The Work Ready Project

They asked for “out of the box,” and so we delivered. After working for over 18 months on this concept from user experiences to analogous research in and out of state, to many, many, many industry conversations, I present our Work ready concept as the Paducah Regional Innovation Hub. The executive summary sums it up nicely or you can just watch the slide presentation below it. The University of Kentucky Paducah Campus, the Paducah Public Schools, WKCTC, Murray State University, Paducah Economic Development, Computer Services, Inc., the city of Paducah, and an additional and growing number of public/private regional partners …

Schools and Strategy – Playing to Win

When I first started thinking about the strategy of schools, I was reading A.G. Lafley’s Playing to Win. I hadn’t really thought of a school district as needing to win per se. I thought schools were on a mission for equity and touted that “everyone is a winner and capable of excellence” kind of stuff. However, in Kentucky at least, I found that the incentives for school funding can drive competitive behaviors between districts. Income from the number of students in attendance is a significant revenue stream. In the game of education, this is a big deal especially if you are in a …

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The Artist’s Delimma

The next few weeks will become Nikki and Monica’s Great Adventure, two friends committed to weekly coffee and figuring out how to fill our days with work that is meaningful and deeply gratifying.

Hackable Cities – Re imagine Your Neighborhood

Hackable Cities is a way for a anyone to get about the business of making their community a better place. This project was my first attempt as an agile scrum master, and I fell in love with the process immediately. Using agile, we produced this book in about 8 weeks. I had a star cast of the brightest people I have ever had the privilege to work with. Fellow community developer, Jonathan Rewers, and I did final edits and helped lead the team through the actual the process in the Eixample neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain. We ended up winning a Design for …

Growing Talent – Understanding the Student Experience

As an experience designer, research that involves understanding and communicating the student journey is my favorite. In that journey are the key motivators and insights into student behavior. Surprisingly many tend to skip this research phase. I think this happens for a few reasons. One, we think we already know. Why ask when I can just assume? It’s less time consuming and of course, I’m probably  right anyway! If you take this point of view, you will design something for that little world in your head and be left wondering why no one is responding to your great new initiatives. Rule #1: Don’t …

Growing Talent – Starting the Conversation

When I received a last minute invitation from my superintendent to attend a round table discussion with a local tech company, I  had no idea what I was in for. As I approached the beautiful stone and glass office space with its lush and meticulously landscaped grounds, I wondered how our students would feel entering this beautiful, yet imposing space or if they even knew of its existence. At the meeting were higher education leaders, department heads of the college and university’s technology departments, other K-12 school district leaders in the area, economic development professionals, and the company leadership. The company was being proactive and …