How might we work collaboratively to design an intentional school culture guided by empathy for the needs of others?
For three days in August of 2016, the faculty of the Episcopal School of Dallas joined forces with Leadership+Design to engage in a collaborative workshop that worked to strengthen the connective ties between colleagues and reimagine the culture of the school. On day one, ESD educators pushed themselves to explore outside of the confines of their school, taking over a funky nightclub space in the Deep Ellum District of Dallas to take risks, tell stories, build trust through improv exercises, and practice interviewing one another. The following morning, they immersed themselves in the Design District, making use of the Steelcase Work and Life Showroom and conducting fieldwork interviews in the neighborhood about people's experiences being part of or separate from a "culture."
Over the remainder of the workshop, the ESD faculty actively explored and practiced group dynamics and cultivated their individual signature presence as they simultaneously learned and employed new human-centered design skills. In groups, they applied the insights they had gleaned from their field work to designing and prototyping proposals and setting intentions for their school culture and habits of interaction in the coming academic year. This new sense of school culture is already pervading ESD, informing the team's work as they collaboratively rethink and retool their approach to school functions ranging from classroom instruction to parent-teacher conferences.
Experience Designers: Ryan Burke and Tim Vos