Updating My List of Facilitation Card Decks

Back in 2012 I posted about different card decks I’ve seen and used while facilitating (mostly face to face.) It turned out to be a popular post, so when I see new decks (like with then FABULOUS Groupworks Deck came out) I blog about them. Today one of the folks from the Open Innovators group  at the Hague University (where I have fun facilitating in the autumn) posted about a deck I hadn’t seen on facilitating behavior change and I thought I’d add this one to the evolving list. (Update: Here is another great list.)

The behavior change cards come from the Artefact Group. (Hey, they are in Seattle!) Here is their blurb:


This set of 23 cards was crafted to help designers, researchers, and anyone facing a behavior change challenge, think through strategies to nudge people toward positive behavioral outcomes. They work particularly well when you have in mind a specific behavior that you want to change (e.g., “We want to get more people to ride the bus,” or, “We want people to stop smoking”). We focused on making these strategies easy to grasp, incorporate, and act on.

The set is divided into five thematic sections, each featuring strategies and examples that will help you understand whythe strategies are effective, and prompt you to think through how they might be used.

  1. Make it personal: The persuasive power of “me” and “my” (cards 1– 6)
  2. Tip the scales: How perceptions of losses and gains influence our choices (cards 7– 13)
  3. Craft the journey: Why the entire experience matters (cards 14 – 17)
  4. Set up the options: Setting the stage for the desired decision (cards 18 – 21)
  5. Keep it simple: Avoiding undesirable outcomes (cards 22 – 23)

These cards should be considered a starting point, to help you think through strategies and brainstorm new ideas you may not have previously considered. Keep in mind that any given strategy, on its own, is unlikely to be a silver bullet. And while some of these strategies may work in the short term, they don’t necessarily guarantee long-term success. At the end of the day, the only way to make sure that what you’re designing has the outcome you desire is to test it with real people.

From a quick glance the cards have a product design perspective, which makes sense as the Artefact Group works in design. I scrolled through them to consider how they might work  the international development contexts I often find myself. The images feel pretty North American to me, and reflect a strong consumer culture. I could see using the cards in the US even outside of commercial product design because the examples are familiar and would offer good thinking triggers. In international development the consumer emphasis and images would not translate well.  The tips and ideas are  useful and I think they would resonate in other cultures with appropriate  reframing for different contexts. 

A little side note: As an American, I have to be particularly sensitive as people often default to a “disregard that – just another American thing” when I bring them, even if the thing I bring is NOT American. Our cultural identities and our perceptions are strong! My behavior is deeply connected to my roots, so the act of carrying ideas across boundaries is essential to my work, but it has to be done with quite a bit of care. And I still mess up!

This is one of the really tough things with any of these decks is how to make them useful across domains and cultures. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take a deck and remix the images? Tweak the text and create a remixed deck altogether? Someone clever could program that, I’m sure.

In the meantime, the resonance of all the decks I’ve tried is the mix of the visual with the images, the tactile experience of the cards (moving them around, sharing them in a group setting, etc.) and the triggers that both the images and the words offer us to step, at least slightly, out of our practiced thinking and behaving pathways. (Yeah, ruts!)

While you are on the Artefact Group’s site, check out their larger set of resources.  I was drawn a couple of other toolkit elements with a strong visual focus. Check out Designing for Empathy  and their relationship map (see also their whitepaper which is actually YELLOW!) . I have also downloaded “Designing to Incentivize” but haven’t read it yet. (And yes, I still dislike the word “incentivize” but I’m very interested in when incentives help and when they screw things up!) Clearly these folks have a good sense of humor. Here is a screen shot of the page with the summary of the incentives piece:incentivize


Thank you to Morgen Schuler

Nancy White speaking at Ignite 27 (and doing a side angle yoga pose)
Photo by morgen schuler morgenschulerphotography.com

Earlier this year I presented at Ignite 20, here in Seattle. (Video here. Slides here.) I was delighted to come across some photos by Morgen Schuler of morgenschulerphotography.com on Flickr. I asked Morgen if I could use her shots and she graciously said yes. She and Kris Krug are two photographers who have captured me on film, unlike most others. So I am delighted to share her work with you. (Hint to my sons – a new family portrait would be a lovely 30th Anniversary gift to your parents!)

