PLAGIARISM FREE “A” WORK Read the assigned Price & Nelson (Chapter 4) in the e-book text (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the re

PLAGIARISM FREE “A” WORK Read the assigned Price & Nelson (Chapter 4) in the e-book text (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the reading, describing your thoughts and feelings about it. Along with a title page in APA format, write 2 pages of double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman text.

                                                               Reference:

Price, K. M., & Nelson, K. L. (2019). Planning effective instruction : diversity responsive methods and management. Cengage. 62

Chapter 4

Experience Architect

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never

go back to its original dimensions.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., former Associate Justice of
the U.S. Supreme Court

Always one to get sucked into the latest fitness craze, Alyssa
recently ventured into SoulCycle—an indoor cycling class that
incorporates both dance moves and arm weights while on a
bicycle. These classes are actually marketed as a dance party on
a bike. She had heard incredible hype about SoulCycle and was
now experiencing firsthand why. From the bright, welcoming
lobby smelling of grapefruit to the dark cycling room with loud
music, freshly cleaned bikes, and white towels draped across the
handlebars, it was apparent that every detail is carefully crafted.
The friendly instructors (all trained at “Soul University”) act as
both fitness coaches and motivational speakers, offering positive
reinforcement throughout the class. The walls are covered with

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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Experience Architect • 63

quotes such as, “We aspire to inspire” and “We inhale intention
and exhale expectations.” None of this is by accident; it is all
carefully designed to create an experience that makes people
feel good. People get hooked on SoulCycle’s unique combination
of positive reinforcement and endorphins so much that they are
willing to pay upwards of $40 per class. Alyssa wandered out
of a particularly intense class, a little in awe of the previous 45
minutes, and thought a lot about the curation of such an expe-
rience. She started thinking about all the opportunities we have
in schools to create learning experiences as impressive and
meaningful as what she had just had. She wondered what might
happen in schools if we were able to create highly curated and
beautifully designed experiences for students. For staff? How
might that change the learning that takes place?

An Experience Architect is “a person relentlessly focused on
creating remarkable experiences, a person who maps out how
to turn something ordinary into something distinctive—even
delightful—every chance they get” (Kelley, 2005). We believe
that being an Experience Architect is one of the key qualities of
any successful school leader. Think of all the experiences you
design every day for your teams, for your faculty and staff, for
parents, and for students. Each of these presents an opportu-
nity to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.
If it suddenly sounds daunting and exhausting that every staff
meeting or lesson needs to be a highly curated and beautifully
designed experience, well, you are right. That might not be pos-
sible—at least at first. But the more you see yourself in this role,
the more you will realize that being an Experience Architect is,
like many other elements of leadership, simply a set of behaviors
and mindsets that you can learn and practice.

In business, experience design is all about measuring the
value from the customers’ perspective and continually inves-
tigating new areas of value for them. In education, we have to
begin by more clearly defining our “customers,” or end users.

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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64 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

We believe our primary end users are our students. They should
always be first and foremost in our minds when designing expe-
riences, with secondary users being parents and possibly even
the broader community. As a principal, there is another group
of end users that are equally, if not more, important for you
to design for: your faculty and staff. They are the direct link to
improving student outcomes. As we work through strategies that
will increase your Experience Architect abilities, we are going
to share specific suggestions for your work as it relates to both
your teachers and students.

Building a Culture Through the
Lens of an Experience Architect
Reframing the school’s leadership roles can’t happen in isola-
tion. Everything we explore together will happen in the context
of your school with your staff, students, and community, so we
would be remiss if we didn’t help you set the stage for building a
culture for design-inspired leadership. Culture matters. It is not
one of those small things to be dealt with after the “real work”
is done. Creating the right culture is the real work. The first task
of an Experience Architect is to prepare an environment where
design-inspired leadership can flourish.

Let’s start with a quick assessment of your school culture.
Everyone who interacts with your school will likely have their
own unique set of words to describe it. Are you curious what the
most common descriptions include? You can create a baseline
for our later work with a few actions.

