InnoBoost: Project Management Know-How from Berlin

Author: Ines Legin

„Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward“ ~ Joy Gumz

From 21st to 29th of March 2022 I had an opportunity to participate in a training course InnoBoostBoosting Value Creation Through Innovation in Heidesee in Germany.  The training is the second activity within the same name project, co-funded through the programme Erasmus+, KA1 – Mobility of Youth Workers.  The aim of the TC was to encourage youth workers to reflect upon project management from the perspective of long term “Evolutionary” value impact and value creation. Besides, it should have strengthened youth workers’ competencies to facilitate learning through transnational youth projects in non-formal education. Opportunities non-formal education can offer us are learning through different methods, working in international teams and discovering new approaches and ideas.

The activity gathered youth workers from 18 partner organizations from 15 countries. As the only member of the Association Strive! (Croatia), I decided to increase my competencies in project management and improve my leadership, communication and organisational skills as much as I can. Moreover, my motivation for a training course was to learn how to write a realistic project and how to implement it in my work. Step by step I have managed to learn all the key moves which could lead me to create a successful project in the field of youth work and education. 

On the first day, we had an introduction with a presentation about Inter College Aps – an international oriented social enterprise within the field of education, training and consultancy. Mr Asser Mortensen, one of the founders, explained to us the importance of international qualifications and how to successfully build them. After the presentation, we played G2KEO (get to know each other) game in order to introduce ourselves and meet other participants. A forest walk and other activities, such as storytelling and blind game, helped us to adapt to new surroundings and new colleagues.

Several workshops have consisted of presentations about Erasmus+ in general and EU policies. I learned a lot about projects under Erasmus+ and the difference between Key Action 1, Key Action 2 and Key Action 3. While Key Action 1 refers to the mobility of youth individuals, Key Action 2 is focused on cooperation among organisations and institutions and Key Action 3 is related to support for policy development and cooperation. We discussed why the EU is not a state and which arguments could support the idea that it could be a state. Regarding EU policies, we discussed legislative procedures and had a workshop that consisted of examining the particular policy and preparing a quick presentation about it.

According to the topic we wanted to work on, the trainers divided us into groups. My group was focused on youth development and we decided that our problem is “Youth not having the social media skills to compete in the job market” caused by the low quality of formal education and not using social media for professional purposes. Our aim was to enable youth workers to educate the young population on using social media as an employment tool. When we defined the topic, we started working on the methodology. The first step toward creating a successful project is creating a problem tree and an objective tree. The problem tree identifies negative aspects of an existing situation. By writing causes and effects we can easily define the main problems. An objective tree focuses on solutions and enables us to see the situation in the future once the problems have been fixed. We have been working on our project for three days and on the 27th of March, we presented it to the trainers and other teams. During the process, we also took some photographs and enjoyed every small progress we made. Working with my team members was productive and I also had an opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues.

The most exciting day was Friday 25th when we had a “Tour de Berlin” race. The goal was to visit 15 locations in three hours and fulfil a task at each location. Some of the locations were Alexanderplatz, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Holocaust memorial, Hitler’s bunker, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Gendarmenmarkt and Unter den Linden Boulevard. The most interesting tasks were singing Ode to joy on Gendarmenmarkt and Europe United on Unter den Linden Boulevard. My team managed to visit 12 locations which made me as a team leader very proud. It was amusing to compete with other teams and to explore Berlin at the same time, but also to be creative about task fulfilment. In front of the town hall Rotes Rathaus we had to take a picture of a bear on a flag, but my team decided to stay creative and to take a picture of a bear from the Internet, as you can see on the photograph below.

My favourite part of every TC has always been the intercultural evening. All participants are supposed to present their countries with information about if, traditional products and dances. In order to present my country in the best possible way, I brought our famous food products: two kinds of Domaćica, two kinds of KiKi bonbons, many chocolates made by Zvečevo and two kinds of Cedevita juice. Besides Croatia, we had many sweets from Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Denmark, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and Lithuania. Turkish team also made their famous coffee so we had enough energy to learn Romanian and Macedonian dances.

Thanks to the professional and experienced trainers, we gained knowledge in project management that can be used in NGOs and associations in our homelands. The progress we can make through non-formal education enables us to improve not only our personal skills but also our society. This experience taught me how to be a team leader, how to work hard on a project and how to improve my organisational skills. I can’t wait to implement all new knowledge in my work in the youth sector and to encourage young people to involve themselves in similar activities and mobilities.

Participant: Ines Legin

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InnoBoost vol. 2

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