We ask ourselves these questions weekly, monthly or maybe even on a daily basis. We all have our goals, how we go about achieving them can be a little confusing. Thankfully we have local innovation guru Christina Gerakiteys on our side.

Speaking to an intimate group of 40 young professionals over breakfast at Brown Sugar in Warners Bay, Christina lead us on a journey in design thinking, a problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results.

Through a quick activity Christina had us “start with why” stating that our passion, gifts, and needs equals our sweet spot. Followed by writing down the following answers to the following statements.

1. Who am I?
2. What do I love?
3. What is the gap?
We then shared that with the group we were sitting with.

I had only left my full-time job two days before the breakfast so I could put 100% focus onto starting my own business – I wrote passionately in those two minutes about what I love and where the gap was for my new creative business. When I shared this with the guys at my table (myself – the lone girl at a table of accountants, car salesmen and bankers) I was met with such positivity for my new business venture. They may not be my target market but they sure were keen and enthusiastic about my business and passion. Only reinforcing what I was unclear on in my head which was – am I doing the right thing?

As the hour long workshop progressed we worked within our group to solve one problem in the workplace by combining our different viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences to solve a problem in another industry.

It was fascinating to see how all of us working in different industries were able to put our heads together so quickly (we were only allotted one minute to come up with a solution) and come up with something that would be put into action in the office.

Christina has an abundance of knowledge on how to incorporate innovating thinking and practices into our daily lives, and thinking like a traveler is one of the ways to do just that.

When you look at Newcastle some might see New York City – with the old historic buildings and neighborhood charm. While San Francisco springs to mind for others. Having been to both I can see those characteristics and agree with both of those statements. As an American abroad I am constantly comparing different areas of Newcastle and Australia to my home in Florida and to places in the world I have traveled.

Christina emphasized that for us thinking like a traveler does not just mean how you look at a city but how you can look at a business dilemma or challenge and embrace it head on by looking at it through the eyes of a traveler – gathering different viewpoints and experiences to spawn questions that may highlight a different understanding of the issue (like what American city can we compare Newcastle to?) to develop an innovative solution or answer to the question at hand. It allows us to look at something with fresh eyes, no judgements, no biases, think innovatively and embrace change.

A final take away from the HYP Workshop comes in just three simple sentences; just eight little words.

Be responsive. Find the gap. Welcome change.

– Andrea Ciotti