We live in a complex world, with complex problems – and our corner of the world here in Newfoundland and Labrador is no different. And sometimes, no matter how good our intentions, coming up with solutions may be harder than it seems. A new program is aiming to bring diverse voices together to help solve some of these issues, while helping participants develop creativity, problem-solving and team-building skills at the same time.
Get Started Café is a new initiative that will bring together artists with individuals in the technology, business and engineering sectors to come up with unique solutions for some of the province’s most pressing problems – everything from economic sustainability to environmental stewardship.
This month, Get Started Café will launch its Breakfast Club Bootcamp program. Inspired by the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the program is part brainstorming, networking and professional development session, with the ultimate goal of providing a platform for social change, while inspiring the community to work together. The first Bootcamp (which runs from January 31 to February 21 and consists of a weekly, 90-minute workshop at Rocket Bakery) will focus on food security in Newfoundland and Labrador and will feature speakers from Food First NL. At the end of the four weeks, teams get the opportunity to take their ideas to the next level by presenting in front of industry sponsors and program providers.
Jon Butler, founder of Get Started Café, says while artists are not often considered in the start-up world, people with artistic backgrounds and abilities have so much to add to the conversation and their perspectives are critical. With that in mind, Get Started Café, through Business & Arts NL, is opening spots for four local artists to participate in the program (valued at $495 per participant) for free.
“I am, at heart, a creative that wants to just do more creative things in all different aspects. About six months ago, I bought an easel to do some more visual artwork. I want to pick up the guitar, play more music, all of these types of things. I think it’s the core of who we are as people,” says Butler, who comes from a mechanical engineering and technology/software background.
“So what I’m trying to do is to marry pure creative thought with a guided process that can help anyone discover an opportunity to have meaningful impact – forget about your actual technical ability or whatever that thing is that you want to create…or planning or strategy or making money. I want people to really get connected to something worth doing, first. It’s only then that the details even matter.”
Butler says the Breakfast Club Bootcamp is about viewing things from a different perspective and looking at non-traditional methods of creating and coming up with solutions, rather than a traditional boardroom whiteboard/brainstorming session. The program will evolve over time, he says, but he wants the arts as part of the common thread throughout.
“I want to infuse the room with more than just the typical engineer/business mindset,” he says.
Butler plans to host three bootcamps throughout the year (each focusing on a different topic), with a closing ceremony to be held in the fall. Ultimately, he says, his goal is two-fold: to help people figure out what it is they love doing while framing that around an issue; and connecting industry to social good.
“That’s what I’m trying to create here. The goal is to infuse a sense of good into businesses beyond just the day-to-day work.”
To find out more about Get Started Café, and to apply for the Breakfast Club Bootcamp (applications close January 26), click here.