A lost Art?
September 17, 2012
A Lost Art?
I recently ran across an organization that gives children cameras to photo journal their days. The intent is to capture culture/community, and get a glimpse of day-to-day societal concerns through ‘the child lens.’ The photos alone speak to need, and the children’s approach provides the ultimate perspective: curious, unknowing, without prejudice.
If only we could do that in our work…….
Think about being able to understand our clients – to know their needs, their priorities, their challenges – based not on service-provider assumptions, but rather from walking with them, daily, block by block, and seeing the world they see. Surely we would be more effective in our efforts on their behalf.
The same is true in considering our co-workers and colleagues. A genuine glimpse into how they see the world can completely circumvent time wasted on misunderstandings or questioning intent. How efficient (and pleasant) our days could be!
We use many tools to increase our understanding of those around us. Surveys, focus groups, applications and interviews provide limited information. To increase our impact and meaningfully engage with others, we need to gather the information – through observation, through empathy, through openness – that will help us to truly understand.
There are ways for others to share their “journal” with us. In so doing, they allow us to be more effective and efficient in what we do. Taking the time for conversation and observation, hearing another’s story and listening for true understanding, always reveal the ways we can truly be of help. This process of discovery is both interesting and worthwhile, and the payoff is priceless.