Less Donald Trump. More Medieval Craftsman. That's what we're going for with our new Apprentice team. Made-up of film-maker/musician/community connector Laura Cuthbert; designer/environmentalist/tutor Sabrina Dominguez; social services team leader/teacher/horse enthusiast Janey Roh.
The Apprentice role has a long and storied history. Dating way back to the 18th century BCE. In Babylon. Where the Code of Hammurabi required artisans to teach their craft.
We very much see our work as a craft. Rather than as a job, or a set of tools, or a standardized process.
Whilst we've brought on board secondees and staff before, we see the Apprentice team as something new. A team dedicated to observing, asking questions, trying out their own versions of our practice, and giving and getting tons of feedback. There are 3 of them, and 3 of us, enabling us to do a lot of 1:1 modeling and re-modeling. Each week, a pair of us will take a different focus: everyday people, professionals & policymakers, and our internal team. Doing ethnography in people's homes. Doing ethnography in organizations. Making materials & routines to support our day-to-day working and reflection.
Well, at least that's the plan. It's only Day #3.
On Day #1, we made smoothies to prompt three varied outcomes: Courage, Productivity, Relaxation.
We talked about team routines and the practicalities of working together.
We made profiles of each other - digging into how we see ourselves, our learning styles, our preferences for giving and receiving feedback.
We stopped for fries at McDonald's and observed interactions. We searched for new reference points at the local library. We built new ideas based on the past at the Thrift store. We got inspired to make our ideas real at Rona Home Store. We explored the difference between spreading processes and scaling organizations at Cattle Cafe.
Finally, we prototyped a pizza ordering and making system at BACI. We got feedback from 'live' customers. And opened up some bottles of wine to reflect on our day and lessons learned.
On Day #2, we turned the basement of Gordon Presbyterian church into an exhibition space and Chinese dinner. 20 service providers and community leaders came around to hear more about our process, and share their local know-how.
On Day #3, we debriefed about our first Community Dinner. Made a short video. And concluded that we designed the event too much like a staid museum exhibition - where people fell into 'passive' listening mode rather than 'active' questioning mode. Next time, we'd do more of a show-n-tell feel.
We also developed 5 different recruitment offers & ways to engage folks living at 7575 Kingsway (our apartment complex) in the ethnographic field work. Everything from a new concierge service to a surprising elevator experience to a pop-up living room outside. All with the intent of meeting people where they are - and getting to know them in a deeper way. Starting over a coffee, a beer, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Today, on Day #4, we'll be making all of the materials and getting ready to test the value propositions on Day #5.
We'll tell you how it goes.