Here they are! THANKS MORGEN!

ignite_32 ignite_31 ignite_30 ignite_29 ignite_28

Feedback to Amplify vs. to Recognize

Creative Commons from the wonderful Roland Tanglao via Flickr

The title of the article, Talent Isn’t Fixed and Other Mindsets That Lead to Greatness, drew me in. Here is the opening paragraph.

According to Stanford University’s Carol Dweck, the psychologist behind the much-praised book Mindset: The New Psychology for Success, the attitude that we bring to our creative work—and to mentoring our juniors—can play a huge role in shaping just how much of our inborn talents we realize.

One of the most important things that I think I offer the individuals and groups I work with is to notice their contribution, their creativity, passion, persistence –> whatever the quality. The article calls this people’s “inborn talents.” I think it is more than inborn, but I won’t quibble…

I call my role or function “holding up a mirror.”  Helping people see for themselves their power and agency. But that is an oversimplification. So it seems useful to consider how we give feedback — it matters. Take a look at some wise words from Stanford University’s Carol Dweck.

Could you give me an example of how that language would actually play out if I were giving someone feedback?

A fixed mindset approach would be saying something like: “This project turned out amazing. You’re a genius. I knew you had the talent. This is proof of it.” As opposed to a growth mindset approach of, “Wow, this project turned out fantastically well. I loved the way you mobilized the team, the way you kept everyone focused, the way you brought it to fruition, the way you made everybody feel the ownership.” These are things you can replicate and that you should replicate the next time. Whereas, when I say, “You’re a genius!”…how do you reproduce that over and over?

And what about when you need to give someone criticism? Or point out an area that needs work?

As I mentioned, when you are giving criticism, you need to carefully critique the process someone engaged in and discuss what skills they need to learn and improve.

But I’ve also fallen in love with a new word—“yet.” You can say to someone who fell short: “You don’t seem to have this,” but then add the word “yet.” As in, “You don’t seem to have these skills…yet.” By doing that, we give people a time perspective. It creates the idea of learning over time. It puts the other person on that learning curve and says, “Well, maybe you’re not at the finish line but you’re on that learning curve and let’s go further.” It’s such a growth mindset word.

The “yet” thing is interesting and it reminds me of the power of “Yes, And,” from improv. Interesting that searching for a link took me back to the 99U site! Look at this. It both cases, I don’t think the feedback is limited ONLY to specific feedback — I really liked what Dweck said in response to the first question. But also having some lack of clarity also leads to possibility. Thus Roland’s fuzzy mirror photo inspired my thinking a bit more. Clarity on feedback, and possibility going forward. How’s that? How do you give feedback?

Photo from my friend Roland Tanglao.

Random Sunday Thoughts: Identity/Ghosts

For some reason today my blog software noted a pingback from an old post from 2008 as noted by Patti Anklam. So I followed the link back to my original post and was once again struck by Bill Anderson’s Haiku. Here is the text from the post. 

Bill Anderson adds to the repetoire of conference capture techniques with Haiku Notes from SXSW with PRAXIS101: SXSW 2008 Reflection: Free association as a note-taking practice.

Your social footprint.
Or your ghost on the network.
You have to choose one.

Of course, to complement the text, I’ll grab one of Bill’s colleague’s visual efforts, an image from Honoria Starbuck

via Haiku as Conference Capture | Full Circle Associates.

You have to choose. Bill was and IS still so right. Our digital traces are everywhere. How do we choose to leave our footprints?

Something to think about. But the sun is out. Now back to the garden after an old trace reawaked Bill’s Haiku! (And Bill, blog, will ya!)

This is me, we, us: digital identity

Alan Levine has a great new video shared via the Flat Classroom Project that took me back to some thinking I did with some pals at the University of Reading’s OdinLab (UK) in 2010. We were pondering how to talk about identity, particularly in the internet era. The OdinLab folks had a project for university students called “This is Me” and I did a remix for Librarians as part of some work I was doing in the US.

I loved that Alan presented his ideas about identity through three “slices” of his public self, and that Alan himself is generous about all sides of his life. (Makes for good friends!) I chuckled at the mention of staying in the homes of people he had met “only” online… my husband has been chuckling at me for this since 1996, inviting in what he called, even way back then, my “imaginary friends.” But we all know, you aren’t imaginary! 😉

Take a look at this 13+ minute video. Alan asks some questions that are worth our time. I particularly like the bit at the end when he asks not just about our individual identity, but the “we” — our collective representation and identity online. Cool!

We, Our Digital Selves, and Us – Flat Classroom Project.