The Lost Art of Conversation


A Sprint is a dynamic, energetic process. It's 5 days long and it's very productive but there's a reason they call it a's intense. By the end of the week you feel pretty rung out – of ideas and of energy.

So for most ELAWR Sprint attendees by Friday afternoon we are eager to wrap it up and head home. On the last day of our last Sprint a rapidly developing snow storm (observed by the diminishing view from the tenth floor windows) should have left us chomping at the bit to be released, but a scheduled late afternoon conference call kept us all in our seats!



6 ELAWR members, 2 Overlappers,                & 1 cel phone (for an ELAWR team member    who couldn't be there in person due to the storm) gathered around a conference call    unit centered in the middle of the table            in a hot, post-it note filled room.

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The opportunity to have a personal audience with child psychiatrist and children's advocate Dr. Jean Clinton to share ELAWR's work, including our Prescription for Literacy Project, and ask for her input was one we couldn't pass up, tired or not, snow storm or not. Dr. Clinton agreed to speak to us from her home in Hamilton because she believes passionately in the foundational importance of early literacy.

Our call began with Jean making connections for us to some of the other early literacy programs she believes have wisdom to share – the Canadian Pediatric Societies 'Read Speak Sing' campaign, the US based 'Reach Out & Read', and more locally Hamilton's 'Read to Your Baby' and Niagara Region's 'Primary Care Book Club' (I have subsequently set up meetings with both). She highlighted the fact that there are good evidenced based programs already functioning and we should be careful not to 'reinvent the wheel' believing that there are elements and aspects of all of them that we could co-opt for Waterloo. Then she pointed out potential pitfalls, for example although the CPS product is great, without sustained funding it has not had the impact they had hoped for. She agreed that 96% of all kids get their care through Family Doctors and so they must be a component of our project but that saturating the larger health community (speech & language, prenatal services, midwifery, etc) with our messages could be the key and our differentiator.

She recommended that we find a 'lever' for Family Doctors. Their focus is always to improve their patients outcomes and if we can connect to that then they will let us in. Dr. Clinton believes that messages like 'when you encourage a parent to read just once a week with their infant it can neutralize the effects of poverty' will have impact.  In her words, 'that's pretty fricken powerful stuff!'

Dr. Clinton addressed some of the lessons she has learned in working with the Ontario Governments 18 Month Well Baby visit initiative. The initiative found that 'just in time learning' was the key to successful messaging for Docs. To be specific 'find a place where they collect and get in front of them' while providing the resources to make the task straightforward, easy and perhaps one that they could assign to support staff in their practice rather than take on themselves.


We then gave Dr. Clinton a brief overview of the ideas behind our developing work on 'Convening Spaces'. Her response was very enthusiastic, “sounds fantastic” & “love the interactivity”.  She felt the idea 'thought outside the box' in concept and content. She elaborated “we all know we don't have to convince the usual suspects of the importance of early literacy but rather those outside our regular circle”.  Dr. Clinton believes that we all have a role to play in moving the needle on early literacy and we need to reach out and start a dialogue outside of our comfort zone so that others are inspired to join this movement for change because everyone has a part to play. She added that she believes our concept/idea addresses an issue that others have missed.

Dr. Clinton concluded our conversation with advice that we keep heart, mind & hands at the forefront of our initiatives. At the end of day we need to 'move them emotionally, intellectually and physically'. Everyone should leave the event inspired with what they are going to do now that they know. Dr. Clinton herself was so inspired by ELAWR and our developing projects that she has offered to become involved and participate in our upcoming events.

True to form Jean left us with the challenge of creating a collaborative initiative within a much larger early literacy inspired movement that asks and answers questions we should all ask ourselves:


   "Why do I belong in this?"             &                    "How can                 I help?"







Sprint 4

Mohawk Elder Tom Porter once told me that for true change to occur you must consider not just today, the immediate future, or your own future, but the future of the generations that will follow you. During Sprint 4 Overlap guided ELAWR members through a process that did just that.

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The Early Literacy Alliance of Waterloo Region (ELAWR) is working to improve early childhood literacy to help children reach their full potential. They want to build a literacy movement that is responsive and resilient to future change. The challenge is looking beyond today to imagine the factors that will affect literacy in the future.

