Creating workshops with a difference – Youth Leaders in Aged Care

How do you get young people to be more involved in aged care boards? Injecting fresh innovative ideas into boards requires a new approach. Rather than a traditional workshop, with sticky notes that don’t stick, the organizers ran an “unconference” where people across generations could share ideas in real-time using an online brainstorming tool. Combining an audience response system with guest speakers from leadership bodies helped to engage the crowd and capture more ideas quickly and come up with strategies for action.

Dr Nicky Howe of Southcare Inc.

Alicia Curtis, Facilitator

Teaming up with Southcare Inc and facilitator Alicia Curtis, GroupMap joined in the action with over 30 brilliant minds to create innovative aged care organisations.

“How can we redesign our services and become more socially innovative?”

Dr. Nicky Howe

Southcare Unconference

Here’s their top 3, which they were happy to share. How would you rate?

1. Be okay with failing – Don’t blame failure, celebrate it. Define the appetite for the risk, then take a bite!

2. Create a culture of open communication – have respectful debates and look outside your own community for ideas.

3. Challenge the values of the boardroom– give people permission to think with innovation and challenge the “common sense” approach in the boardroom.

Engaging youth was the next challenge, but with over 46 ideas generated, there were certainly a few standouts. Popular actions included advertising in youth areas and universities, reaching out to grandchildren and specialised training programs. Specific governance strategies included changing constitutions to re-define board profiles to hosting youth-driven think tanks. Ideas that really broke from the norm included reaching out to detention centres, immigrant families and having permanent rotating positions.
So how did they come up with these ideas?
People sat in cross-generation teams and were addressed by industry leaders who shared their views and insights, creating a little communication fodder. Some believed it was about creating innovation champions within organisations and individuals change agents (Sue Van Leeuwan, CEO-Leadership WA) whilst others believed it required the whole Board to have the right mix and culture. Patrick Critchton, Justine Colyer – Chair.CEO – Rise Network). What seemed less divided was the need for training the next generation through structured pathways (Julian Keys- Chairperson, Swancare) and creativity and diversity on boards to ensure you aren’t just recycling the same old concepts.(Andrew York, CEO – People who care) The group was given tasks like writing a business case for their board and to brainstorm takeaway actions to increase engagement of youth in aged care. Seeing a room full of passionate people taking a collaborative approach to problem-solving was great. Coupled with an electronic meeting tool that brings everyone’s ideas together in real-time was an effective way to solve common problems across the sector.
From our perspective, it was great to see the inter-generational sharing and diversity of the team come together to meet help solve the issues associated with the Aged Care sector. Having a mixed team of ages, genders and industry backgrounds doesn’t come without its challenges. Sufficient time is needed to allow each participant to share their story and to justify why their idea should “stay on the page.”

All the best for your next collaborative workshop. We hope these tips and story helps you create better engagement too! Here are some testimonials from the facilitator and some of the participants during the workshop.

We Get Creativity Tips from 5 Industry Leaders

What tips for creativity can we learn from 5 industry leaders?

In our very first public group brainstorming workshop, GroupMap joined the Pause Fest-Digital Festival during Innovation Month and had the opportunity to talk to industry leaders about what fuels their creative engine. From the head of the festival, to motion music masters and animation artists, we’ve asked them to contribute to our online brainstorming exercise.

Our question- What top creativity tips do you use?

Here’s what each of the industry leaders had to say.

George Hedon – PauseFest Digital Festival

When he’s not accused of being too photogenic on camera, George and his awesome festival crew run the digital festival in and out of Australia. Here’s what he had to say…
  • Surround yourself with talented people Being around other creative people helps you realize new ways to be creative. They challenge you with good insight or critique.
  • Curate interesting things Collecting interesting or new items can give you something to reflect on and “admire”. This can help some people clear their heads or spark new ideas.
  • Combine different things together Mixing and matching things that don’t usually go together can help to realise a totally new idea. If something isn’t working for you, try combining it with something else and see where it goes. (hmm… we wondered where kite surfing came from)

Robyn Fawcett – Shock records

Robyn is the Digital Marketing Manager for Shock Records in Melbourne. Pablo is the co-founder of the creative agency ‘Plenty’. They both sat down for a post-lunch chat to tell us their top creative tips.
  • Research your audience It may sound contradictory, but a little research effort goes a long way to focus your message. Creativity doesn’t have to be coming up with a wild idea no one understands, it just has to be one your audience does.
  • Fake it till you make it Trick your brain into believing you already have all the answers. If you can act or pretend to be creative, then perhaps the subconscious brain will follow suit.
  • Tap into a dream state Relaxing or dozing off can help to ease some stress from your mind and open it to new ideas. Be prepared for a little active dreaming.

