Creative and Philanthropic Team Building Activities: Ones that Give Back

Wondering what you might do for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 in 2011 and beyond? Here’s a great idea from Team Builders Plus.

Philanthropic Team Building…Give & Get Even More Back in Return
by Andy Kraus

Source: Jonathan Calugi. http://www.happyloverston.eu

Despite what is going on with our current economic situation, most corporate groups understand the value of taking part in a team building activity. Goals of the team building activity have gone beyond showing appreciation, boosting morale and improving employee relationships. Many teams are utilizing the time dedicated to a team building activity as an opportunity to make a positive impact on their community.

Wheels for the World is a popular team building activity where the participants build bicycles and take part in challenges to earn the bicycle parts. The bikes are then donated to kids from United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club, to name a few, and for many of the kids, its their first bike.

There is a new outdoor philanthropic team building activity called Kindness Wins. This is no ordinary treasure hunt. Instead of searching for hidden clues or caches, teams are let loose to make a positive difference. No good deed is too small and no act of kindness goes unnoticed. Teams earn Good Karma points by holding a door open for a stranger, returning something, such as a shopping cart, to its proper place, or by using a Post-it note to make someone’s day.

There are many more acts of kindness that your team will take part in and participants will also have the opportunity to create their own symbol of generosity and giving that will serve as a reminder back at work of what they experienced on this special day.

Combining a team building program with a philanthropic activity is a win-win for everyone, functionally, spiritually and mentally.

Andy Kraus, is the Director of Team Development at Team Builders Plus, in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Other Philanthropic Team Building Ideas and Suppliers

Team Bonding offers a number of philanthropic team building activities that ‘do good’ for the team and the community. A great list to get the gist of this growing approach to building teams.

Team Buzz offers The Rookie. The main objective of this activity is for teams to grow a small investment into a big pile of money. They will do this through a range of tasks they are required to perform such as busking, creating artwork to be sold, shoe shining, and a lot more money making opportunities for the public. In the end, the money earned by teams can be donated to a charity of your own choice.

TeamBuilding Unlimited calls their philanthropic team building activities Charity Challenge. Have Your Cake and Eat it Too capitalizes on team creativity and sweet tooth and community service. Teams are challenged to design and decorate cakes to reflect their team, their company and more that will be donated to local hospitals, schools and children’s centers. TBU provides the sheet cakes, decorations and icing that teams use to create a visual and tasty masterpiece.

World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21

If you could invent a brand new charity challenge or philanthropic team building activity for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 what would it be?  Ready to start creating one?  What if you did?

Related Articles

Happiness economics. The Economist Human Potential Conference.

I’ve learned something recently which is likely not news to you.  When respected economists talk, people pay attention.  Now that they are talking about Human Potential, there’s a chance the people factor will count in high level decision making.

Happiness economics speaks to human potential. It emerged in the early 1970s’ when economist Richard Easterlin revisited the importance of happiness in society, thereby influencing economists and those who seek their counsel to use new ideas and make new decisions to create exciting new futures. (World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 fits in this agenda.  It’s purpose, since  2001, is to encourage and engage people in using their creativity – new ideas and new decisions – to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.)

What is Happiness Economics?

From a paper, The Economics of Happiness by Carol Graham, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution
“The economics of happiness is an approach to assessing welfare which combines the techniques typically used by economists with those more commonly used by psychologists.
While psychologists have long used surveys of reported well-being to study happiness, economists only recently ventured into this arena. Early economists and philosophers, ranging from Aristotle to Bentham, Mill, and Smith, incorporated the pursuit of happiness in their work. Yet, as economics grew more rigorous and quantitative, more parsimonious definitions of welfare took hold. Utility was taken to depend only on income as mediated by individual choices or preferences within a rational individual’s monetary budget constraint.”
PDF of her paper here.  Also check Happiness Economics in Wikipedia.

Seems The Economist is also helping to spread this work.  Notice that cognitive diversity and emotional intelligence are on their program agenda, below.

