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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Monday 28 November 2011

Diss Off Clothing

Vegetarian breakfasts in Melbourne come with avocado and spinach.   Food is a serious vocation.  A stroll along the block takes in everything from the M word to Sushi.  Maybe I should pop into the barbers for a cut, eat a dirty burger, and hang out with the locals at the liquor store.  I love the fact that opposite my hotel is the slightly on-its-knees looking ‘Elizabeth’ hostel. Nothing is named after Cromwell here. 

Day one of the Melbourne tour kicks off with the wonderful informality of, ‘oh you’re seeing the Minister for housing later today’.  Bring her on.  I like the sense of organised creative anarchy that prevails in a positive way. I join in with a visit from the Oxford Foyer team in Perth, seated around a plate of jumbo muffins. The questions cover the gamut of service provision on what makes an inspiring operational Foyer as we tuck into my six ‘asset tests’.  It’s good to hear that Perth is taking forwards their own version of the Learning power Award. I get the sense that Melbourne likes its ideas, or at least Hanover housing does.  We agree some actions including my suggestion for linking the developing Foyers in Australia with an ‘elders group’ of services from the Foyer Federation’s investor partners, to share practice, offer guidance and work towards some exchanges.  I think that will be an exciting forum.

We head off for what is the first meeting of the Foyer Foundation ‘foyer network’ in the region, where I present Open Talent while John Burger from Anglicare runs through the model for the Perth Oxford Foyer. It’s a privilege to be able to offer an insight into Open Talent to a mix of Foyer practitioners and partners. The questions that follow are impressively wide ranging, intelligent and encouraging, with support from the corporate representatives present that Government is not the only funder in town to make talent happen.  The audience quickly adopts talking about ‘complex goals instead of complex needs’.   It might be just the beginning, but there is clearly an appetite for challenging disadvantaged thinking with something fresh.  John’s presentation on the Oxford Foyer offers the optimism of developing a replicable outcomes model for Government departments to fund and support, rather than the other way around. I’m impressed by the focus, although I’ll be interested to see if a 98 bed service can thrive in the Perth summer without aircon.  I hope it does, it deserves to be a success.

After the meeting, I chat through ideas around accreditation, ‘case management’ and learning with Hanover staff. We come up with a new idea for my next tshirt: ‘I’m a danger to myself and others – watch out!’  Perhaps a clothing range of disadvantaged thinking can go alongside the ‘stand up comedy’ plan.  Anyone like to help out, drop me a line at ‘Diss Off Clothing’.

The day finishes with a meeting with what has now become the Advisor for the Minister for Housing, Tim Rose. Tim has a real commitment to Foyers and instantly gets the ambition in Open Talent to change the service paradigm. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such an engaging conversation with someone from Government. But then I can’t remember when I’ve last had a conversation with someone in Government without  being covered in ink…

On the journey back to the hotel, we pass a Salvation Army Band with Santa hats struggling their way through Xmas hits.  We don't have time to spot their real talent, but it certainly isn't this. Has anyone spotted, the 12 days of Xmas is full of advantaged thinking presents. Santa gives talent to open!

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