Semester update and retreat overview from Executive Director G Tiarachristie
Markers, flip-charts, post-it notes, blown-up charts, fun-shaped stress-balls, jittery hands, and limbs stretching against furniture…
On Saturday, September 15, the office looked like an intensively epic brainstorming scene from the Great Debators (with a several more cups of coffee and post-it tabs… and not enough Denzel Washington). The IF board spent nine hours in the 169 W High Street office space at a Strategic and Tactical Planning Retreat.
This past month, the Idea Fund board has been busy establishing core processes, new protocols, and other succession and organizational documents to ensure its health, viability, and effectiveness as a project resource-center for students.
Continuing our Strength-Weakness-Opportunities-Challanges analysis and strategic planning from this summer, seniors J.J. Luceno and G Tiarachristie worked closely to bring Mr. Bob Boehringer, Vice President in Process Management for the Orion Development Group, to campus and to facilitate tactical planning, process mapping, and team-based problem solving with the Idea Fund.
Mr. Boehringer has been the architect of Orion’s seminar, has helped clients such as Citibank, Microsoft, and Pfitzer, and has worked in the past for Proctor and Gamble and Pepsi-Cola.
Our goals were to build more teamwork, solidify certain processes, and prepare the foundations for more effective succession planning.
Starting 8:00am that Saturday, Mr. Boehringer generously gave his time and teaching skills in an interactive 9-hour crash course on Enterprise Mapping with the IF Board. A professor at heart, he guided us through new frameworks of thinking and visual organizational possibilities—keeping the organized personalities in the room at the edge of their seats.
By 5pm, we had created very comprehensive documents, solidifying the Project Consulting Process, addressing the issues that have arisen in the past, and applying lessons learned into new protocols to ensure inclusion of stakeholders, effective communication, clarity of tasks, structure and organization, and student ownership of their project.
We also created the beginnings of other guiding documents, such as responsibility and cross-functional charts, and identified the next steps to develop the organizational components of the Fund. We were introduced to the idea of a “Parking-Lot”—a board for post-it notes of issues, problems, or ideas that we spontaneously think of to address later, without interrupting the current topic/flow of focused group discussions.
With the guidance of Mr. Boehringer, the board members not only learned new analytical skills about process, steps, and issues applicable to almost anything organizational, but also more about individual strengths and working styles as team leaders.
This planning retreat marks an important stage in the growth of the Idea Fund: building a solid, yet flexible, structure to the foundation of its management, organization, and succession.
With the student-developed and crowd-sourced protocols, maps, and documents that the Idea Fund recently established, we are taking lead and setting a structural example for student-run green revolving loan funds and for-student-by-student project incubators across the nation. Furthermore, we have learned valuable critical thinking, problem solving, program management, and self-development skills for life, along the way.
Because all documents are still in executive committee review stage, they are not yet available on the website.
For a preview of these documents and charts, contact tiarachg @ dickinson.edu.
(What we’ve done and are doing)
- Established meeting facilitation and protocol and rotating facilitator for more learning and skill sharing
- Reorganized general meetings to be more interactive, productive, and student project-focused
- Established a 3-part project development template: Model-Concept-Plan of Action
- Solidified a more comprehensive and inclusive Idea Process—from generation, plan development, review, audit, and close-out/lessons learned.
- Began a Responsibilities Chart
- Began a core process map for Project Consulting Services
- Began a top-down drill chart for Project Consulting Services
- Hosted the 2nd Annual Dessert Formal, bringing together faculty, staff, and students
- Set up working office-hours and individual board member schedules
- Updated the Prezi with more complete information
- Got three new board members and an Idea Fund Fellow Apprentice
- Established a Special Events Coordinator and Office Manager
- Created a Board Orientation Packet, including values, principles, strategies, expectations and procedures
- Created a Venn Diagram of Core Team Processes
- Created a list of learning goals for the board members
- Establishing a finances recording protocol
- Established an outreach protocol
- Established note taking protocol
- Established a project-stage coding and updating system
- Established Community Outreach goals and core processes.
- Created an Executive Committee to help streamline decision making and process planning
- Setting up Milestones and team goals for the year
- Reevaluating and Reengineering the Operations Guide
- Funded our first project on October 10th: Energy Efficient Lighting in Mathers Theater!