Pablo Alfieri from ‘Plenty

  • PLAY and Brainstorm Make it okay to play, then brainstorm and map your ideas visually to help bring order to chaos. Seeing what you’ve been thinking can help you create new branches from existing ideas.
  • Set time limits and give yourself time. Some people work better when faced with a deadline. Putting a time limit on yourself can force you to get down to business and get the ideas going. Create both time and a timeline for creativity.
  • Meet people and work together. If you ask Pablo, he’ll say that he enjoys being with people. It gives him energy and it helps to create energy and inspiration. It fuels the time for self-reflection and private creativity.

Foo Ching Sung from Squint/Opera

Foo Ching Sung – or ‘Fooch’ as he is better known – heads up Squint/Opera’s Australian division, focusing on architectural films.
  • Teach/Give knowledge back Sharing what you know can open the door to a whole new set of thoughts and ideas. By mentoring others you reinforce that knowledge in yourself, while helping others. That’s a win-win win!
  • Steal ideas Using other people’s work as inspiration can stimulate your own creativity. By observing other people’s creativity, you can emulate them and create your own unique ideas.
  • Look back Pull out that old notebook, those high school sketches, or dust off a previous prototype. There might just be a treasure trove from a snippet of the past. What may not have inspired you then can quite possibly do so now!

Chris Vik – Ethno Tekh

Chris is one half of the talented duo “Ethno Tekh”. They blend music and movement capture technology together seamlessly to create an amazing visual performance.
  • Collaboration It’s not just about blending music and tech. It’s about working with other artists and cranial mind masters to find new projects.
  • Try new things Keep an open mind by actively fueling it. What was your last venture into the unknown?
  • Change of scenery Sometimes creativity can be blocked by your environment. Taking a walk or moving to a different room can help to refresh yourself and get your thoughts going again. Don’t believe it? Try it.
And finally a few parting phrases from Mark Simpson MC and head honcho of design and animation house Sixty40criticise yourself constructively, persevere, and work hard! The GroupMap team wants to give a great big thank you to all our fantastic interviewees as well as the bunch of brilliant minds that contributed to our tips for creativity GroupMap. From the GroupMap Team. Want to create your own brainstorm with your team? GroupMap lets you create brainstorming templates to innovate, create, ideate and prioritise. trial it free at

GroupMap at PauseFest


Big Brains for Science – How to get a group to work together

Australian Council of Deans of Science Breakout group brainstorm ways to improve pre-service teaching in an interactive workshop.

The Big Questions:
  •  What essential skills should secondary teachers in Science and Maths have?
  • What complementary skills should secondary teachers in Science and Maths have?
  • What can Science and Education Faculties at University do to improve this?
  • How can Science and Education Faculties collaborate to improve pre-service teaching?
We take for granted that much of the world as we see it is only possible through constant and sustaining scientific research. This knowledge transfer starts in primary and secondary schools and encouraging and engaging students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a growing need. Broad scientific literacy is needed by the Australian community. Full stop!!
Dean Professor Jo Ward, Dean of Science, Curtin University
Following the Annual General Meeting of the Deans of Science across 30 Australian Universities, a plenary session was run by Professor Jo Ward, Dean of Science, Curtin University.

GroupMap was used by the Deans to respond to Treasury announcements targeting sustainable programs to improve pre-service teaching. The question style involved initial segregation between essential and complementary skills for pre-service teachers. Participants then moved towards the key question of what could be done at the Faculty level (Science, Education, and Combined) to best meet the criteria for the funding programs.
The outcomes ranged from statements of intent to suggestions of pragmatic initiatives that mirrored best practice examples. Common themes and goals were shared with the group in real-time and this then formed the framework for collaborative practice discussions. By being able to quickly consolidate information from the group meant that everyone could move through the questions quickly, leaving more time for lunch and networking.
GroupMap is very supportive of improving teaching and learning outcomes, so this initiative was one we could not say no to. It was fantastic to see ideation and sharing by a group of thought leaders who have the potential to continue to improve and enhance Australia’s scientific prowess. Our thanks to Professor John Rice, Executive Officer of the ACDS, and Professor Jo Ward, Dean of Science, Curtin University for choosing to use GroupMap at this event.