During the application review process, reviewers will be looking for innovative methods of achieving the goals of the Toyota TogetherGreen program. Innovation occurs when people move out of their comfort zones to create something that contributes to a project’s vision.
Innovation can be seen in forging non-traditional partnerships, particularly with groups that aren’t environmentally focused but add value to your project. This added value may come in the form of donated materials, volunteer recruitment, expertise, etc.
Innovation can also be seen in projects that reach out to a brand new and non-traditional audience for your organization (meaning: until now, this organization has never attempted to reach out to this constituency). Reaching new and diverse audiences is a goal of Toyota TogetherGreen, but reaching audiences your organization is already working with (even if they are considered new and diverse to the conservation movement), is not considered innovative. Innovation occurs when you propose to work with an audience that is completely new to you or your organization.
Example: Working with local nursing home facilities, TogetherGreen Fellow Ken Elkins of Audubon Connecticut created the Bird Tales program. This unique therapeutic program enriches the lives of individuals living with dementia by offering them a means to connect with birds through sight, sound, smell, and touch, and encourages nursing homes to create better bird habitat on their properties.
In addition, other approaches to innovation might include new ideas for planning and implementing programs; the application of new technologies or ideas for improving current technologies; and new ways to evaluate success.