‘Idea friendly method’ useful in neighborhoods

Becky McCray, creator of the "Idea Friendly Method," was the speaker for University of Missouri Extension’s Neighboring 101 class on Jan. 20.

"The idea-friendly approach is different from the old way of organizing events where we would create committees, develop ideas, and hope that someone shows up to participate," said McCray. "Instead of obsessing about changing other people, we focus on taking our actions."

This approach also helps overcome the old 80/20 rule where you are at the top level for excitement, and no one else probably has the same level of enthusiasm.

"So, it becomes frustrating when you think no one is as excited about this as I am. If this were a committee, you would cut these people off because they won’t come to meetings," said McCray.

The new way of looking at this is that the leader’s enthusiasm is actually at the bottom of the curve, then other people add on with their input or involvement.

"Whether they help do an event, or just like a post online, they are adding to the value of this project and building on top of my enthusiasm," said McCray.

Idea friendly method

McCray’s "idea friendly method" has three basic steps for planning community or neighborhood events or projects.

1. Gather your crowd: begin with your big goal.

"The old way was to form and assign people to committees. The new way is to plant a flag with a big idea or goal to draw people in to begin a part of it. Focus on becoming a movement that people can get behind," said McCray.

2. Build your connections: create a network for people that support the idea.

"New way to build connections is to build the event together. Ask others to take on a role. Get people involved that will bring their friends and connections. This also builds social capital," said McCray.

3. Take small steps: complete a miniature version of the goal first.

"The old way is to hold a meeting and assign tasks. The new way is to approach the project as a temporary experiment and begin with a small event and then grow it," said McCray.

Over 500 people from across the United States are enrolled in Neighboring 101. Since the class began in late 2019, courses and videos have had over 10,000 views or attendees. To attend the class live or get access to the class videos, register for Neighboring 101 at https://extension.missouri.edu/events/introduction-to-neighboring-101-2022.