Ask the Question

What three words would you use to describe your school
environment? Ask everyone. Listen and collect responses, resist-
ing the urge to ask for clarification. There will be time to dive into
the why later. As a new principal, Kami was curious how the staff

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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Experience Architect • 65

would describe their school and found a way to casually work
the question into every conversation she had, making note of the
responses. At the same time, she was intrigued and perplexed by
some of the most common responses that were surfacing: tradi-
tion, events, expectations, and community. Were these the types
of words she had hoped she would hear? What could she learn
from these responses, and how could she use this information to
design the best possible learning environment for students? You
must be curious now, ready to discover how people describe
your environment. There are many ways to capture responses,
depending on the time you have to spend. Here are a few options
to consider, listed in order from what takes the least amount of
time to process to the most amount of time:

• Exit ticket at a staff meeting
• All staff members share three words on Twitter using a

specified hashtag

• Online survey (Google Forms or SurveyMonkey both offer
great free tools)

• One-on-one conversations

Kami chose a very informal approach since she was new and
didn’t want to stifle creativity. Regardless of the approach you
choose for adults, we encourage you to ask the same question
of students in the hallways, in the lunchroom, or on the play-
ground. While students are usually honest, they quickly learn the
benefits of telling adults what we want to hear, so don’t be afraid
to dig deeper.

Ask More Questions

What are you curious about? What do you find yourself won-
dering about with the new information you have gathered? Gen-
erate additional questions and resist the urge to answer them.
These may lead to further exploration. If you are unsure where
to start, here are a few questions to get you going:

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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66 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

• What aspect of your school could really use some creative
thinking?

• What would delight students? Teachers? Parents?
• What are the challenges in your context that don’t have

easy answers and might require the mindsets of a designer
to help you get unstuck?

Asking questions and learning to be an observer is an essential
part of Design Thinking. This baseline information will be helpful
as we explore new roles and play with “wicked problems” in edu-
cation throughout the book. Armed with new information about
your school, let’s dive a bit further into the school culture to
explore creativity and risk.

Creativity Versus Compliance

The culture of school is radically at odds with the culture of learning

necessary for innovation.

—Tony Wagner, professor, Harvard University

One of the most difficult challenges in education is our posture
toward the possible, which is directly tied to the type of culture
created. How would you assess the culture of your school or
district? Is it a culture of creativity or a culture of compliance?
Figure 4.1 highlights major differences between the two cultures.
One culture can feel innovative and welcoming; the other can
often stifle ideas and create a less agreeable work environment.
The way we lead determines whether our culture is creative or
merely compliant.

How does leadership at your school promote or discourage
creativity? This mindset begins with the leader and then can
permeate every level of an organization. An important job of
school leadership is to encourage and reward creative thinking
and collaboration, while also recognizing both formal and subtle
ways those things are discouraged.

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
Created from amridge on 2021-09-13 03:53:58.

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Experience Architect • 67

Figure 4.1

Culture of Compliance Versus Culture of Creativity

Culture of Compliance Culture of Creativity

• Risk is not tolerated

• Mandates are valued above all

• Fear is commonplace

• Top-down leadership

• Language implies singular
ownership (my class, my stu-
dents)

• Constraints are roadblocks

• Initiatives are implemented with
very little feedback

• Risk is encouraged as a natural
part of the learning process

• Creative solutions are valued

• Trust is integral to work and
learning

• Distributed leadership, where all
are empowered to act

• Language implies group owner-
ship (our school, our students)

• Constraints are seen as possi-
bilities

• Initiatives are quickly imple-
mented with small user groups,
lots of feedback gathered, with
iterations along the way

Peter Drucker, an author and business consultant, said,
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but we needn’t think of it
as choosing one over the other. Using design-inspired leadership
strategies can enhance the power of both culture and strategy,
connecting the two pieces into a cohesive whole. The good news
is that no matter where your school culture currently falls, it can
be shifted. One of the greatest tools to use in shifting a culture is
improvisation, or improv.

Improv helps build a creative culture and boosts everyone’s
creative confidence. We were introduced to the concept while
attending a workshop where our first icebreaker contained the
word “improv.” We both had nightmare visions of standing in
front of a room full of strangers and trying to be funny. It was a
paralyzing thought. Fortunately, the facilitator quickly launched

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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68 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

into an explanation of the activity, reducing the apparent anxiety
level of everyone in the room. We started with a simple game of
“Zip, Zap, Zop,” an infinite game that only required tuning in to
the group and playing at the speed of fun. It turns out that improv
practices have very little to do with being funny and more to do
with attitude.

Improv is the ability to say, “Yes, and . . . .” It is a tool that
allows for creativity beyond the normal. Think of it as a team
sport that requires connections to those around you. You must
be present and focused on the now to react to what is being
said. It encourages careful listening and acceptance of what is
being offered, without judgment. Embracing a designer mindset
requires a healthy dose of improv. Practicing the following tenets
of improv helps everyone on your team build skills for creative
problem solving:

• Suspend judgment. When you wait to analyze, you stay
present in the creative process, saving the evaluation
phase for later.

