Working in Harmony with Your Community

By September 11, 20148. General News


In Central Victoria the digital studio Design Experts get the impact of giving without receiving.

Founding Director Tim Gentle understands the deep positive value of giving to the community.  Giving unites his team and takes his business beyond being a business.  By giving their services and time through their Working in Harmony initiative Design Experts become more than a commercial service, they are integral to creating the good within a community. This value the commercial sector can give to the greater community is known as Corporate Social Responsibility.

For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference. Richard Branson

The why of Working in Harmony is the same why that Tim has founded Design Experts upon – to provide the same digital educational opportunities to everybody. Working in Harmony removes the financial barriers facing not-for-profits and gives not-for-profits the digital tools to educate their community about what they do.

Design Experts’ Working in Harmony program was established in 2008, and since this time has invested $150, 000 into the community of Central Victoria. The success of the program was clear to Tim, but as business grew his team didn’t know about why they supported not-for-profits and some structure was needed to manage requests for Design Experts support.  This is when Tim approached Make a Change Australia to make a good idea work even better.

Karen of Make a Change Australia began the process to engage the team in Working in Harmony by asking Tim deep questions about his passion for giving to his community and why he values corporate social responsibility.

Working in Harmony was introduced to the management team and the wider organisation by building knowledge of what is corporate social responsibility and why it is worthwhile.  Time and space was provided to have conversations about Design Expert’s role and value to the community.   A conversation that is so important, but often doesn’t take place due to a lack of time and the challenges of bringing an organization together.

Karen further engaged the team and various team members by collaboratively getting the structure of Working in Harmony right for Design Experts.  Working together on their own  process for giving created ownership, responsibility and also normalized the story of how Design Experts give to their community.
Tim sums it up; “As an individual employee, understanding how an organization can work within a community can be an unusual way to think. Being a part of this process expanded my teams understanding and the values that underpin Design Experts.”

Creating a culture of giving without receiving offers a strong dynamic and positive internal culture for growth at Design Experts.  Being active in the community also has other benefits for the organization with good news stories to share and bringing people together to create new possibilities.

This year Working in Harmony is supporting Breaking Tha Mould who engage ‘at-risk’ young people in education and community through hip hop culture. In exchange for a new website the Breaking Tha Mould crew are creating a large street wall art work at the Design Expert’s studio.  Not one to shy away from boundaries Tim is introducing the street artists to augmented reality and image recognition technology. This technology uses a smartphone’s or tablet’s camera to recognize real world images and then overlay rich media on top of them in the form of animations, videos, 3D models and web pages.  Taking street art to a whole new digital and real time experience.

Tim Gentle and Ray Butler of Bendigo Foodshare

Right now Design Experts are creating branding for Bendigo Foodshare’s fundraising campaign to raise $100 000 by May, without this funding they will close their doors.  Having resources to promote their cause is essential to this not for profit’s ability to create attention for themselves.  This relationship offers lots of opportunity for media and also for the Design Expert team to get out of the studio and into the foodshare distribution warehouse – interacting with new people and getting a different perspective on the challenges facing the community of Central Victoria.

Make a Change Australia can assist you create change in your organisation that adds value not only to your community, but also within your team.  Be the change in your community.  Giving for Design Experts has brought new skill sets together, new positive experiences, provided access to resources that otherwise is difficult and unlikely.  Design Experts have countless new ways of sharing stories about how their organisation is valuable, and their team is telling this positive story and also the greater community they give within.

Contact Karen to learn more about her services for corporates and creating environments that give real, meaningful change.