Collaborating with Communities: An assets based approach

25 Jan

Yesterday, Snook spent an afternoon in the IRISS head quarters talking about assets – the values, relationships, trust and respect involved in truly adopting an assets based approach. With over twenty minds in the room from social work, NHS, funders, third sector, government and other interesting worlds it was definitely an interesting afternoon. It was a nice treat for us to just sit and absorb, think and sketch for a couple of hours so thank you to Sue Northrop and IRISS for coordinating the meeting.

As the first sketch below suggests, the conversation opened with a question around why an assets-based approach isn’t happening more visibly and rigorously, as we have known about it for a very long time and we know it works…of course it is flavour of the month and has been for a while, but what does that really mean for people who are on the ground doing this stuff anyway? Most of whom have been working in this way for many years already.

We were really interested in the balance between the intellectual debate that was happening and the people who are charged with delivering servives on the ground. They are asking how this is different from what they are doing already and I’m not sure we know how to answer them. The whole practice and role of being a public servant fascinates us and I think the future has to involves public servants who are supporters, catalysts, facilitators and innovators.

We talked about the stories and narratives in this space and I think this aspect is so important and often over-looked. At the moment the stories are all happening on different stages in different languages and the public don’t trust that ‘the state’ want to hear their stories, they simply don’t believe it. This is what has to change because more often than not the solutions are nuggets found in peoples stories – we have seen this happen time and time again in our work, particularly with Start Up Street Stirling and Mypolice.

Snook are excited to be part of this conversation and see our role underneath the umbrella of ‘action’ – we can make know how and inspiration tangible (or real!) and believe that is one things that will drive this conversation forward. Together with the people of Stirling (and beyond) we are beginning to collaborate in a way that utilises the full potential that an asset-based approach holds.


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