, our core team, trustees and past participants sat down to tackle a whole series of questions. In the first workshop we described and identified key stages of the film training process; in the second workshop we explored these key stages in more detail and discussed best practice; and in our final session we focused on different ways of embodying our methodology - we want to make sure our culture goes beyond words and is lived through everything we do.
One of the great outcomes from these workshops was simply getting to sit down together and really get to the bottom of what it is we want to achieve as a team. As our CEO, Helen Cotton, put it, “it was great to hear everyone’s thoughts, and feel we are very much on the same page about the importance of our work and why and how we do what we do.”
During the sessions it became increasingly clear that the very core of what we do is working together with our participants, supporting them to become authors of their stories.
“It struck me that we are creating a truly shared task as part of the training process, enabling our participants to take ownership of the filming process and creating a space in which they can use their own judgement and decision making skills. Talking to some of our participants it became clear that the sense of ownership was something different from some of the other programmes they had experienced.”
- Robbie Stamp
For us the social process of the film-training is as important as the technical process. We talked a lot about how we create the space for participants to explore the issues and problems that they are facing in a safe environment. The people we have worked with include individuals at imminent risk of family breakdown, young people involved in gangs, offending or exploitation, and parents whose children have been removed from their care. It is crucial that we always work with flexibility, respect and sensitivity in order that our participants feel heard and celebrated. This involves acknowledging that everyone’s contribution and success looks different.
It was great to see how much everyone enjoyed the workshops and came out with a stronger team spirit and clearer understanding of why the way we work makes the difference it does. We are already planning the next step in developing our methodology, which will involve working with a larger group of our alumni members to get their feedback and to focus on the language we use when we describe what we do.
We will share our progress on the blog so keep an eye out for updates.