• Let go of your agenda. There is nothing to be accomplished.
Let yourself get caught up in the experience.

• Listen in order to receive. When you listen closely to others,
you can find moments where you can agree and support,
building on each other’s ideas, rather than evaluating and
finding the “yes, but . . . ” answers.

• Get out of your head and concentrate on the group. Make

everyone on the team look brilliant. If you focus outward,
you remove the focus from yourself, and the work is about
what you are creating together.

Try introducing an improv activity as an opener at your next
staff meeting. You may get some startled looks or interesting
comments, but with repetition, you’ll find that infusing that quick
and creative element of fun can create a culture that is ready for
change. Don’t let any first reactions deter you. Trust the process

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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Experience Architect • 69

and encourage your staff to take risks! Here are some great
first steps:

• At your next meeting, try a simple icebreaker that focuses
on “playing at the speed of fun.” An infinite game with no
winners works best. “Zip, Zap, Zop” is very easy; below are
directions on how to play from the DBI Network (http://
dbp.theatredance.utexas.edu/node/29), where you may
find even more infinite games to play. “Everyone stands in
a circle. Tell them you have a bolt of energy in your hands.
To start the game, send the bolt out of your hands with
a strong forward motion straight to someone else in the
circle (using your hands, body, eyes, and voice), saying,
“Zip.” Be sure you make eye contact with the person you
pass it to. They should receive it and pass it immediately
to someone else, saying, “Zap.” That person passes it on
with a “Zop.” The game continues, “Zip, Zap, Zop,” with the
goal being speed and fun. If there is a mistake, encourage
everyone to simply continue playing.

• Or try an activity that encourages people to open up to
more possibilities with a quick game of “yeah, but . . .” ver-
sus “yes, and . . . .” Partner people up and tell them they
will have two minutes to plan a party for their boss. Quickly
have them designate who will be Partner A and who will be
Partner B. Partner A will start by throwing out a party idea,
to which Partner B will respond, “Yeah, but . . . ” and give a
reason why this is a terrible idea. Have them continue this
for the full two minutes. Can you imagine any parties being
planned that way? I always ask if anyone has planned an
incredible party and the answer is a resounding and frus-
trating “no.” Have them try it again, but this time Partner
B is responsible for throwing out party ideas, and Partner
A will always respond with, “Yes, and . . . ,” building onto
the idea. It is amazing how creative and fun the parties get

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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http://dbp.theatredance.utexas.edu/node/29

http://dbp.theatredance.utexas.edu/node/29

70 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

when we build on each other’s ideas. This is a great way to
start building a “Yes, and . . . ” culture of possibility.

Improv allows your team to build something that is truly
shared. It requires multiple intelligences and allows for multiple
points of view. It improves dialogue and builds communication
skills. It is one of the best tools in the designer toolbox for build-
ing creative muscle and innovative solutions. A little improv can
go a long way to improving the culture of your school. Find more
improv resources and games at the Improv Encyclopedia online
(http://improvencyclopedia.org/games/).

Designing to the Edges

Fit creates opportunity.

—Todd Rose, author, The End of Average

In The End of Average, author Todd Rose tells a story about
fighter pilots and the need for a custom-designed cockpit
for fighter jets in the 1950s. The standard dimensions of the
1926-designed cockpit were no longer working due to an airplane
design change, and researchers at Wright Air Force Base in Ohio
began gathering data to see how the average measurements of a
pilot’s height, weight, and body length may have changed. After
calculating the averages of the 10 physical dimensions that were
most relevant, they wondered how many pilots would actually fit
this “average” profile. What they discovered? Zero. Not a single
one fit within the average range of all 10 dimensions. Todd Rose
goes on to explain how the Air Force made a bold statement:
“Ban the average, design to the edges.”

What might it look like to “ban the average, design to the
edges” in education? Almost everything we use in education
has been designed for the average student, and many of our
workplace procedures have been standardized with the average

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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http://improvencyclopedia.org/games/

http://improvencyclopedia.org/games/

Experience Architect • 71

teacher in mind. Staff meetings have similar agendas. We roll out
initiatives through standard professional development practices
accompanied by the required binder, and we talk about our aver-
age data numbers. The problem is that there is no such thing as
an average student or average teacher. Everyone has a unique,
or jagged, learning profile. What if, instead of starting with the
average profile, we started with these jagged learning profiles?
What might happen if we looked at our staff and our school and
saw individuality? Without a doubt, there is untapped potential
walking around your campus and sitting in your staff room. But
how do you tap into it? We believe the solution lies not in design-
ing solutions for the average, but in designing to the edges. Let’s
explore in a bit more depth what that means.