Human Potential Conference via The Economist

Given the massive changes in global demography—billions of people are being lifted out of poverty—the demand for a well-trained workforce has never been greater. Combine that with the pace of scientific innovation, which is providing new insights into the workings of the human brain and advancing neuroscience and genomics at a staggering pace—and dramatically increasing life expectancies around the world.
Today, humankind is on track to advance mentally, physically and economically more than ever before. But there are still serious strategic challenges. Many governments around the world continue to violate human rights and civil liberties, job growth is stunted in many industries following a massive global economic crisis, the income gap around the world continues to widen, and there’s the problem of how to educate billions of new people in the coming decades—and manage their entry into the job market.
The nature of work is changing dramatically. The Millennial Generation has very different ideas than previous generations about what it means to have a job—demanding greater fluidity, more international travel, virtualization, and the need to perform jobs that improve humankind as much as earn profits. At the same time, companies also see the value in a team and project-oriented approach to management.
The days of corporate loyalty are long over; today people move around, ebb and flow. What does this mean for the future of the job market? What skills are necessary to survive and thrive in the ideas economy? And what are the perils to living in an environment where change is the only constant? The Economist will dig deep into the issue of human potential to uncover the challenges and opportunities ahead. Topics include
  • The new global landscape (population growth)
  • Key emerging industries
  • The role of government in catalyzing job creation
  • Environmental challenges in a crowded world
  • Expanding the new rules of entrepreneurship
  • The changing nature of the job market
  • The new (cognitive) diversity
  • Leadership in the twenty-first century
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Immigration and globalization
  • The future of the brain and human body
  • Financial planning for immortals.

Full program here

Chaos and Potential

chaosWhat if we could redefine chaos and uncertainty?
The modern idea of chaos—something totally without order and seemingly disruptive by nature—was formed during Roman times, when writer/philosopher Ovid chose to put his stamp on the whole idea in Metamorphosis, calling it “a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap.”

Before that, the Greek Chaos (Khaos) was less of a “void” or a mess. It was understood as a gap filled with fertile potential from which everything and anything could come.

Chaos holds a certain fascination. Within its vast, undefined gap exists every potential which could ever be. This is how this creativity professional feels. When a change occurs, sudden or planned, my first reaction is, “What’s that about?” with an eye to recognizing what is ending. The second is, “I wonder what’s next.” Third, “What potentials are presenting themselves as trumpet calls for moving forward?”

My wish is that all people feel confident drawing from C/chaos’ endless, unbounded potential in creating something new, something unknown, something possibly highly useful, delightful, intriguing or otherwise.

This is why World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15 – 21 exists. To encourage and engage people all over the world to use their creativity (new ideas and new decisions) to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.

And this is why my professional work is in creativity – to help people in organizations unleash the unlimited potential to realize successful and exciting new futures.

Insights into Your Creativity – Life in a Day

There’s a great opportunity to take part in a global creativity event and plant idea seeds for your World Creativity and Innovation Week celebrations April 15 – 21, happening in nine months. How serendipitous that this door is opening now, inviting you to use new ideas and make new decisions to give birth to an exciting new future, and ideas for WCIW.

Your Creativity

Pay attention to your reactions to the announcement to participate in a global experiment to gain tremendous insights into your response to a creative proposition.  If you say, no, that’s not for me, what does that mean?  If you say yes, you can ask yourself what that’s about too.  Are you more creative if you answer one way and not the other?

If you say no, consider what might happen if you say yes.  There’s no cost involved to imagine alternative futures and to stay open to new ideas.