To tackle this challenge ELAWR and Overlap used a process called Foresight. Foresight helps organizations imagine and then plan for possible futures. In an intensive, 5-day working period called a ‘Sprint’, we focused on examining the future of early literacy and learning in 2040.

ELAWR members started the sprint by crawling the web and identifying 100 ‘Signals’. Signals are things happening now that you could consider ‘weird’, or ‘out there’. This includes developments in technology and examples of people behaving outside the norm. We grouped these signals into 18 trends that indicate how things might be different in the future.

We invited experts and community stakeholders to give feedback on the trends and validate the work so far. They helped us to identify and prioritize a few Drivers – underlying forces that are causing multiple trends. Each Driver points to a major shift that could result in systemic change and significantly shape the future.

From this collection of ideas, the team developed four stories of the future that explored possibilities for literacy. Through the exercise of creating stories, EELAWR realized the importance of the intersection of technology and early learning. They began considering how they might partner with the technology sector in the evolution of ELAWR’s programs and services.

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Mapping these four worlds helped us consider the impact of change on people, organizations, and communities. The results of this work was to highlight a way for ELAWR to navigate their own time of change.

This Foresight sprint set ELAWR up to make informed choices in their next step: redefining the structure of ELAWR to increase sustainability and impact.


To see a copy of the 34 page ELAWR Foresight Report or the ELAWR Foresight Implications Report please send a request via email to Kathilee Porter at


Hello my name is...

It’s been a while since we’ve posted here. That’s because there has been significant change within the ELAWR organization, one of which is me! My name is Kathilee Porter and I am the new Project Coordinator for ELAWR’s Prescription for Literacy project. So first let me introduce myself.

I was lucky enough to move into the Waterloo Region, Cambridge to be exact (Preston to sound like a local), four years ago. I am the proud Mom of a 15 year old daughter, stepmom of two now adult men and Gram to an 18 month old delight of a granddaughter. Children, health care, literacy and learning have been at the heart of both my passions and my career throughout my life.

I am a professional communicator, a creator and an organizer with decades of experience producing television shows, print and various media resources. My specialty has always been children and health – from the head of TVO’s preschool block ‘Gisele’s Big Backyard’, to producing for ‘The Medicine File’ for CBC. About 10 years ago I left traditional media to use my skills to help those who were improving the lives of children and youth – non-profits, individuals, agencies, educators, health care providers to name a few. I also teach part time in the media studies department at Humber College.

You can tell I like my job!

You can tell I like my job!

The opportunity to contribute to the work that this Alliance is doing is a chance I could not resist. It’s an added bonus to have entered at a time of organizational and sectoral change. Helping organizations navigate change and communicate it to the world is especially satisfying for me and I think I can add real value to the process.

So - hold onto your hats - there are changes afoot. They are exciting and dynamic and like all change, at times bit overwhelming and worrisome, but this work will ultimately lead to greater value and focus on early literacy in our community which will help ELAWR and its membership reach maximum potential.

So now that you know a bit about me, let’s take a moment to review the first three Sprints.

Below you’ll find a summary of the Sprint process that we have been engaged in with Overlap. If you would like to receive a copy of the document for a closer look please send me an email at the address below and I will forward you the .pdf. 

My next post will review Sprint 4 which happened earlier this fall. 

I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you over the past couple of weeks and I’m hoping to meet all of you over the coming months. In the interim if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at


Sprint 3 - Summary

We finished up Sprint 3 this past week, which means we are half-way through the sprint phase of the project! Time is flying, and so are the ideas for improving early literacy development in Waterloo Region. This blog post will give a recap of the last Sprint, as well as outline some of the things we will be working on over the summer to get ready for our Sprint 4 in September.

This Sprint week had a different structure than what we normally were used to.  Instead of having the traditional Monday-Friday set-up, we decided to change this Sprint up slightly to accommodate more people’s schedules. Overlap designed this week by lumping Monday and Tuesday together to form a “Brand Lab” to work on the brand of this project. Wednesday and Thursday were designed to review the work we have done to date and go over the future direction of the project.

MONDAY: Brand Lab Part 1

The objectives of Monday were:

·       To gain understanding of what goes into a successful brand and campaign

·       To unpack and understand elements of the early literacy message

·       To formulate ideas for the ELAWR early literacy brand campaign

We met at the Central Public Library in Kitchener on Monday, June 19 for the first day of our Brand Lab. To start off the day, we had Lesley, the Graphic Designer at Overlap, give us a presentation on what makes an effective brand and logo.

