Small Moments Matter

In Colorado Springs District 11 we followed the same workshop progression as the d.home team at Stanford.  Our fifth (and final workshop) focused on highlighting the small but meaningful moments the participants had experienced along the way.  The workshop was designed to take the methodology of Design Thinking and apply it to developing a compelling story. 

Seeking the Small

The concept of storytelling can be intimidating, but we are all natural born storytellers.  We started off with some improv to loosen people up and get them telling stories from the beginning.  As facilitators we told a couple of stories of small moments that completely changed our personal journeys in education.  Based on those examples we challenged the participants to share examples from their own journeys in education.  This led to some fun storytelling and got everyone warmed up for the day.

Moments from Memories

Using our warm up exercises and examples we started down the path of helping our educators find their significant small moments.  To spark some memories we projected pictures from the previous four workshops on the screen.  The educators documented their journey down memory lane with notes and sketches on “small moment” cards, which consisted of a sketch with a short description about small, meaningful moments.

Story Extraction & Construction

The groups selected their favorite small moments and began to dig deeper using the “Story Extractor” tool.  Once they had “extracted” all of the key moments from their favorite stories they selected the one that they liked the most and recorded a first iteration of the story using the voice memo app. 

After lunch we used the design process to define our audience and the core of the story.  We used this foundation to develop a single strong story that was ready to be recorded.  Each group drew pictures or visuals to accompany the key points of their story to help bring them to life.  Some even used voice-overs or music to embellish their stories!

Adapt it:

Stanford had their very own “Story Extractor” who helped guide the participants through their storymaking by asking key questions as they discussed their moments (“What does that mean?” “Now, what does that really mean?”).  We did not have a resident “Story Extractor” available to us, so our workshop facilitators stepped into this role and the exercise still ran very smoothly.

Lights, Cameras, Action!

Once the stories were ready it was time to film!  Teams took smart phones and recorded their stories frame by frame (Post-It by Post-It).  One team with a strong tech background decided to record the whole thing on their computers with digital images, which added a nice twist.  Finally we shared out all of the final stories with a full-workshop screening. 

Adapt it:

During the production and screening portions of our workshop we faced some challenges with the technology.  Since each film was recorded on different smartphones, the films all needed to be uploaded onto one computer and projected onto a screen.  This process had some hiccups and in the future it would be great to use an adaptor to plug the phones directly into a projector and avoid the entire uploading process.  Additionally, all of the films could be recorded on a single phone, which could also streamline the viewing process but may slow down the production process.

During the Stanford workshop, media staff helped with the filming process.  We did not have the staff resources for this and instead had the participants follow written instructions, which worked well.

While most participants created their film from sketches on post-its, one group decided to create their graphics on the computer and then filmed the computer.  This turned out great and demonstrated one of many extensions or alternate mediums that this activity could support.  

Back to School

Our Colorado participants were offered an opportunity to apply for a grant to help implement Design Thinking back at their schools as an extension and application of the workshop series.  The participants who applied for a grant were asked to give an “Ignite” presentation at the end of the workshop.  It was fantastic to see the applications of Design Thinking in action!  For example one school was working on a redesign of a school hallway and had used a color walk from our empathy deep dive to help guide their design. 

Wrapping it all up

Our final workshop ended with an in-depth debrief during which the participants shared out what the key moment(s) had been for them during the 5 workshop sessions; at what point did they feel that their mindset had shifted?

One participant shared that at the beginning of each day she had had the attitude of “seriously, you’re going to make us do that”.  She was a self-proclaimed linear thinker and was very skeptical about the process of Design Thinking.  However, at the end of each day she had had an “ah ha moment” that brought it all together. Our final debrief was a great reflection on all that we had learned about Design Thinking and ourselves!