Over Labor Day weekend, a small group of Agile Learning Facilitators attended the Twin Oaks Communities Conference in central Virginia to host a workshop titled Culture Hacking 101, covering the Agile Learning Center Change Up meetings and the Community Mastery Board. We wanted to share this ALC culture creation practice with people who work hard at creating intentional culture and gather feedback from them to strengthen our own practice.
The workshop went well, and we all had some very interesting and exciting conversations about community, Agile Learning Centers, and education throughout the event. This post intends to share resources related to our workshop and outline what we did.
Change Up Meetings & Community Mastery Board Resources
The focus of our workshop was on the Community Mastery Board (CMB) which is “changed up” during a regular Change Up (we use “∆-up” as a shorthand sometimes) meeting.
You can download a PDF “one pager” about the CMB here that goes over the basics. You can find more of these one pagers here.
You can learn more about Agile Learning Centers on our website.
Here are some blog posts on the subject from our network:
- Drew gives a basic rundown of Change Up and the Community Master Board.
- Tomis shares about how the Change Up meeting was scaled at ALC NYC by using small groups to come up with implementations and we learn a bit about the history and philosophy along the way.
- Nancy writes about using Change Up has strengthened ALC Mosaic’s culture and was used to help make community’s wishes come true.
- Drew shows us how to make a digital version of the CMB using Trello.
- Liam suggests using the CMB as a way to stay true to our organization’s guiding principles with the Roots Mastery Board. This is a great example how to “hack” the tool and find new uses for it.
Look at our Starter Kit for information about how ALCs run and how you could start one (or adapt our kit to fit your needs!).
Over 40 people came and attended Culture Hacking 101! We presented outside in a cool temporary dome structure.
We created an outline of the presentation on a kanban board with:
- Introductions and tone setting
- Played Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cheerleader
- This went super well and really got people’s energy up!
- Played Allies where people stated what they wanted to get out of or learn in the workshop & added those things to a practice CMB
- People seemed to really enjoy this process as well. Rochelle was in another workshop later that weekend that adapted Allies to start off their session too.
- Played Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cheerleader
- What are ALCs?
- Rochelle gave an intro to the ALC project & SDE
- Plato is wrong
- Abe talked about how all tools are just tools, not answers
- ALC tools
- Rochelle gave an overview of the value of making the implicit explicit & gave a quick overview of kanbans and gameshifting
- CMB intro
- Drew intro’d the CMB as tool
- CMB demo
- Liam took us through a change-up meeting
- Questions and answers
- We took questions and gave answers as we wrapped up the presentation
Feedback for next time
We got a good bit of feedback, some very positive. People said they had fun and are excited to try it out. Other’s helped us with more critical feedback.
One glaring misstep was our use of the world “culture”. Some people said they didn’t know what was meant by culture. In ALC land we talk about culture all the time and mean a very specific definition:
the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.
But culture can also mean:
the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
We could have been more clear when choosing our title!
The next major mistake was making our demo confusing. We tried to take people’s intentions for the presentation and move them through a rapid Change Up meeting. It was confusing, weird, and burned up a lot of time!
Some other feedback from our new friends (and ourselves) includes:
- Too many presenters: This was interesting feedback in that it didn’t fully resonate with us as presenters, who felt that the ways in which were able to jump in & contribute to each other’s presentations felt useful & in trust. Her feedback was that allowing us to add to each other’s speaking bits created the impression that none of us knew what we were talking about & didn’t trust each other’s understanding of the content. Regardless of how we felt, this is still useful feedback as to the feel or flow of a workshop with multiple presenters & how we came across to the audience.
- Trust: A change-up meeting won’t look the same at home among people who trust each other & know the process as it does here among a group who’s come together for a 2-hour (ish) workshop. Remind people that this process requires trust, and we haven’t talked about ways to build trust among community members (or in the facilitator).
- Go directly from Allies into the example Change-Up: We should have addressed the awarenesses generated from Allies right away. Waiting to check in on them made them seem distant, confused the process, and made it more difficult to address one-off questions as opposed to potential group norms (if we use the process of gathering Awarenesses from workshop attendees about the workshop itself at all).
- Review what’s on the agenda at the beginning of the workshop: So that people know what to expect re: the flow of the conversation. We got feedback that the board was hard to see (given an audience of 40, this is no surprise!) and that a quick review of the agenda would have helped. This also would have allowed us to give a quick 30 second demo of kanban right away as well.
- Create a sticky with a clear outcome by which we could judge the success or “mastery” of attendees (and presenters!) in the workshop: And check in with it a few times throughout the course of the meeting.
- Know your audience: And know how to create expectations for them. Some people really like tight containers, and expect containers focused on info downloads in shorter time-frame environments (like 2-hour workshops or presentations). Some people may also be a bit hesitant to jump in & start creating with one another. How can we created a sense of shared (yet playful) responsibility to engage in an example Change-Up in a 2-hour time frame?
Rochelle also gave a workshop about Gameshifting during Open Space on Sunday that was attended by about 10-12 people. You can read more about Gameshifting here: http://gameshifting.net!
We would love to hear your questions, feedback, and examples of how you might use these tools in your community, please leave a comment below.
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