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Taking stock of team achievements

TAKE STOCK OF TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS

Duration 30-45 min
Number of persons 10-15 persons

Description
The best way to end the year on a high note is to take time with the team to reflect on the past year and to celebrate your achievements and progress. Taking stock helps build team confidence and brings some insights to take on the next step of the journey.

Goals
The goal of this fun activity is to share appreciation about the team achievements.

Materials and preparation

  • sticky-notes
  • thick coloured markers
  • ballpoint pens
  • A4 paper
  • A3 paper
  • coloured oil-pastels

Instructions

  1. Have the team seated in a circle with all the materials nearby.

  2. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR
    On sticky-notes invite everyone to write 1-3
    personal highlights from the year they will treasure. One highlight per sticky-note. They could write one word, a short phrase or doodle.  (3 minutes)
  3. Invite the team to go round one-by-one and share one or two personal highlights.
  4. Next, on sticky-notes invite everyone to write 1-3 team highlights from the year they will treasure. One highlight per sticky-note. They could write one word, a short phrase or doodle.  (3 minutes)
  5. Invite the team to go round one-by-one and share one or two team highlights.

  6. LEARNINGS
    Pass a sheet of A4 paper and pen to each team member and invite them to a free writing activity. Explain that free writing is a technique, when we say ‘Go’ you begin writing and continue uninterrupted until we say ‘Stop.’ The idea is to keep your pen moving the entire time. Spelling nor punctuation matters. Your entire writing piece might be one long sentence, or you might have all kinds of short phrases. No crossing out or rewriting. Just let the thoughts flow and captured them on your paper. Remind the team that the writing will stay private and that we will only share learnings later.
    Prompt #1: What did I learn about myself this past year? (3 minutes)
    Prompt #2: What did I learn about my team this past year? (3 minutes)
  7. When time is up ask them to read their writings silently and underline one or two learnings they would like to share with the team.
  8. Invite the team to go around the circle and share something they learned either about themselves or the team.

  9. GRATITUDE
    Invite everyone to get into a comfortable position and close their eyes. If they are not comfortable closing their eyes invite them to focus their gaze somewhere in the room. Ask them to take a couple of deep breathes. Reflecting on the past year, have them think about what they are most grateful for. What worked well for them? Who do they feel appreciative of for their contribution to their life? Picture this person or moment you are most grateful for. Stay with this moment.  Feel the gratitude as it fills up your chest. (long pause) Take a couple of deep breathes. Begin to stretch your fingers and your toes, stretch your arms and your legs, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
  10. Pass a sheet of A3 paper to everyone and ask them to grab a few oil-pastels and invite them to draw a picture that represents your gratitude. The picture can be literal—showing recognisable objects—or it can be abstract—just colours—or it can be a combination. It’s up to you. Use your imagination. This is not an arts test. Feel free to play some soft instrumental music in the background.
  11. Give them around 5 minutes to complete their drawing.
  12. Invite the team to go around the circle and share their picture and their gratitude story.

  13. LEAVING BEHIND
    Next, ask everyone, what would they like to say goodbye to? What have they outgrown? What would they like to gently bring to a close? Invite everyone to write some ideas down on sticky notes then share in the circle.

  14. TAKING WITH ME
    Then finally, what would they like to take with them into the new year? What is the one word that would be the guiding focus for their new year? Invite everyone to write their one word in a creative way on an A4 sheet of paper. Share in the circle. Celebrate these words by pinning them up on a board that is visible in the office.

Background
Inspired by the work of Kevin Eikenberry and Louise Thompson

Closing activity: Tree of Strengths

TREE OF STRENGTHS

Duration 10-15 min
Number of Persons 20+

Description
Before you kick off your end-of-day cocktail drink of your event, this simple closing activity helps participants meet others that they did not get a chance to interact with throughout the day.

Goal
To help participants to get to know each other at the beginning or ending of a session. To help participants identify their personal strengths.

