“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about” said Margaret J Wheatley, and if this is the case, then regional WA is in great hands after 21 of it’s brightest and most passionate innovation champions came together to capacity build and learn from each other over 2 days. The community builders bootcamp was facilitated by Skills of the Modern Age and focused on up-skilling regional innovation champions from the Mid West, Yanchep, South West, Wheatbelt and Great Southern.
It is intended that participants become experts in designing, organisation and facilitating programs that encourage innovation and up-skilling in their regions. The program focuses on working with current community leaders and providing them the tools, skills and support to facilitate impactful programs in their regions, including hackathons, design thinking sessions, Accelerator programs and ‘future skills’ workshops. The initial training will be backed up by a 6 month mentor program where SoMA will run train-the-trainer sessions with participants in Geraldton, Wheatbelt, Bunbury and Albany.
One of the benefits of bringing individual champions together in the one place (which is a rarity due to time and distance) was to get a really good sense of the differences and similarities across ecosystems in different regions. In particular, one of the sessions focused on assessing current maturity levels of each regions innovation ecosystem, using the Regional Innovation Ecosystem Maturity Model which we can use as baseline data as the regions actively develop their community based programs and want to measure impact.
The value in networking across regions cannot be understated, with participants being able to test their own experiences and assumptions with facilitators in ecosystems that range from early to mature. Leading innovation in a region can be an isolating, frustrating and complex experience, by strengthening this network of champions we hope to build a support network that ensures success.