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Monday, 6 October 2014

Ideas

There are many characteristics that a good leader can possess, and one of the most important is the willingness to explore new ideas. Albert Einstein supposedly said "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." If that is indeed true then we need to change the way we seek to make our society better. We must not focus on our problems and then try to solve them, but instead look at our assets and explore what we can achieve with them.

As the next election draws near I hope we hear new ideas that will help develop and improve our society. Even a simple idea can have a profound impact over time. I have certainly voiced my share of complaints about the current government over the last number of years but on a couple rare occasions they have been willing to try something new. The highway moose detection system was actually an idea worth exploring. It should have been only a trial in one location and all additional costs should have been borne by the company who completed the installation, but it was worth exploring. We must be willing to explore and attempt new things if we hope to improve our society.

In the vein of sharing ideas in an attempt to improve our province I thought I'd post a couple of thoughts here over the next few days and see where they go.

1. Provincial Government Help Line.
Those who live in St. John's would be familiar with the 311 phone number as a first point of contact with the City. Its not always perfect but at least its a starting point for contact. Having worked with the Provincial Government and having dealt with various departments I can easily say that the key to getting proper help is knowing who to talk to. For many residents their first point of contact is their MHA's office, and while that can work it's adding an extra step that shouldn't be required. Having one contact number for the Province where you could reach an office dedicated to helping you reach the proper person or office could provide a simple direct link between residents and their government.

2. Idea Warehouse.
Even when I was a manager with the Provincial Government I found it very difficult to find any real interest in new ideas and approaches. In fact it was the continued resistance to ideas for change that eventually led me to resign. Even understanding the politicized nature of government there should always be a sincere and open forum for people to bring forward new ideas. We need every opportunity to explore every idea that could benefit us as a province. We should have a public repository where everyone is invited to submit and comment on ideas that could improve services, save money, or benefit any part of society.

3. Substitute Teachers on Retainer.
Currently substitute teachers are all tossed into a pool and schools develop a call list of teachers that the use on a semi-regular basis depending on their availability. For a few lucky teachers this can lead to good relationships with one school that can develop into replacement or even full time work eventually. Unfortunately for most substitutes it simply leads to years of jumping from school to school without any real ability to develop a proper relationship with students. What if substitutes were hired on a retainer basis with a school? They would make a base amount for being on retainer and then extra money for days when they were called into work. They would consistently be dealing with the same staff, school and more importantly the same students. It would help reduce the disruptive nature of bringing in a new substitute and help develop the teacher - student bond.

Those are the first three that I'm throwing out there for discussion. Of course they need to be developed more fully but they are a starting point of looking at some things a little differently. Could they work? I certainly think so, and I'm open to discussing any thoughts any of you might have.

Note: If you have any interesting and unique ideas you'd like to share please feel free to post them in the comments section or send them along in an email and I'll post them if you'd like.  

    

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