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The Painted Sky’s First Programme in the USA

March 22nd, 2015

10867207_10152792910381032_1327402493_nWhen I started out in the Learning and Development space, we quickly started running programmes in the Middle East, South East Asia and then, through our partners in Italy, reached Europe.

America, the US of A, remained out of reach. After all, most of the concepts and ideas in training, and people development, find their origins there. As an L&D head told me back in 2011, “the USA was the final frontier”. Distant, thought leaders, impossible to crack.

So, when I was finishing The Painted Sky’s first US programme for a technology giant in Bellevue, Wa. last week, the same discussion flashed through my mind. It seems that after five years of hard and good work, we have crossed the “final frontier”.

We ran a programme on“Creative Thinking and Innovation Mindset”, one of our signature offerings, for a group of managers and leads for a technology company headquartered in Bellevue downtown. Over two days, we explored how to understand, appreciate and empathise more, and use the same to connect to customers and colleagues, for greater success and satisfaction.

I am huge fan of Clayton Christiansen and his 5 Behaviours that help generate Creative Idea:

  1. Associating: drawing connections
  2. Questioning: challenge common wisdom
  3. Observing: behaviors of others
  4. Networking: with ideas and perspectives
  5. Experimenting: constructing experiences

Through our workshop, from an electrifying Visual Intro session that broke down barriers and got people to open up, through a simple tool to Develop Customer Empathy to the Solution Modelling piece, I drove the above agenda to help participants get out of their comfort zones, to explore and connect better. They drew themselves, their worlds and world-views for some fascinating (and eye-opening) interpretations. And then overcame (deliberately created) confusions and ambiguities to build 3D solutionsfor clearly algorithm problems. The results: ‘automation” shown through a conveyor using coffee cups and a rubber exercise band, houses made of Amazon delivery boxes, and real (yes, real) sand stolen from the lobby to show a beach.

And when we finally got to paint, to depict “How Creativity Will Save Our World”, I was humbled and inspired to see people open up and explore ideas like they have never done before. We had strong set of rules (our own little restrictions that push for unconventional thinking), and participants in groups worked hard and with passion to showcase their thoughts and visions. Inspiring end is probably an understatement.

I have come away happy and proud, and of course with more work coming up with the client across their locations across the globe, excited. It is a great validation for our methods and approaches, fusing Art-Based Initiatives with corporate learning agendas and outcomes, to deliver results. And I come away humbled. This is a time I remember our small beginning, our modest start. And I want to thank every one who has chosen to work with us over these last years, for their faith, confidence, feedback and support. If we have managed to go global, the credit is as much yours as ours, and we at The Painted Sky remain indebted.

Thank you. And we look forward to more support.


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