Features

Canva - a simple design tool

If you want to present information in a more creative, engaging and memorable way but have no design skills, Canva can help you. Canva is a really simple design tool that requires no experience or formal training in graphic design programs such as Photoshop or Indesign. It enables you to create posters, flyers, infographics, website graphics, invites and even presentations without any fuss, and in no time at all. And it's free to use. Simply set-up an account and start creating designs.

Timelines and stories

A big part of my job is running training sessions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identities for staff who work in older peoples’ services.

Reconstructing Ourselves

Art projects do not normally seek ethical clearance – but when should they?

Reconstructing Ourselves is an Arts Research project with patients and staff in complex breast reconstruction at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales. I wrote my first creative bite just as we were starting and we are now one year on and six months left to run. See the invite to the symposium and exhibition and more information at: www.reconstructingourselves.com

Failing better

I’ve been talking a lot about failure recently. We know that risk and failure are central components of innovation. Indeed, it’s been claimed that “success can breed failure by hindering learning at both the individual and the organisational level” (Gino and Pisano, 2011).

So, I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that we need to share our experiences of failure as well as our success stories.

It isn’t easy though, is it? Particularly in the public sector. Failure is news. It generates controversy, particularly about who was responsible.

Wiggio

Communities of practice or enterprise social networks as they're also known are great for sharing learning, developing new connections and collaborating. The Knowledge Hub, Yammer and Socialcast are examples of platforms where people come together to collaborate, network and share information. These online communities can save a lot of time and money as there's no need to travel long distances, replenish the petrol tank or raid the purse for train and bus fares.

Some stories and some gifts

It is some time since I blogged here – apologies to anyone who missed me and apologies, also, to anyone who would have been happy for me to stay away!

This time around is all about stories and gifts. The first story is that of the Creative Conversations that I have been working on for 3 years with Edinburgh Council and the wonderful Linda Lees, who has been the driving force behind them.

School of Life

I recently attend two courses at the School of Life. One was called ‘How to communicate better at work’ and the other ‘How to have better conversations’. Both classes were pretty theoretical (as the School of Life has arisen from making people aware of the philosophies we do or do not engage with in our lives). However, one key point I drew from each class was that good questions are key when communicating.

Creative consultations

I work for LGBT Health and Wellbeing, supporting services working with older people to become more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This is a valuable opportunity to affect change – and I want it to be the change that older LGBT people actually want to see! 

Taking the time to tinker

I come from a family of tinkerers. My granddad was always in his shed hacking away at something or in the garage mucking about with his Morris Minor. He was a postman, not a carpenter or an engineer or a mechanic. Mostly, he didn’t know what he was doing. My grandparent’s house was full of botched repair jobs. (Putty, I remember a lot of putty. And gaffer tape.) And the car probably only just stayed on the right side of road worthiness.

Encouraging storytelling part 3

Turning points

This exercise comes with a health warning - it can unearth unwanted emotions. Participants need to be encouraged to look after themselves and only deal with parts of their lives that they choose to.

Draw a linear graph of the ups and downs of your life. Make it as simple or complex as you like, add colour and illustration. This was a particularly useful tool during a two year project with asylum seekers where language was limited.