Fun, delicious and surprising! When people ask what to expect from an Off Script Retreat, that’s the LeadLocal response. We started Off Script: Innovation 101 with “delicious.” On the night of the kick-off, a group of excited educators and education professionals gathered around pizza to learn together. (Thanks Reilly Craft Pizza!)
Despite the diverse experience and background of each person in the room, we started the retreat rooted in the Big Shift that impacts all of us. From there, the first challenge for the teams was to complete a learning map. Starting with the rainbows and unicorns, teams asked themselves “Where do we want to be? What does success look like?”
On the flip side of the ideal, teams were asked to examine their reality. “What does my day to day look like?” Keeping both in mind, the educators worked together to think through “How do we get from where we are, to where we want to be?” Solutions sparked in their earliest form on that first night. This is where “fun” and “surprising” took off and continued over the course of the next two days. One educator shared:
“It’s funny. I have not seen this as work. This is the first training that doesn’t feel like work, it feels like learning”
The morning of day one asked Off Script-ers to be flexible in an early morning yoga class at YogaOasis. As we came back together at Connect Coworking, we started the morning thinking about the components of trust- growth mindset, leadership and empathy. The team’s then reflected on their own experience to begin to pin down their solution.
Team one, coming from Sunnyside School District set out to explore the support systems necessary to implement EdCorps on a larger scale. Team two saw a need for easy to use activities for teachers to facilitate new ideas like entrepreneurship or place-based learning.
Another phrase we use to describe working with LeadLocal is “less talk, more do.” At this point in the retreat, the educators were learning and doing by taking their solution through a design thinking or entrepreneurship process. Educators practiced and applied tools like empathy maps and the business model canvas to their solution. The day concluded with developing experiments and interview questions to test assumptions, answers unknowns and refine their solutions. We moved quickly and one educator shared this insight about the pace:
“I never knew we could create something cohesive in such a short amount of time.”
Day two of the retreat began by asking educators to shift their perspective during an urban hike led by Ironwood Tree Experience. With fresh eyes, the teams paused to check in with their own frequency and do some personal reflection. Working together to give feedback on each other’s leadership potential strengthened connections and capacity for collaboration.
The final part of the day gave teams time and space to incorporate their feedback from rapid experiments and interviews, refine solutions, and create prototypes. Off Script: Innovation 101 wrapped up with a shark-tank-style pitch, followed by some final reflection and this is what one participant said:
“For me, the process itself drove the learning experience.”
It was incredible to witness these educators working together to create tangible solutions and develop their entrepreneurial and design thinking skillsets. We’re so grateful to work with inspirational educators who are willing to Go Off Script!