How everyone can have a say in what we do

The insight and innovation pool: why join, how long it takes and what you can get out of it

08 August 2022

At Girlguiding, we’re constantly listening out for member feedback on the things that matter. Our members are at the heart of what we do, so it’s important things are run in a way that works for everyone.

Our volunteer support team is always at hand to help out with questions or concerns. But did you know that by joining the insight and innovation pool, you can actually help to shape the way projects are built and run along with us?

Everyone’s welcome in the pool, whether you’re a volunteer, parent or young member.

We were keen to hear from members who’ve already taken part in the pool to about their experiences. So we caught up with volunteer Helen, parents Kate and Sarah and young member Maya to find out more.

Why join the insight and innovation pool?

Depending on who you are and what involvement you have with guiding, there are a few different reasons you might want to join the insight and innovation pool.


Here’s what volunteer Helen Frost had to say about it:

“Our time is precious and we all have a lot of commitments.  We give an awful a lot of time to Girlguiding already but being a part of the insight and innovation pool has been interesting and rewarding for me.

I joined because I wanted to have my say on what happens within Girlguiding and other volunteering organisations.  Girlguiding is important to all of us, and the insight and innovation pool gives us that opportunity to make a difference.”


As a parent, Sarah Owen also saw the insight and innovation pool as an opportunity to make some of the changes she’d like to see in Girlguiding as an organisation.

Sarah explains that the pool offered a different way to give feedback other than speaking directly with her unit’s leader. “Taking part meant that my thoughts and suggestions could be taken on board and considered, perhaps leading to the sorts of changes I’d like to see in the organisation and for the benefit of my daughters.”

We also spoke with Kate Clayton-Jackson, also a parent, who had a slightly different reason for joining the insight and innovation pool.

Kate was furloughed during the Covid-19 lockdown and joined the pool at a time she was keen to keep busy. “Also, as someone who was involved in volunteer management, I understood the importance of volunteers and I wanted to do some volunteering myself – albeit in a very small way,” she tells us.

Young members

Did you know that joining the insight and innovation pool can count towards your Queen’s guide award?

Although this wasn’t the reason young member Maya Hide joined the pool, it was definitely a plus. She adds: It was something I didn’t know much about, but it was so easy to join. I liked that you could say yes or no based on what you were being offered and when it was, so it fit around my other commitments.”

How much time does it take to join the insight and innovation pool?

Although the time it takes to be part of the pool will vary depending on project, we’ll never ask for more time than you’re able to give. This is usually two or three one-hour sessions. We asked volunteer Helen more about how long the experience took her.

“We’re given the choice as to what we want to get involved in. 

So far, I’ve chosen two projects. The first was a discussion of whether commissioners should sign off risk assessments. As a commissioner myself, risk assessments are important to my role. And the second dealt with how inclusive Girlguiding is as an organisation.

Both were one-hour calls. So, I’ve probably been a member of the pool for about a year and I’ve been involved twice, which hasn’t taken up that much time.”

Did you take away any learnings or new skills from the experience?

The types of projects you might be offered in the pool are really varied. So there’s no telling what kind of new skills or insights you may take away.

As a parent, Sarah tells us, “It was interesting to learn more about other parents’ experiences.”

For Kate on the other hand, some of the thought-provoking discussions were the most memorable part of the experience. “It’s been really great to engage in something that feels like it’s doing you good – and stretching you a bit – whilst also doing good!”

Joining the pool could also help young members hone useful life skills and give insight into how projects are developed. Here’s young member Maya on what she’s taken away:

“I really liked seeing more about the process of how a new offer is created as we often just see something new appear and think no more about it and how it got to where it is.

It was also really cool to work with some professional designers and see how they work, and find out more about an interview process during research stages.”  

What would you say to someone considering joining the insight and innovation pool?

We’d like to round up with the words of volunteer Helen, who put it best when she said:

“If anyone was considering joining the pool, I would say go for it. This is our organisation and this is a way of making our voices heard. We give the girls a voice.”

Join the insight and innovation pool

Whether you're a volunteer, parent or young member, everyone's welcome in the pool.

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