Transparency. Let's make clear what people are working, what our individual skill sets and resources are, and what our availability to help is. More often than not someone close by can help you solve problems whether it be graphic design, programming, story framing, or what adhesive use. If we know who to ask for help we can spend a little less time trying to fix a stupid a Arduino coding error on our own. The right person will gladly help you. Because feeling helpful is euphoric.
Share Boards are platforms for individuals to publicly share and exchange information that might otherwise be unknown to the community. The boards use a system of cards held in slots to guide participation. Community members add Topic Cards in relation to the board's subject. And add Person Cards to topics they feel aligned with. It’s a space to gather resources and start conversations.
The first version of my Share Board was built for the graduate ID department at RISD. It is geared towards increasing interpersonal information opacity and promoting collaboration within an individualistic program. I then created a folded paper version of the board, making the resource accessible and easy to implement in other communities.
Share Boards at RISD
At RISD, I put care into the design and fabrication of the object to encourage respectful and meaningful interactions. Taking into consideration the changing needs of a community with high turnover. I built the board so that it can easily be reset, readjusted, and reused. The board is made of a grid of cut envelopes neatly mounted to a sheet of lauan. The lauan brackets onto a freestanding white board making it easy to hang and remove. It’s installed in the entrance to the graduate studio allowing asynchronous participation from the entire community. It’s designed to invite the viewer in, allows them to easily view information, and encourages them to share. I incorporated moments of discovery and play by including a space for hidden drawings and messages.
The subjects I selected for the board at RISD are Hope to Learn, Practicing, and Happy To Help, this is based on a similar community board at IDEO. If you’re hoping to learn something, share it with your community by adding the activity and your name to the board. This share board helps identify common interests and builds relationships between those hoping to learn and happy to help.
The RISD ID community quickly adopted the board as a resource. Within two weeks 1/3rd of the slots were filled. The board's contents aren’t limited to work, many people hope to learn skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing. And a handful of community members are happy to help with these activities! It successfully built connections between teachers, first year students, and second year students.
Where this Share Board falls a little short is in its relationship to time. The amount of new entries slowed after a month. The participants that primarily added to the board after that were new to the space. For the community members frequenting the studio the board's novelty had worn off. Likely, new cohorts entering the space will pump some new life into the board. Changing the board's topic is another way to keep it fresh.
Share Boards in the Wild
In the paper version of the board the subject designations are left up to the user. These paper boards are printed on a broadsheet of newsprint and then folded 33 times. Each board took an average of 14 minutes to complete, thanks to a scoring template and a lot of music. The boards are accompanied by an instruction packet.
I distributed the paper share boards at my graduate thesis exhibition. All 80 boards I made were taken. Since then I’ve received positive feedback from multiple lower and upper school teachers. I’m thrilled to have a hand in building community.