On the 29th and 30th of June 2016, I attended the ‘Winds of Change’ New Zealand Symposium.
The conference started off with a bus tour of the Meridian West Wind Farm in Makara just outside of Wellington.
The brave amongst us had the chance to touch the turbine. For some strange reason, I thought I might get an electric shock – I didn’t.
The turbines feel pretty big when you’re close up to them. I was surprised to discover that each turbine has an elevator in it which can take two people to the top. We didn’t have a go in the elevator.
There are some great views of the Cook Strait and the South Island which looks pretty close from this angle.
It’s a working farm so there were plenty of animals around.
After the tour, we then headed back to the venue for lunch.
When I registered for the event, I listed my special dietary requirements at Paleolithic. While I had no idea what to expect, I was secretly hoping for something faithful to the era.
While I didn’t get to hunt my kill, I was still pleasantly surprised with my fare.
How Far have the Winds of Engagement Moved the Organisational Mountain?
We spent the afternoon as a group with Anne Pattillo from Pattillo and Michelle Feen from Engagement Plus. The focus of the afternoon was looking at how engagement can drive change within organisations.
We concentrated on a case study about engagement work completed for the Department of Conservation. There was a lot of stuff written on the walls which we read. I should have taken photos or notes because I really can’t remember a lot about it. It was very detailed. We also got to stick things that we wrote down on the walls.
The key learnings from the session were:
- Flip – how engagement practitioners think about their role.
- Think from the outside in
- Be impact focused
- Own your inner canary (this seemed to make a lot of sense then, I have no idea what it means now)
- Engagement Centric Organisation
The Panel Session
The afternoon also featured a panel session where a group of practitioners shared their knowledge. Panel members were Annie Wheeler from Department of Conservation, Leanne Hartill from City of Melville and Kenneth Aiolupotea from Auckland Council.
I also took some random notes from this session. They include:
- Be passionate from the work
- Persevere and seize the opportunities
- Don’t give up
- Bring in views from outside the organisation
- Get training
Engagement work is being used to drive all the goals of the organisation.
Educate staff on what engagement is
Have a plan
- Learn to take better notes!! (That comes from me, not the panel)
Overall a great first day. I do think there was an opportunity missed. What was missing was Wind of Change by Scorpions should have repeatedly been played throughout the symposium. To make up for this, I whistled the tune whenever I could.