After a long journey at YouthBuild USA, starting as a publications and website specialist, I was recently made the Director of Digital Communications. My goal is to accurately tell the organization’s story and respectfully tell the stories of our graduates, using digital media. The Stories of Change Impact Lab couldn’t have come at a better time.
Our defined challenge was to collect and disseminate the stories of transformation of YouthBuild graduates. While the challenge didn’t change over the course of the week, the ideas I had about fulfilling it were completely turned around. In the beginning, I focused solely on the details of storing and cataloging stories, and planning emails to get them out. I was thinking small. By the end, my mind was open to the myriad of possibilities. The design process allowed us to identify all our constraints, but we were charged to not let them hold back our thinking, and it worked!
The Lab experience was quite different from any I’ve had in my work at YouthBuild USA. Having the time to think big, to step back and look at the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish, was really great. It expanded my thinking and allowed me to really imagine what could be. Working in a non-profit is often fast-paced and one doesn’t always have time to do in-depth planning around anything relating to technology.
I really appreciated being with people whom I don’t work with every day and people who have different perspectives on the work we do. The structure and flow allowed me to think outside the typical constraints that we occasionally get bogged down with. Tomorrow Partners provided us with an amazing team who pulled us out of the weeds when needed and guided us through four days of process so that we would shine on our fifth day when we presented.
I came away with a better idea of the design process. I liked the ideation stage—letting everyone put sticky notes all over the walls to allow themes to emerge. I also met amazing people and I’d like to think I made connections that I’ll maintain. Everyone was friendly, inspiring, and hard-working!
I’m really excited by the ideas that came out of the lab and the headspace that it put me in. I’m looking forward to continuing the work we started, back at YouthBuild USA in Boston.