Thursday, June 30, 2011

C is for Creativity

How does creativity play into your conference's CSR projects? A question I hadn't asked until earlier this week when I participated in a project at Meetings Focus Live Event in San Antonio, Texas.

Having just presented a session about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for meetings and events, we walked directly to the San Antonio CVB to get started designing bags from conference banners.

The City and local decorators save conference banners, aisle signs and street banners from the landfill. Our charge was to cut them into a variety of patterns for messenger bags, cosmetic bags and even children and adult aprons. Later they would be sewn together and sold to benefit the Women's Pavilion. The seamstresses are currently unemployed (no thanks to a US company sending their sewing requirements overseas).

What peaked my interest is how much fun the volunteer participants had laying out the pattern on these huge pieces of vinyl to make really artful creations. The text, photos and colors make for very cool designs. So cool in fact, each of us hoped we could purchase the items we were designing. The creativity involved gave us renewed energy (on a hot Texas afternoon), made time pass quickly and started wonderful conversations among the volunteers.

Many of the past CSR projects I have been involved have some of those components, but the creativity piece has been missing. What a difference it made as a volunteer! In the future, I will definitely keep creativity high on my list when choosing a project.

P.S. If photos are available of the final products, I will happily post them. There is one BBQ apron designed from an "Aisle 600" sign with a huge "0" across the front in University of Texas colors, which would be priceless worn by the right chef!

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