Some of the Coles Notes from the presentation are included here:

·       What is a Brand? An essential way to differentiate yourself from your competitor

·       What is a logo?  A central visual element, in the form of an icon

o   Keep it simple, memorable, people should be able to draw your logo without seeing it

o   Timeless

o   Versatile

o   Appropriate

·       How do you build a brand? – 4 Steps

1)      Research and vision

2)      Name/logo/identity

3)      Create guidelines – document that outlines what fonts to use, keep pieces you create consistent

4)      Monitor and care


o   5 tips on branding

1)      Be honest

2)      Keep it simple – focus on core vision and values

3)      Involve the team

4)      Be consistent – provide same brand experience

5)      Live it – meet and exceed your brand promises

We went from the presentation to an activity which made us think about the brands we love, and why they stick. For this activity, we started solo and came together to take up our ideas.

Some of the themes that came up for good branding were:

o   Make it sound visually appealing but also musically aesthetic

o   Relationships and quality

o   Media is digested in completely different ways – a lot of people don’t have cable any more

We then started to think of words or phrases that came to mind when we thought about how to visualize our project. Some examples were:

·       Talk, love, potential, trust

·       Confidence

·       “you’ve got this”

·       Accessible

·       Part of everything you do

·       Naturalistic

·       Possibilities

·       Development

·       Growth

Keeping these words in mind, we split into groups and started to come up with catchy phrases that could be used as our tag line or brand for the project. Here were some examples:

·       Routine, habit, easy

·       Face to face – the serve and return – talking about cues, imitation, child’s story, starts from beginning together

·       It’s beyond literacy

·       Future – opportunity

·       Parent professional together

·       The only way to check

·       FACE TO FACE seemed to be a popular saying during the morning

After lunch, the goal was to come up with a set – 3 to 4 concepts for what the brand might be for our project

Some of the project team split up and did some research on “Skin to Skin” – what is it about this that made it memorable and started a movement? What was found was that it came from kangaroo mother care and was supported by BFI (Baby Friendly Initiative)– accreditation hospitals and public health units in Ontario.

We then further refined our branding by thinking more about descriptive words. We had a discussion about how to make literacy as simple as possible – it was decided that  the word that is most simple would be TALK

We used a dotting system to vote for our favourite ideas and came up with the top 3 names:

1)      Face To Face

2)      Talk With Me

3)      You’ve Got This

TUESDAY: Brand Lab Part 2


·       Step into the shoes of the audiences we’re hoping to cater these campaigns to

·       Gain a baseline understanding of various media channels and their key demographics

·       Develop and refine campaign elements that are well-suited to the audiences we identify

To start off Tuesday, we went back over our top 3 choices of brand names from Monday. We posed these to the group, since there were new faces in the room. We wanted to see if they still felt like these were the three choices to work with today. After some review, it was decided that yes, these three were the brand names that we were going to work with today.

1)      Face to Face

2)      Talk With Me

3)      You’ve Got This (changed to Tic Talk)

It was discussed that you’ve got this, may not be a great name for our campaign but is definitely included as a supportive message within a specific campaign. With this in mind, we brought back a popular brand name from Monday that had a great “sticky” quality to it; Tic Talk

We broke in groups and worked on developing personas for the people we want our message to reach. To do this, we identified a primary persona and a secondary persona. The primary persona would be the first and foremost person we thought our brand would be targeted to. The secondary persona would be a person who might also have contact with our brand and could have an influential role in it’s popularity. For example, my group chose a married mother with two children as a primary persona and a family physician as a secondary persona.

To develop our personas, we used a work sheet from Overlap, and to make this as real as possible, we actually printed off pictures of real people to put next to our personas when presenting to the group. This helped visualize who exactly we were trying to portray.

After lunch, we came back into our groups and wanted to further explore our brands and campaigns. To do this, we were introduced to the website Canva ( This website allows visitors to create an account for free, and play around with a variety of marketing campaign tools. Everything from social media posts, to poster templates - this website was a great way for us to start to visualize our campaigns.

