Designathon One

The Impact Collaborative (IC) process is designed to catalyze and empower next-level Extension professionals and programs. The goal is to help ensure Extension is no longer America’s “best-kept secret.”

Through the IC, eXtension encourages innovative and informed project designs while developing new skills and mindsets of project team members. Design teams are created and work to ensure institutional/state goals for the IC are met and that the process is a responsive part of their strategic solutions. Throughout the entire IC experience, team members will have access to tailored professional development and peer support from other innovative Extension professionals.

Designathon One (D1): Design Thinking

This two-day workshop helps teams hone, expand, build-out, or modify an idea into a compelling innovative project that attracts and catalyzes key stakeholders and strategic partners. D1 events are well suited for extension professionals and their allied partners who have:

  • Identified a need or trend and want to begin the ideation process
  • Are early in a project or team-building effort
  • An established project or program looking to re-spark or change course

The important characteristic is that teams or projects entering D1 should have the flexibility and willingness to make significant changes if necessary. This process asks participants to examine their motivations, test assumptions, and gather data to find the best path forward. Projects or teams already locked into an action plan or set of deliverables may not benefit from D1 unless they have the ability to make changes – should the process uncover a need to do so.

Five D1 were held January-February, 2018 with 170 participants (excluding presenters and eXtension staff). More events are being planned. For more information on future events or to inquire about an event for your state, contact Ashley Griffin

  • Raleigh, NC, January 22-24, 2018 (co-hosted by North Carolina State University)
  • Portsmouth NH, February 5-7, 2018 (co-hosted by University of New Hampshire Extension)
  • Portland OR, February 5-7, 2018 (co-hosted by Oregon State University Extension)
  • Madison WI, February 19-21, 2018 (co-hosted by University of Wisconsin Extension)
  • Ithaca, NY, February 20-22, 2018 (co-hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension)

six levels of adobe kickboxThe framework for D1 follows six levels adapted from the Adobe Kickbox Innovation Kit (see the graphic, right) combined with complementary tools for engagement, managing collaboration, and creating alignment toward a common purpose. Participants at Designathon One:

  1. Practice design thinking skills using techniques in creative ideation, prototyping, and problem-solving to maximize the impact of their local programs, and
  2. Became better equipped and confident to duplicate these steps with colleagues and local stakeholders.

All Cooperative Extension professionals at member institutions, in all program areas, are welcome to join us at Designathon One.

The Impact Collaborative Collaborative Process

Designathon One is just the beginning. The 2018 program fellows are recruiting steering committees and key informants for additional mentoring and professional development opportunities in the target areas of Behavioral Health, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Food Systems. Designathon Two events are being planned and will focus on action plans, finding solutions or removing barriers, and “team time”. Throughout the entire IC experience, participants will have access to facilitators, mentors, and peer-support from other innovative Extension professionals and allied partners.

If you have questions, check out the Designathon One FAQ page.