Materials and preparation

  • A5 green colour card cut into “leaf-like” shapes
  • Thick multi-coloured markers
  • Large room with a large table in the centre

Instructions

  1. Have everyone stand in a circle.
  2. Pass around a leaf-like card to each participant.
  3. Invite everyone to grab a marker and write in bold letters on their leaf-like card the ONE THING people come to them for help.
  4. Once everyone has their word written on their card, ask them to hold it up to their chest.
  5. Instruct the group that they now have 3 minutes to get into groups of 3 – with people they have not interacted with throughout the day – and share how they practice their word.
  6. When time is up, invite them to create another group of 3 persons and share how they practice their word for another 3 minutes.
  7. When time is up, get everyone back into the circle and invite them, one-by-one, to call out the word on their card and place their card on the table in the middle of the room.
  8. Once everyone has placed their leaf-like cards on the table, close the session by pointing out that the tree represents the strengths of our community that shelters and nourishes us.

Background
I designed this activity as a closing session at an education hackathon organised by Ashoka Belgium – Education Innovation Programme “Education Shakers

A two day retreat for WeBrussels

Creative expression brings down the walls and builds trust, connecting us across cultural, religious, socioeconomic, and generational divides. – Partners for Youth Empowerment

I had a fantastic time leading a two day retreat for WeBrussels – a group of passionate citizens aiming to reinvent politics in the city of Brussels. They were the folks behind the “municipalist” summit “Fearless Cities Brussels” which gathered locally engaged citizens  to discuss creative ways of managing the social challenges of the city.

The aim of the two day retreat was for the community to discover each others strengths and deepen their connections.

Continue reading “A two day retreat for WeBrussels”

Sketchnotes of KIKK Festival

Think outside the ordinary. You never know where you might go – Dominic Wilcox

I had a fantastic time at KIKK 2018 festival this year. This is the first time I randomly met soooo many awesome people and had some very interesting conversations. Here are some of my personal sketchnotes of a few of the talks I attended. My personal take away from all the talks was the importance of observing the mundane to discover deep meaning about ourselves and our surroundings. And oh… analog will never go out of fashion 🙂

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5 questions to ask when scripting your explainer video

With their short durations, straight-to-the-point message and engaging visuals, explainer videos are one of the most effective ways to attract your audience attention. Apart from boosting brand awareness, this compact marketing tool is fantastic at educating your audience about the how, what and why of your service/product.
Making sure we keep the video content digestible and not get carried away with the finer details can be a challenging task. This is why I came up with five questions to consider when drafting your script for an explainer video. By script, I mean the narration or voice-over of your video.

How good is your script at grabbing audience attention?

If you haven’t grabbed your audience’s attention within the first 10 seconds you’ve probably lost them before you even started. We’ve all seen those TV ads where the first opening sequence is so mysterious and strange that it keeps us guessing throughout. The big reveal comes at the end but usually leaves us disappointed. Viewers don’t want to wait until the end of your video for the punchline. The first opening sentence of your script is the most important part of the script. Get to the point. Write that hook.

Continue reading “5 questions to ask when scripting your explainer video”

Creating that sticky-note video

I created a hand-crafted explainer video out of sticky-notes. Let me explain.

I was approached by Lucas and Marie-Amelie who were on the organisation team for the upcoming Startup Weekend ‘Changemakers’ edition (2015). Apart from the need to develop visuals to promote the event, they also wanted to create a promotional video out of sticky-notes.

I’d like to walk you through my process:

  • script
  • storyboard
  • inspiration
  • set design
  • filming
  • editing

Before we dive into it, check out the end result below.

(Check out more of my hand-crafter videos here)

Continue reading “Creating that sticky-note video”

Making room for Conversation

Last week I received a request from someone wanting to connect on LinkedIn. His face didn’t look familiar. I accepted. Always happy to expand my online network.

I always send a welcome note.

“Hi there, thanks for connecting”.

“Would you be interested to work together?” he asks.

I check his profile again.
He’s based in South America working for an international organisation.

“Of-course!”

We schedule a Skype call.

Continue reading “Making room for Conversation”