We spent about an hour and a half in our groups working on our campaigns. Our group decided to make a few posters that could either be used in social media posts (possibly targeted to our primary persona) or used as print out posters (possibly targeted to our secondary persona). After a while of having some fun playing around on this website, we actually had some posters that we thought we could use. Check out our examples below: (note- my group was working with the brand name “Tic Talk’)

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At the end of the day we came back together and reviewed everyone’s work. While we did not make a formal decision on a brand or tagline for our project, we all agreed that “Face-to-Face” had a real “stickiness” to it. Going forward, we will definitely be keeping this one in mind for our potential brand and marketing.

WEDNESDAY: Review of Project Work and Agile Wall


·       Learn about agile project management

·       Take stock of where we are now and where we’d like to be

·       Plan next steps and action items for the project

We started Wednesday by having an unfacilitated discussion about needing to connect with other projects that are going forward already. We know that there are a number of projects that have a literacy component that are currently working in parallel with our project, but we thought it would be great if we could come together for a larger collective impact. This was a very important discussion and it informed the future direction of the project.

Chelsea then gave us a brief Overview of Agile – the Project Management tool that Overlap uses. Here are some brief notes on Agile:

·       Came out of software development

·       How? – collaborative way of planning and doing the work, Why? – Traditional project management wasn’t working, this now focuses on goal and project objectives

·       Sprints come out of agile

o   The idea is just that you work focused on one thing on a specific period of time, you get to something tangible at the end of that sprint

·       It involves constant retrospectives – closing each week with summaries, feedbacks, strategies, results

o   On a day, on a week, on a whole project – can be done at any point and all are beneficial

·       Fundamental values – experiment and learn rapidly, make safety a prerequisite, make people better, experiment and learn rapidly

·       The Wall – has a queue, Ready, W.I.P (work in progress), Done (see image below for an example)

o   This makes your project visual

o   Gives your project a “home”

We then started working on our project wall, keeping in mind all of the things we have done to-date. From there, we had a conversation about which are priorities right now; others will be shelved in the agile project home. We also decided that there are some things we have to consider as “lenses” through various streams of the project.

Decided on three streams for focusing on today:

1)      Connecting to other projects and groups

2)      Brand and messaging – parents, HCPS

3)      Community Open House – engaging with more parents

We started to focus on the first one – Connecting to other projects and groups

·       Came up with goals for this and why we would want to do it

·       Identified what we thought “done” looked like for this

·       Identified the very end and the steps to get there

·       It was decided that a major next step in our project will be planning that facilitated meeting.

After lunch, we continued working on our agile wall. The next three areas of focus were: Engaging Parents, Doctor Engagement and Brand and Messaging. For each of these topic areas, we identified the following:

1)      Goals

2)      What does Done look like?

3)      Outputs

4)      Tasks

After a solid 2 hours of work, we had finished our agile wall (see image below). We all had a clear image on what our tasks were over the summer. We also had a discussion about how we would check in on this agile wall, and we decided it would be best to have regular bi-weekly phone calls between the project coordinator and Overlap to ensure that tasks were being completed. Chelsea also has digitized the project wall so that it will be easy to work with from distance.

This is just a snapshot of what the wall looked like on Wednesday. It is now digital for the project team and Overlap to use.

This is just a snapshot of what the wall looked like on Wednesday. It is now digital for the project team and Overlap to use.

Thursday and Friday of this Sprint were not completed in the regular fashion due to limited availability of the project team. To adapt to this situation, we held a shortened meeting on the following Tuesday to discuss the facilitated meeting that is needed between all of the literacy projects in that are currently happening in Waterloo Region.

TUESDAY June 27, 2017 (Make-Up Day for Thursday/Friday of Sprint 3):


·       Define what the Community Open House will achieve and decide on a format that matches those goals

·       Begin initial planning of the Community Open House

We started by writing on sticky notes what we wanted to achieve after this facilitated meeting was held. We framed these ideas as outputs after the meeting and feelings we wanted to generate during the meeting. Here are some examples that came up:


·       Shared messaging

·       Shared goal

·       Unified approach to certain audiences

·       Collaborate on the message and means of communicating

·       Maximize use of media – TV, Print, Events

·       Shared Resources

·       Share subject matter expertise

·       Advocate to ensure that literacy messaging is imbedded across the community

·       Raise the profile of ELAWR (hopefully viewed as the experts on early literacy)


·       Feeling a sense of togetherness

·       Create a sense of team, not competition

·       People feel open and willing to share

·       People feel a sense of thankfulness for ELAWR for bringing everyone together

·       Feeling a sense of collective impact and greater impact

·       Feeling a part of the movement

·       Feeling like we are authentic

·       We would want to learn certain things from this meeting – prototype?

o   Do we all align? Who does align? How do we help them?

o   We are all working together – could this be a broader group

Moving Forward

Troy is creating a shared document outlining who has been invited, if they are interested, and when they are available. Once all have been contacted, a formal doodle poll will be circulated (with dates in September). Two individuals from each project would be invited and Overlap would facilitate this meeting.

