Developing personal capabilities

Dimitri Comino, founder of the Comino Foundation, built the success of his businesses by engaging himself and his staff in active questioning of all they did.  How and why were they were succeeding? How might people work together to secure improvement in all aspects of their work? What were they really trying to achieve?  How would they recognise success?

Throughout his life Dimitri worked tirelessly to develop the personal capabilities of the people who worked with him.  He was fascinated with the ways in which, as adults or children, in work or at play, in group settings or in personal lives – we progress from an intention to an outcome.

Dimitri articulated a framework for thinking and acting which can be used to support individuals and groups in their progress from a purpose to the achievement of that purpose.  This framework came to be known as GRASP – Getting Results and Solving Problems.  The story behind its development and an explanation of the basic concepts can be found in the History section, where there is also an account of how the early work of the Comino Foundation explored ways in which GRASP could be put to use in schools.

In more recent years, some of the underlying concepts on which GRASP have attracted wider attention. We can find them, for instance, in the exploration of design thinking processes, in the school improvement and organisational development literature, in work on pedagogy and professional and personal development and in the notion of action research. Some of these underlying concepts have been translated into recommended practice for use in all organisations, including schools.  On a more personal level, the advent of positive psychology has led to an emphasis on the wisdom of focusing on our desired outcomes rather than allowing ourselves to be weighed down by whatever we perceive as “the problem”.

Dimitri Comino was always looking for ways in which people’s thinking and doing could be helpfully combined and supported, by being made more purposeful and more clearly focused on achievement.  His emphasis was on the need for constant and active questioning – both internally and through dialogue with others, at all stages of the journey from purpose to outcome.

The Comino Foundation therefore recognises the need to continue to question how ideas such as GRASP may be developed and applied in the 21st century. It is engaged, with a number of its grantees, in re-examining the usefulness of those ideas themselves and exploring how they may be best translated for use by those working with young people in current contexts.

Of particular relevance is the work of these grantees:
The Centre for Real World Learning at the University of Winchester.
Enabling Enterprise
The Ideas Foundation
Maker Assembly
Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
North West Comino Consortium

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