July 11, 2017 // 9:56 AM

Planning For The Future

Written by Juanita Fox

How are you creative? How are you innovative? These opening questions jump-started a day-long brainstorming session during the annual Garden Spot Communities Management Team Retreat in early June.

Once a year, leaders of Garden Spot Communities, Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm take a break from the office and daily tasks to think strategically about the growth of the broader organization.

This year’s off-site planning session was held at the new Lancaster Chamber of Commerce building on King Street in downtown Lancaster on Friday, June 9.

After the personal reflection and sharing, CEO Steve Lindsey, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Steve Jeffrey and Chief Marketing Officer Scott Miller shared two sets of three international megatrends that transcend age, income and gender demographics. The increase of the internet, collapsing social norms and rising affluence all create a post-demographic world where traditional demographics no longer predict how consumers will act.

Illustrated with innovative ideas from businesses around the world, the presentations of selected megatrends challenged the group to think about the world in fresh, new ways.

After each presentation, small groups brainstormed ideas to apply the principles they learned to Garden Spot Communities. Each group refined their brainstorming and created one or more big ideas to share with the larger group.

Denise Hoak, director of personal care services, Mountain View says, “During the natural rhythm of our busy days we can often get consumed in our individual/departmental circumstances and problems. We sometimes base solutions on what works in the moment and/or from past experience. When we gather for these retreats with a beautiful, relaxed atmosphere, delicious treats and fidget toys to play with, our minds are encouraged to purposefully wander. This opens us up to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Brainstorming with peers creates an energy that is exciting, fun and powerful. Often thoughts being shared can be applied to current day challenges as well as future organizational possibilities. It feels connecting, like we are all creating a future together and working toward a common goal.”

At the start of the day, in his overview, Lindsey challenged: “We should write the book we want to read … Everyone wants to be the very best version of themselves. How do we give people options to do this?”

At the end of the day, a long list of innovative ideas answered those questions and team members volunteered to help move the most feasible ideas forward, to transform plans for the future into reality.