How to build a program

For the inspired, here are some important tips for starting an integrated experiential program or any non-mainstream educational program.

Understand that more innovations fail than succeed. Those that do succeed are the ones where perseverance and resiliency are in large supply. Understand that for any venture, there will be obstacles to overcome and progress is seldom linear. Any genuine visionary understands that authentic visions evolve and are richer when many people contribute. Don’t be afraid to slow your work , in order to martial your resources and seek alternative ways forward. Play the long game. If the venture is worth it, it doesn’t have to be completed today or even this year.

Have a clear and consistent vision

The better you can communicate what you are trying to accomplish, the easier the obstacles can be overcome. Sometimes communication needs to be tailored to meet specific audiences, which means, you need to understand the needs and concerns of each audience. Compromise can be a useful tool, but you have to know what the core values of the vision are and not allow them to be diminished.

Understand your weaknesses

Constraints may centre upon a lack of influential contacts, financial resources, infrastructure or time. Whatever they may be, don’t be afraid to keep moving forward. Conditions are constantly changing and your weakness may even become a strength. One key contact may lead to another. A financial source may suddenly present itself.

Seek out allies and organize them

Who are the stakeholders that can benefit from the outcome. Among them you will find your allies. Speak with truth and clarity to people you would like to work with and arm them with your passion. Always remember that folks working with you need to feel needed, as well as useful. Make sure they have input into planning and have significant roles to play.

Utilize effective administrative practices

  • Keep good records and notes of meetings and decisions.

  • Encourage reflection and self evaluation amongst your team.

  • Be willing to delegate and do not micromanage. Face problems head on and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Personal qualities that are shared by successful innovators

At the least, you will need to be positive, persistent, resilient and a problem solver. It will be helpful to be a good clear communicator, an organizer and a detail person. Often it is a team that combines their qualities and skills to lead a successful innovative enterprise.