Find Your (Extreme) Users

As we have already explored together, the first step to any
design exercise must start with a greater understanding of those
we are designing for. We can usually identify the middle of the
bell curve fairly easily. These are our “average” users and the
users we spend most of the time designing around. Yet it’s the
extreme users on either end that we need to focus on if we want
to have a greater impact. Extreme users typically have needs that
are magnified in some way—which means they have probably
also created workaround solutions that are more noteworthy.
By meeting the needs of an extreme user, you create solutions
that address a much wider population, solving problems that
may not have been visible while the spotlight was focused on the
“average” user.

The OXO peeler is a perfect example of what can happen when
you design for an extreme user. In 1989, Sam Farber had an aha
moment when watching his wife, Betsey, struggle with a common
vegetable peeler due to arthritis. He set out to solve the problem
for Betsey by creating a vegetable peeler with a fatter handle that
was more comfortable to use, inadvertently creating kitchen tools

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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72 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

that were easier for everyone to use (Smart Design, n.d.). Looking
at education, our extreme users may be families that choose to
homeschool, families that need before- and after-school care, or
families that need flexibility due to special circumstances, such as
young elite athletes or students needing home hospital support.
Who are your extreme users, and what are their unique needs?

Engage Your Extreme Users

Once you have identified your extreme users, try finding
ways to engage with them around the problem you are attempt-
ing to solve. Let’s pretend you have taken on the task of redesign-
ing student lunch procedures. As a part of this design challenge,
you might consider the following:

• How long do students wait in line to purchase their lunch?
• How quickly is food served?
• How many students order school lunch?
• What days are busiest?

Your first inclination might be to only talk to the students who
order the hot lunch program, when in fact you may learn more
from students who have never ordered hot lunch (why not?) or
from those who order hot lunch every single day and are first
in line (why?). Then, observe and talk to your extreme users,
looking for workarounds or behaviors that uncover insights or
inspire thinking. Sometimes these extreme users can inspire wild
ideas that help you understand what might resonate not just
with them, but with your average users as well.

Narrow Your Focus

Often, when we look at our challenges, we engage with a
very long list of reasons something may not be working. Start
by creating a list of all the different pieces needed to solve the
problem. Going back to our lunch example, create a list of all the
lunch procedures.

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
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Experience Architect • 73

• How is the food organized for students to pick up?
• How many steps do students go through in the process?
• Where is the line physically situated in the room?
• How many points of contact are there between staff

and students?

• Where is the greatest pain point?
• Which solution is most important to start with?

Once you have identified your starting point, you can gather
information around that specific need from all your users. You
have a focus. Your solution may also end up addressing some of
the other needs that you’ve identified. Regardless, you’ve started
a path toward creating a new experience.

Truly understanding and knowing the needs of all your users
will help you create and design unique experiences that fit your
school and community. Remember the empathy map and needs
statement from Chapter 2? Why not create an empathy map for
each of your extreme users? What if we could redesign parts of
our schools or jobs to fit the individual? Not only might we utilize
undiscovered talents, but we would also encourage and value
individual excellence.

Eric Juli, principal of Design Lab Early College High School,
an inner-city public school in Cleveland, Ohio, has had to create
experiences for a group of extreme users, namely students who
attend high school but have never once experienced success at
school. Recognizing that students needed to experience success-
ful learning, Eric designed X-Block, a weekly three-hour block
with no regular classes, worksheets, tests, or contrived school
assignments. Students are engaged every week with community
partners of their choice, doing real work. They are learning by
doing. They are using found objects to create art to cover the
walls of a fairly drab school building. They are programming
drones, cooking healthy food options, and discovering a love of
yoga. Students are repairing bicycles and working to improve the
neighborhood, but mostly, through these experiences, they are

Gallagher, Alyssa, and Kami Thordarson. Design Thinking for School Leaders : Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive
Change, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5437456.
Created from amridge on 2021-09-13 03:53:58.

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74 • Design Thinking for School Leaders

discovering their voices and learning how to be successful. Some
students who hated school and never spoke are completely
engaged in their X-Block. Other students, who expect school to
be about worksheets and tests, are telling their principal that he
is “doing school wrong.” It is beautiful and scary all at the same
time. School has been set up to be about power and control,
textbooks, and rote memorization. When teachers experience
how much more powerful it is to work side-by-side with students
on real work that matters, it’s terrifying for everyone involved.
According to Eric, X-Block is the best new piece of their school,
even if it …

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