Last month team RE:GEN, along with team RE:geon attended the believe Innovation Showcase 2022 and what a show it was!!!
The believe Innovation Showcase is an internal 3-day event for believe employees. It’s one of their biggest flagship events held annually to inspire a culture of innovation. We were lucky enough to get an invite, as well as backstage access into what makes believe housing so special…. So, what did we learn?
The theme of this year’s showcase was ‘Lights. Camera. Action.’ When we arrived, we were all assigned a genre for the day. Team RE:GEN and RE:geon were allocated a mix of ‘animation’ and ‘comedy.’ This encouraged us to get out of our comfort zones and engage with a variety of different people from different departments, disciplines and businesses.
Each day had a specific focus so for Day 1 the focus was on tackling how we could increase biodiversity within believe’s portfolio of projects. We were honoured to hear from guest speaker and Eco-Entrepreneur Wayne Hemmingway, Founder of Hemmingway Design. All of the work that Wayne designs is rooted in ‘doing good for the world’ which is what has inspired his success in Social Housing design. Wayne’s background is based around reducing, reusing and recycling. He loves to do his bit and take care of the planet. Wayne’s love for preserving our planet started in fashion and he now has a full multidisciplinary Design Agency which focuses on his Social Housing designs. The reason for him starting to design Social Housing was because he thought that traditional Social Housing spaces looked like prisons as they were located near roads which wasn’t a great place to raise children, and so the Hemmingway legacy was born.
Wayne had no background experience in fashion or Social Housing design but through his story he was able to inspire everyone in the room that you don’t have to have extensive expertise in an industry to change the narrative! As long as your mission is the golden thread that drives your business, you are capable of achieving anything! So, his opening presentation really set us up to think differently.
Next, our very own CEO Lee Francis and Sustainability Coordinator Asimina Cole were invited on stage to deliver a presentation on Biodiversity. Mina opened up the conversation by giving an overview to what biodiversity is and why it’s so important. Along with some examples as to how an increase in biodiversity can positively impact our communities.
After their presentation, the teams were tasked with collating ideas on how believe could increase biodiversity within their properties but without acquiring any more land. The teams were each given a character to embody throughout the task. For example, team RE:GEN who were placed in the animation genre, were given the Blues Brothers. So, our rationale was “How would the Blues Brothers approach Biodiversity?’
On the second day, we started the morning by breaking off into our teams to complete a short workshop to inspire innovation and get our creative juices flowing…
The afternoon was filled by coming up with innovative projects in teams to target the barrier of isolation for believe housing residents. Whether that be financial, physical or emotional isolation. It gave us all a great insight into the problems we are facing within local communities and shone a light on how passionate believe are about tackling these challenges head on.
The final day of the believe Innovation Showcase was filled with awards and pitches of the team’s ideas. Each year, believe employees are encouraged to come up with new fresh ideas as to how they can tackle company problems but before they could share their ideas with the wider believe team, each employee had to present their ideas to the individual teams to gain feedback, and construct a 3-minute pitch around the idea to pitch it to the room. The pitches were presented and put to a vote through an app. The winning idea is then backed by the Executive Team at believe housing for rollout and implementation.
So, what was this year’s winning idea? …… Well, that would be telling. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! Lee Francis our CEO presented the award to the winning employee which rounded off the day with plenty of inspiration for the future.
We asked team RE:GEN to share their key highlights and takeaways from the event. Let’s read what they had to say:
Tom Lamb, Head of Strategy at RE:GEN Group:
“For me, the presentation and talk by Wayne Hemmingway was certainly a highlight. He was very authentic and shared some great insight into the way he works and the philosophy that sits behind that.
We performed a number of activities on day two which really helped to unleash our creative thinking. This included building mini-movie sets with playdoh, using VR, doing puzzles and some people were even involved in a mini-bake off! It helped to get you in the right mindset for thinking creatively.
The biggest takeaway for me was working alongside people who were coming up with different thoughts and perspectives to each other and also to me. It was a great learning experience. And then with the addition of the attitude/question of “yes, and…” there was a lot of ideas and creativity floating around.”
Abbie Howeth, Commercial Manager at RE:GEN Group:
“I found the innovation showcase to be greatly insightful and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know new members of the believe team, as well as hearing how they propose to improve their stock with the green agenda firmly at the forefront of any decision making. I’m grateful to have been invited and would welcome the opportunity to attend any future events with believe.”
Abbie Bridgett, Partnership Coordinator at RE:GEN Group:
“I attended the Believe Innovation Showcase Event on Day 1 and the highlight for me was the talk from Wayne Hemmingway MBE. I found his journey which had been led by his values truly inspirational. He spoke of creativity being the second biggest driver of the economy and how Culture and Creativity is at the heart of his company, ‘Hemmingway Design’, alongside the company slogan being ‘Design is about doing things that matter’.
One of the things that most stood out to me most when I consider my role at RE:GEN is when Wayne spoke around understanding the identity of a place. He spoke of Blackburn, his hometown and how they brought the high street back to life by focusing on what made the town unique, which was the art of making and manufacturing. This resonates well with me as my role is all about understanding the identity of each of our key clients and identifying best to serve each one in a partnership approach. The day really helped me understand the culture of believe housing and their focus points for the future. It was great to meet so many different people from so many different departments within believe that I wouldn’t get to engage with ordinarily on the same day. It was a really enjoyable and valuable experience!”