One of the things I really like about the tools used in Community Development is their versatility and how they can be used in a number of different settings and for a range of purposes. I’ve written previously about how Asset Based Community Development can be utilised to lower the risk of crime. How community connection can, in itself, make a place a safe place.
Today I want o briefly explore a tool that can be used in so many different situations. A tool with simplicity at its centre but also incredibly powerful: the Gifts of the Head, Heart and Hands.
In its inception, the tool is an asset mapping exercise to interrogate the individual level i.e. gifts that the person has for the community. Basically, a capacity inventory to capture personal assets. The Gifts are as follows:
Gifts of the Head: these are things that a person knows about and also enjoys sharing this information with others. This could be local history, music, wildlife.
Gifts of the Hands: these are things a person knows how to do and would willingly share with others. These are skills. For example cooking, gardening, playing a musical instrument.
Gifts of the Heart: these are things a person is passionate about. Those things deeply cared about. This could be environmental protection, politics, climate change, community life.
The exercise can be conducted in a number of ways: individually, in pairs or small group. Sometimes it is even used as an ice breaker at training or a meeting. But if it is left at the ice-breaking level it can be just another list or directory. How this information is used, how it connects others, how the gifts are implemented is where its power lies. In community settings, it can be one of the first steps in asset mapping going from the individual to the next level of groups (not for profit, community, associations) and then to institutions (schools, faith-based groups, government, businesses).
Even at the individual level, I’ve seen it used to create small community projects that bind people together such as a locality cookbook containing recipes representing the cultures of the people of the community, gardening groups etc.
But this simple exercise has been used to success in other environments.
Imagine its power in team building. Mapping the gifts of each team member, those things they can share or teach with others, finding the common areas. Already this has the potential for assisting in building new strategic directions or new projects. For a manager, it certainly would help in delegating tasks to those most suited.
It could be used in staff selection to help choose the person best suited to the team environment or finding those people with particular sought after skills.
It has been used in marketing, selling an idea or product based on how it intersects with knowledge, practical workmanship and passion.
A simple and powerful tool. Well worth exploring its potential.