Buzzing with ideas

Yesterday the whole TimeBank team from both our offices in London and Birmingham were at our Away Day. The day was organised, prepared and run pro bono by our friends at leading innovation agency Happen.

We’ve worked with Happen before but it’s a few years since we’ve had a full Away Day like this and the first since many of our new staff joined us so we were really excited about what we could achieve.

Everyone has different views on the value of events like this but when they are run well in a friendly and engaging way they can’t fail to be a success.  In advance we’d been sent our ‘Muse books’ a little booklet that set out the day and asked questions for us to ponder and research – where is our sector going? What are new and upcoming government initiatives that might impact on our sector? What can we learn from other charities? We were also asked what TimeBank does really well – a question that is easy to answer if you are the CEO: “everything”! But more of a risk when asking your staff team – what if they don’t think we do anything well?! 

So we arrived all prepared. We’d read the business plan and we had our books, our ideas and our creativity. The Happen offices are designed to be a comfortable, innovative and crucially, given some of our staff had never been to a day like this before, non-threatening environment. Sally-Anne and Gabriel just guided us through the day – by the afternoon, helped along by endless sugary products and a fantastic lunch we were down to the hard work – creating four new projects that we could develop back in the office to take TimeBank to the next stage in our journey in this new challenging environment the charity sector finds itself in. Before we fed back to everyone some of our trustees had arrived to share with us why they volunteer for TimeBank and to learn from the team the different ideas and themes we’d worked up during the day.

The enthusiasm and ideas were fantastic – everyone got to work in different teams throughout the day.  For the first time since our office expansion in Birmingham everybody met everyone else, putting faces to names and learning about their new colleagues. We have an amazing group of people at TimeBank and days like yesterday remind you of just what an outstanding resource our staff are and how many hidden skills we have lurking within that we can tap into as we grow in size and ambition. The day ended as all good Away Days should with drinks and nibbles and some socialising with our colleagues. Whoever says that Away Days are a waste of time should see just how far they can take you towards your goals and aspirations – no idea is wrong and everyone can contribute. And if you are wondering – staff reported that there were lots of things TimeBank does well, phew!!