Module 2 | Spotting Opportunities

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Use your imagination and abilities to identify opportunities to create value

Congratulations on taking advantage of this opportunity to develop your ability to spot opportunities to create value. This competence is the engine room of innovation and problem solving approaches. Here we are dealing with the art of the possible and what we can do to create value with and for ourselves and others. Have fun!

Spotting opportunities is the competence that puts purpose into ideas. Identifying an opportunity to create value is the first step to turning ideas into real value. Spotting opportunities is a way of looking at things as possibilities and this begins by recognising, understanding or, even inventing, what might be possible.

Imagination is the mother of learning, creativity and invention. Children are naturally/innately programmed to learn through imaginative play, rehearsal, empathy, exploration, and discovery.

The world is changing so quickly; it is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. We all need to imagine and create ways to survive and thrive. We will need to solve problems people may never have faced before. The pace of change is increasing. Technology is developing so quickly that it is impossible to imagine what services and tools might be invented. The challenges of the future require us all to be looking for solutions to unprecedented problems and ways to make life sustainable with better outcomes for everyone. Developing your competence to better spot opportunities will enable you to see what value is needed where, and by whom, and what you can do to help.

Benefits and opportunities

This module will help you and your family to think about things differently and to imagine new possibilities to create new opportunities. Each suggested strategy/game or activity is described in broad and general terms. You are invited, and encouraged, to adapt them and experiment with them. Invite your friends and families to suggest ways in which you can adapt and practise activities in your daily lives, homes and communities. Finding new and fun ways to adapt tasks is a great place to start when looking to spot opportunities.

The ‘ways of seeing’ activities promote visual literacy and provide strategies to help us to notice, and overcome, brain filters and blind spots. Brain filters and blind spots become habits, which can prevent us from seeing all that there is to see. The suggested activities provide examples of ways in which we can look around us differently with more open minds. To keep our minds open, to notice more and look at things in different ways, will require practice. An open mind and visual literacy are habits developed through practice. The activities provided can be completed alone or with others in many different places. To sustain and develop your practice, look for ways in which you can record what you are seeing over time or over place. You can revisit this record to review your development or more easily identify changes and trends over time or place. Who knows what useful information and opportunities you will uncover!

The ‘dreaming’ activities set out a number of approaches you can use either alone, or with family and friends, to create possibilities and opportunities by changing the way we think. This topic illustrates the limiting power of beliefs and the importance of being able to imagine possibilities to address/overcome what is sometimes believed to be impossible. Imagination is developed through the learning activities as participants are invited to analyse their own needs using Maslow’s taxonomy. This learning provides a basis for developing empathy and care for others in anticipating their needs and imagining and sharing ways in which to provide help. This learning can be further developed whenever we use our understanding of the needs that we all have, to imagine ways in which we can create value to help others.

Problem solving can often be framed, or thought of, negatively, as a problem. In this topic, there are activities to help you to develop and share techniques to promote a ‘serendipity mindset’. Activities will help you to reframe problems and issues positively so that they can become opportunities. Also, using affirmations and positive, action-orientated language supports better planning and motivation for action.

‘Doing more with less’ activities demonstrate the potential to create value with very few and ordinary resources, in fun, playful, enjoyable ways. These activities develop the ability to generate potential and opportunity from almost anything, including rubbish. There is a famous saying in UK “one man’s muck is another man’s brass”. There is a little bit of magic in ‘new life from old’, watching what we usually discard as vegetable waste regenerating into new life.

The final topic closes the module with activities which further develop the ability to spot opportunity through the identification of next steps towards increasing value. Dream big! Create a motivational playlist of tracks that make you feel positive and excited about dreaming of a better future. Listen to it while you are learning!