Ideas in action at Women in Print breakfasts

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Learning to think differently and pitch new ideas constructively were key messages at the Women in Print (WIP) Breakfast Series held nationwide this month. Women in the Print21 team including publisher Lindy Hughson and deputy editor Colleen Bate attended the Sydney event this week.

L-R Debbie Burgess, Brooke Udy, Joy Skeels
L-R Debbie Burgess, Brooke Udy, Joy Skeels

Despite the gloomy weather, the event, held at Waterview in Bicentennial Park on 12 May, was well received. NSW Women in Print patron Debbie Burgess, joint managing director of Bright Print, kicked off the session by summarising facts on gender diversity from a McKinsey and Company report, and shared key actions for gender balance creation in the workplace.

Burgess then introduced keynote speaker Lisa Smith, mindworker from Minds at Work, who, in her discussion, highlighted constructive ways to introduce new ideas and processes in the workplace, by thinking differently.

Expanding on the topic, Smith shared her experiences of helping organisations that define themselves by the business they are in, to start questioning where they are going.

“There’s a great saying that if you don’t know what the destination is, any road will get you there,” she said, pointing out that a common challenge with many of us is that we have lofty visions which are often curbed by limited resources.

L-R: Lisa Smith, Jessica Watson and Sandra Duarte
L-R: Keynote speaker Lisa Smith, Jessica Weston and Sandra Duarte

It is a dance, she says, that is between “where we are going and what we’ve got”.

“The reality is that we will never have enough resources, but what if we used what we have in a different way?”, she challenged the audience, expanding on the process of bringing ideas to life through the paths of purpose, possibility, reality and delivery.

Smith pointed out that routine and control were also stumbling blocks for new ideas to grow.

“We crave routine, because then life is predictable and controllable. It's kind of nice, but the more we get caught in that space, the harder it is to see how we could think differently,” she said. “And the more repeatable the tasks, the more we do them on autopilot, and miss out on some of the opportunities to do things differently.”

Ideas in action: Lisa Smith, mindworker, Minds at Work
Ideas in action: Lisa Smith, mindworker,
Minds at Work

“There’s a big difference between what we normally do, and what we could possibly do, and so we end up with a ton of ideas waiting to happen. And yet we keep delivering the same things,” she said

Smith went on to explain the progression of an idea via its acronym: Imagine, Develop, Evaluate, Act.

“Rather than great minds think alike, it’s a case of great minds like to think differently to you, and you can learn to collaborate with them.

“We need gender diversity, we need psycho diversity. We need people who have ideas, who love making things happen.

“Big ideas often don’t end up more than that, because we connect ideas with decisions immediately. Rather than thinking that everything is a definitive opportunity to kill an idea, ask the question, ‘how would that work?’

“Instead of pitching an idea outright, invite a discussion to see how it could be turned into something that could be tested and worked with.”

Smith says that she has adapted three rules to operate by, when pitching an idea:

  • Frame: Frame your idea with clarity. This, she says, will be your reference the whole way through your process.
  • Sequence: You’ve got to have ideas before you can work out what they will look like. You have to have a picture of what they look like before you can decide on an action.
  • Quarantine: Don’t execute all your ideas in one go.
  • Putting ideas out there should not be like a tennis match, instead it should be about putting out well developed concepts so we can have a constructive conversation about where we are in our process.
L-R. Cactus Imaging’s Nadja Zuza, Erika Tan, Emily Watterson and Karen Lawler
L-R. Cactus Imaging’s Nadja Zuza, Erika Tan, Emily Watterson and Karen Lawler

“It should not be a fight between big ideas and status quo, it should be about the next idea, roll it in and once we’ve done that, let’s go again, and again, and again,” added Smith.

The Sydney WIP Breakfast was the last of five in the 2022 Series, and included Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, which all ran with the same theme.

The next Women in Print Breakfast will be held at PacPrint on Thursday 30 June and is open for both men and women to attend.

The popular Print in Prosecco nights will also be running this year. Women in Print members are encouraged to register with their patrons to ensure they don’t miss out.

L-R: Jasmine Gosling, Emma Finlay, Melanie Perry, Diane Buttenshaw
L-R: Jasmine Gosling, Emma Finlay, Melanie Perry, Diane Buttenshaw
Captivated audience:Women in Print Sydney
Captivated audience: Women in Print Sydney
Women in Print Sydney: NSW patron Debbie Burgess
Women in Print Sydney: NSW patron Debbie Burgess
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