Life in a Day

Life In A Day is a global experiment to create a user-generated feature film: a documentary, shot in a single day, by you. On 24 July, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

If your video is included in the final film, you’ll be credited as a co-director and may be one of 20 contributors selected to attend the film’s world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

How this helps you to gain insight into yours and others’ creativity

  1. Scroll through the comments made for these clips on YouTube.  You’ll read negativity, doubt, apprehension, excitement, joy and curiosity, typical responses different people have to new ideas. Viewing them can prepare you for the reactions people might have for your paradigm ‘cracklings’.
  2. Notice your own reaction to the invitation to take part. The emotions you feel and the thoughts you think will clue you in to how and why people respond to your ideas they way they do.  Consider it.

There are great insights to be had about the nature of the human spirit in the face of change and opportunity, even when there is nothing to lose and something to gain from participating. Plus, there’s an added bonus of a potential payoff from others.

Get your cameras ready…

World Creativity and Innovation Week at the World Futures Conference

To help you start planning for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21, 2011, here’s a copy of the presentation Tom McMillian, Megan Mitchell and I made at the World Futures Conference in Boston on July 10 entitled World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit.

We’d love to include your stories, photos, videos, web pages and logos in our upcoming presentations, so let us know what you’ve been up to and what you are planning. Help spread the word. Send your links, other info and questions to marci at creativityland.net.

Start talking up World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 at your work, school, club, community and get some plans together for something you can do a little differently, using new ideas, new decisions and a sprinkling of imagination to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too, without causing harm.

The Creativity Crisis – Newsweek

The Creativity Crisis – Newsweek.

Just in case you haven’t seen this yet.  Worth reading.

newsweek_coverFor the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.

About 10 years ago, a similar headline appeared in Canada’s National Post newspaper, and, as a result, World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) was born. Celebrations began in 2002 and now cover the globe. It’s purpose is to engage and inspire people to use their creativity to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.

WCIW happens wherever you are.  It’s grassroots, spread through word-of-mouth and is totally volunteer.

For further info see: www.worldcreativity.ca and the attached presentation document from the World Futures Society presentation: World Creativity and Innovation Week: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit.

WCIW handout FINAL

Further contact @worldcreativity

Sustaining the Human Spirit at the World Futures Conference

Off to the World Futures Conference in Boston for the next few days to learn and contribute to what’s happening in the future, this year’s theme: Sustainable Futures, Strategies and Technologies.

Sparked by the notion that the future really depends on the people who make it happen, we’re presenting two sessions to emphasize the importance of how people feel when they engaged in using new thinking to make new decisions. One is a pre-conference all day workshop, the other a concurrent conference session.

Making the Covert Overt: Strategies to Sustain the Creative Human Spirit in Futures Planning

During this pre-conference session Megan Mitchell and I will be making the case that affect or emotion, influences people’s involvement in futures planning workshops and will show a variety of techniques to show the effectiveness of using a framework developed by Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef as a guide. The day long session provides:

  • Proven presentation and engagement techniques to foster improved futures thinking and foresight by honoring the human spirit
  • Strategies, tools and tips for unleashing new pathways to knowledge

World Creativity and Innovation Week: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit

WCIW logoThis concurrent session provides insights into ways creativity can be actualized annually for the benefit of creating better futures.  World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 (WCIW) began in Canada in 2001 and is celebrated in more than 43 countries. It’s grass roots, word-of-mouth, volunteer and it continues to grow.

Tom McMillian, Megan Mitchell and I  present the rationale behind the celebration, its history and share examples of its positive influence citing examples from

  • corporate (Pfizer Consumer Health, Disney, PHD Canada)
  • public sector (Ontario government)
  • education (International Center for Studies in Creativity, American University)
  • community (Bangkok, Thailand; Buenos Ares, Argentina; Brussels, Belgium; Sydney, Australia)

celebrations from around the globe. Tom and Megan were heavily involved in Pfizer Consumer Health’s global celebration in 2006.

WCIW was created to encourage people to use their creativity to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.

Our handout is attached – it highlights suggestions for planning ways to celebrate, how to get involved, and gives contact information.

WCIW handout FINAL

Looking forward to blogging news from the future…

Open minds, hearts, eyes to new ideas, new decisions, new actions: one week worldwide

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