Posted by: kbater | January 27, 2011

What’t the big idea!

Ideas Bank cafe - March 2011

Banff  Ideas Bank open for business…

 The Banff Ideas Bank is one of Banff’s newest community organizations. The mandate is to promote and distribute good ideas for the purpose of improving the quality of life for town residents/visitors and the health of the natural environment. The core activity and function of the new group is to aid and encourage the general public in generating fresh ideas and in increasing participation in community problem-solving and solution-finding processes.

 The Banff Ideas Bank (BIB) is modelled after the very successful Global Ideas Bank – “part-suggestions box, part-ideas network and part-democratic think-tank, giving the “ordinary” person a chance to have their creativity recognised, rewarded and even put into practice.”

The format is a café with people discussing a set of four questions that look at the topic question in a way that surfaces meaning and then ideas.  The ideas generated at the café are presented to Town Council each month and are available for Town Council, community groups, individuals, businesses and other groups to drawn on to find new ideas and solutions that help them in their endeavours.

Currently idea generation is left up to leaders and experts.  This means that Town Council and other leaders are expected to have all the answers to issues facing the community. BIB believes that there is a lot of knowledge amongst community members as to how to address quality of life issues.  This process creates an opportunity for all citizens (even visitors to Banff) to forward their opinions and ideas.   It increases community participation in the democratic process of idea generation and decision-making.   

The Banff Ideas Bank was started 7 months ago and has hosted 7 cafe events.   The regular monthly cafe is always at 7pm on the 1st Wednesday of each month at the Wildflour Artisan Bakery. These are the topics covered to date:

July – “Is Banff a creative community?”
August – “Why do people come to Banff?”
September – “What is a good education?”
October – “Why do we love to dislike politicians?”
November – “What is the one thing we need to do right in Banff in 2011?”
December – “What brings you happiness?”
January – “Are we running out of time?”
The topic for the next cafe on February 2nd is – “”Why do we love to hate taxes?”


Upcoming cafes will be on March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1st. 

There may also be some special events so stay tuned. 

Soon a Banff Ideas Bank website will be operational and I will post the address here for easy access. The website will allow people to submit ideas on topics when they can’t attend the cafes. It will also be the repository for the ideas and allow for easy access by the public to the ideas generated that are available for further development by interested agencies, businesses, the municipal gov’t or individuals.

 The core organizing group is in the process of becoming a society and we are looking for volunteers (to facilitate at cafes, to create web content, to write articles, work on special events).  Contact me by leaving a comment on this posting if you are interested.



  1. Hi Kim!

    Was looking to get an email address for you so we could talk about the Ideas Bank and possibly having the Town’s summer program participants get involved. Kids anad youth have lots of ideas!

    We are focusing more this year on community connections and building and strengthening relationships we have here in our town! If you send me an email I can attach a document further detailing our intentions. I think this is such a great thing for the young ones to get involved in!

    Talk to you soon Kim!


    • Hi Jessica

      you can contact me at

      it would be great to work on this – there is an interesting project that the Banff Ideas Bank is considering – Jane’s Walk – look it up on the internet. It could work for Banff in May – does that timing work for you? We could focus in on doing this type of event for Banff with your invovlement if you are interested.

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