(2022)    Designing and facilitating a workshop on community values

The community values workshop is an opportunity to get together as a community to talk about our collective values, think about how we currently practice them, and ideate on new ways to practice and support our values.

This 2.5 hour workshop was developed alongside my classmate Jenny Chen as part of my graduate thesis work. After running several trial workshops, we ran the community values workshop with 25 RISD Masters of Industrial Design community members. Moving forward the workshop will be held once a year in this space. This allows community members to reflect, redefine, and realign as community members and values shift.

Run of Show

Alignment -  This section consists of an ice breaker and value sorting. Here participants share what they love about the community,  what they bring to the community, and state the values they feel are important to uphold as a community. As a whole all the participants organize these stated values and identify key values.

Group Work - Then the workshop breaks into smaller groups (4-5). Using a worksheet each group fleshes out one key value. They write a clear definition for this value, articulate how the community currently practices this value, ideates on new ways the community might practice this value, and considers barriers to practicing.

Break Time / Lunch Time - Taking breaks is important. Especially when you’ve gathered a whole team together, break time allows you to deepen relationships with community members. Or just reset. 

Presentations - Each group presents their key value to all the participants. Following each presentation there is room for discussion and an opportunity for all attendees to the worksheet of that value.

Closing Discussion - Focuses on themes and patterns from the workshop. This is an opportunity for the community to hone in on a few new ways to practice values, develop committees and work towards action plans.

Workshop Materials 

The group work section of the workshop requires worksheets. These worksheets should be large enough for participants to view the important information from afar. Although the workshop can be run effectively using Post-Its and large sheets of paper, considering the design of the workshop materials allows for the output to have a larger impact.

When running the workshop at RISD our initial worksheet materials were a combination of cardboard, dry erase board, paper and string. We used a hanger style system for the section of the worksheet focused on current and new ways to practice values, making it easy and fun for participants to add to the boards.

We later remade and framed these worksheets, replacing the cardboard with felted letter board. Now they are elegantly hanging in the entrance way of the studio. Creating a reminder of the community values and an invitation for people to continue to add to the boards asynchronously. The boards are designed so that they can easily be cleared and resued for the following year's Community Values Workshops.