Coming up with ideas is not hard: distilling those ideas and discovering which have the potential to succeed is a mighty task. Having taken part in several incubation and ideas facilitation sessions, I am always impressed by those who have the ingenuity to facilitate and catalyse success.

Group sitting discussing their Why

For that reason, I came to the Make Change Catalyst in Glasgow last month with no expectations and an open notebook. I attended the Good Ideas Marketplace in June last year, where the passion the graduating class had to both solve social issues and succeed in making their idea a reality impressed me. As part of the Good Ideas incubator programme, I wanted to see what sort of approaches the event would attract and distilled to feed through to later stages of the curriculum.

The event brought together commonality of thought and individuality of ideas. People from all walks of life, representing different generations, locations and motivations, collected at GCU – but all had the core desire to make a change. One woman had even travelled from the Isle of Bute.

Group standing at a table looking at post it notes on paper reflecting on How

Helen Denny facilitated the catalyst – and what a privilege it was. Helen is an engaging and warm facilitator who makes you forget that this is the first time you’ve met the others in the room. Instead of silly icebreakers, she encouraged us to explain our motivations for social innovation to get the room interacting. Helen invited us to think about our own and others’ ideas critically, creating a challenging yet supportive atmosphere.

I came to the catalyst without an idea – an anomaly in the group – but I left with a greater understanding of the social issue I was most interested in finding a solution to. The attendees presented a variety of issues, from women’s support services to creating community unity. Through the session, we expanded those problems. A quick-fire brainstorm created space for us to think of the weird and wonderful ways we could tackle those social concerns.

‘Catalyst’ is the perfect word to describe the event. Leaving the session, I felt a sense of invigoration and community. The last task Helen had us do was to think about what action were we going to take on our ideas once we walked out of the room. We all stated our intentions to the group, creating a collective responsibility for the group’s plans – a responsibility to nurture, develop and keep talking about those sparks of innovation.

I would readily recommend the Make Change Catalyst to anyone who has an idea simmering below the surface. Even finding the words to describe your thoughts, or understanding the issue you’re most concerned with, is very satisfying. Thank you to Helen for facilitating the fantastic discussions and to The Melting Pot and Good Ideas for making events like these available in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.