The world is changing faster than ever before. Or at least it feels like it. With new data and perspectives flooding our email inboxes, push notifications on our phones, and our social media feeds, it can be hard to keep up. Collaboration and bringing diverse perspectives together to spark growth and innovation is vital to the success of our communities. As humans, we can’t possibly know everything, but if we bring together people with different experiences and skills sets and ask, “Why?”, “What if?” and “How might we?”, we can uncover unexpected solutions and often even discover needs that we didn’t know exist.   

For example, at Shaw, we’ve been turning clear plastic bottles into carpet fiber for more than a decade — including recycling billions of bottles a year at Clear Path Recycling®, our joint venture with DAK Americas. We asked the questions of: 

What if… we could use the harder-to-reuse green plastic bottles?    

What if… we used ones with a bit of soda residue or debris from the collection process?    

How might we… recycle that flooring product back into itself when it’s ready to be taken off the floor after a beautiful long life?   

With the work United Way leads, like us, they too ask the questions of “Why?”, “What if?” and “How might we?”. 

What if… we could live in a community where everyone, regardless of their zip code, could achieve their full human potential through education, stability, and health & well-being?  

What if… we could drive transformational change in our community by directing resources through a new community investments process? 

How might we… come together to build a stronger, healthier community?    

This approach holds true whether you are addressing community-wide initiatives, like United Way, or if you are a company with more than 20,000 associates like Shaw. Which is why we sponsored the Innovation in Action award – to recognize those organizations that are digging into their communities to understand the underlying need and pulling together the right people to help create a solution that can increase the organization’s effectiveness and transform our communities.