Champions – The Change Pioneers

May 9, 2022

Written by Bridget O’Leary

I was privileged to have been a mentor for an awesome team of dedicated and intelligent staff from Box Hill Institute (BHI), called the Change Pioneers which were the winners of the Champions Program, or should I say the Champions of the Champions. Yet, this program was not about winning, this was a program where four teams were all searching for solutions that would benefit BHI. As one individual stated,

‘It doesn’t matter which team is picked as we are all on the journey for the same concept, to better BHI.’

 This team of four were from different areas of BHI including Finance – Josh, CAE – Louis, Social Media – Rhi, and Student Admin- Donna. In addition, some were from Elgar campus and one was from the city campus. Having a diverse range of skills, experience from different locations and diversity in culture and life experience and age, strengthened the ideas and each respected each other and collaborated efficiently and with kindness. The Change Pioneers learnt about the Human Centered Design Process and created a challenge statement to effectively transform BHI practices and process. I learnt so much from this team and their ideas. They interviewed me first and I felt as if it was a therapy session, so cathartic! They treated me well and showed empathy in their interview, they listened and they gave me space to talk and feel comfortable. The Change Pioneers showed how Tech School can build and solidify groups of people to feel connected and build community. Relationships strengthened and what was once four individuals, became a team with shared values and goals and a working group that problem-solved together and gave each other time to speak and be heard. Each was open and honest and gave a part of their life experience to the project, from perspectives in their role to their lessons and hardships over COVID and lockdowns. Everyone felt anew the experience of socializing and establishing connections between people who were initially strangers. At BHI we are so fortunate to be among a team that cares, that appreciates others and shares and grows their knowledge to help the wider community. Learning is not just a goal for students, but all staff know that learning is a lifelong process and a process that means listening and understanding others experiences and perspectives and lived reality.

The Change Pioneers came up with a brilliant idea, and a creative way to pitch this to the top CEO’s at BHI. The idea was to have a Human Skills Library, where people can be ‘borrowed’ and could be learnt from. This has several levels including; an exchange of information, observation of someone in their environment, of ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ information. This would extend to not only work-related information, but also interest-related information. What is most exciting about this process, is that this will be implemented! So, watch out I will borrow you! And if you were lucky enough to view the pitch you would have been touched with the story-telling use of the three little pigs with a twist that was acted out with role play where ‘the next day’ of the little pigs saw them collaborate, share their knowledge of materials (straw, sticks, brick) to recreate structures from the collateral that would include a veranda and a barbeque. This role play symbolized the whole idea at its core, sharing and innovation – as three minds are better than one. Imagine what they could have achieved if the three little pigs had worked together from the start? Then each team member explained their idea and how it would be implemented, including the rewards and benefits for staff. At the end however, the best present for me, was an amazing creative rap song that narrated the process, the learning and the collaboration, all set along to a video of the team dancing, and don’t forget that high kick from Rhi! Yeah!