Detour Ahead – Enjoy the Ride!

In the first few days after moving to Vancouver, my dad and I decided to explore the city, starting with Granville Island. Being new to the city streets, we decided to use the “Google Maps” application on my smartphone for directions. Two minutes in, my dad missed a turn and the GPS rerouted. Another couple minutes later, we hit some construction and the GPS rerouted again. On the new route, we faced some temporary road blocks so the GPS rerouted AGAIN. After a bunch of detours we eventually got to Granville Island, but by that time my frustration knew no bounds and I had developed feelings of dislike for the streets of Vancouver. The very same night, we were invited for dinner to a friend’s place where he asked us about the areas in Vancouver we had explored. Unknowingly, I started listing all the things we saw on our detour to Granville Island.  That’s when I realized that sometimes it’s not just about getting to your destination – it’s also about the journey. On our detour, my dad and I had the opportunity to see some different neighbourhoods and events taking place in the city. Not to mention, the beautiful scenery that accompanied the drive, the extra time I got to spend with dad before he left for Toronto, and that persistence and adaptation to changes (at least by the GPS) eventually brings success. – Enlightened group member.

This week our objective was to re-evaluate our communication with the community, that is, clearly presenting the purpose and objectives of our project to kitchen managers, and adapting to changes in our plan of action. Especially, since one of our assigned community kitchens is unavailable to participate in the project. The manager informed us that they were more interested in connecting with organizations that focused on the rights, issues and movements specific to the local community.  And this brings us back to the Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on ‘the golden circle’ and that,  “Connecting with WHY is essential to effective collaboration and project outcomes.” In our case, we and the agency may be sharing different objectives and purposes which further lead us on to different paths. Hence, we are currently in the process of  “re-routing” with the hope of improving our communication and project management skills on our way to the final destination.

Fostering project planning and development skills can be long and arduous, however if successful, the individual or group is left confident in its ability to tackle multi-faceted projects. For example, in the podcast, Dan Barber – an American, visits a goose foie gras farm, in France, that allows geese to roam and eat freely as well as mingle with wild geese that eventually join the farm. Dan takes this experience back with him to New York in order to start his own farm. However, due to little initial success, he decides to invite the French goose farmer to New York for some assistance, after which the farm runs smoothly. Similarly, in the film on “tiny houses” titled Tiny, Christopher attempts to build a very small house using a trailer. With minimal construction skills, initially, he faces countless obstacles. Eventually, he seeks assistance from an experienced man who has built a tiny house of his own. In the end, Christopher develops confidence in his ability to break-down and complete projects as well as learn new skills.

Both examples show how managing a project can be overwhelming initially, but can end up being incredibly rewarding and life-changing. When Christopher and Dan initially encounter challenges, they seek the help of people with experience in completing similar projects. This indicates the importance of experience while suggesting that the only way to gaining experience is going through the learning process. In addition, these stories emphasize the importance of flexibility in project development. Even when projects are meticulously thought out and planned, unforeseen issues may arise when acting on these plans. For example, if Christopher and Dan were set on their initial plans, they may have never achieved success. Because they were open to adapting different methods and perspectives, they were able to work past their problems and fulfill their projects. Similarly, we are constantly improving our approach and adapting to changes in our plans to successfully complete our projects. Because often times, a scope change, warranting flexibility, is necessary to proceed in order to increase the functionality of the project.

Currently, we have been able to schedule a kitchen visit, next week, with one of the agencies and we are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity!


Works Cited

Barber, D. (Interviewee), & Glass, I. (Interviewer). (2011, December 11). Act 3: Latin Liver [Radio series episode]. In Poultry Slam 2011. Chicago: The American Life.

Mueller, M., & Smith, C. (Directors). (2013). Tiny: A Story About Living Small [Motion picture].

Sinek, S. (Speaker). (2009). The Golden Circle [Conference recording]. In Ted Talk. Newcastle: Youtube.

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