During the Summer, we will continue to collect feedback from health care providers to help inform our project going forward.

That was the end of our Sprint 3 – we now have a few potential brand names to work with, a project management wall outlining our tasks for the summer, and we have started to bring together a group of people who could have a greater collective impact. I’m excited to see how the Summer goes!

Thanks for reading,


Sprint 2 Summary

Sprint 2 is now in the books. We are officially 1/3 of the way through our Sprint weeks, and I feel like we have accomplished a lot so far.

The focus of this Sprint was literacy in the health care field. This was a topic that was very much desired to be explored by the Project Team, as it is essentially what our project proposal is based around. That being said, the Design Thinking process allows you to take a “quick step back” before diving too far into something that may not prove beneficial for your project outcome. Hence why we did not end up focusing on the health care field during our first sprint. We ended up with the “brain box” idea; where would we end up at the end of this week?

Monday: Explore

The objectives for Monday’s “Explore” day were:

1)    To iteratively map the health care services space; deepening our understanding as we go.

2)    To explore external forces that may influence the map.

We started this process by completing a “Service Blueprint” for our main actor, in this case, an expectant parent. This essentially was the mapping of the expectant parent’s actions and where they interact with the health care sector. What we found was that there were many possible interactions with various health care providers, such as Family Doctors, Midwives, Nurses, School Nurses, Naturopaths, and many more.

We then identified the physical evidence that is collected throughout their journey (Feeding records, immunization schedule, etc.)  From there, we looked at how success is measured throughout their journey. What we found was that often success for an expectant parent is defined as "reassurance" or "information gained". We started to also identify supporting processes that are occurring behind the scenes. For example, if an expectant mother goes for an ultrasound, there are various processes happening behind the scenes that the parents don’t necessarily see, such as the lab technician reviewing the results. To further empathize, we identified the emotional state of the mother at various points of her pregnancy and after the baby is born (worried, happy, scared, overwhelmed, etc.) You can see the final product of the service blueprint below:

What we learned on Monday was that there are many opportunities for health care providers to communicate the importance of early literacy, but we had a lot of work to do in order to identify the appropriate time and channel along this map.

Tuesday: Define

The objectives for Tuesday were to:

1)    To understand the experiences of HCPs and parents during the interactions we identified in our service blueprint

2)    To identify opportunities to leverage HCPs in spreading the TWRPS message

To start off Tuesday, we had a discussion about where we wanted to focus our efforts. Basically, what actors did we want to further understand. This led to a discussion around midwives – they may have more time, which could result in a better fit for our messaging.

Next question – which experiences dis we want to dig into with empathy maps? To decide this, we had a public vote using dots.

Top votes were given for pre-conception, the time surrounding the 20-week ultrasound, and a time following birth (around 4-6 weeks post birth). We then split up and did empathy maps for the midwife in the post-ultrasound appointment, doctor, and parent. From there, desired outcomes, obstacles, and outstanding questions were posted under each empathy map. This was the starting point for our “How Might We” questions.


Wednesday: Ideate

The objectives of Wednesday’s “Ideate” day were:

1)    To generate lots of ideas in response to the HMW questions identified during Tuesday’s session.

2)    To narrow in on ideas for prototyping

To start the day, we had a dot vote on the final HMW questions that we wanted to focus on. The vote resulted in: HMW…Communicate the value of TWRPS to physicians and give them a simple, quick, easy way so that they will act on that knowledge at their practice with pregnant women and new parents?

We then started coming up with ideas for this HMW question. We spent an hour generating ideas on our own and then we put the ideas on the white board. When we came back from lunch, we grouped and clustered the ideas.

After grouping the ideas, we looked at each of them and decided if they were something we could focus on now or later and what would have high impact

We developed a lot of questions and gained clarity on health care providers. We knew that we needed to start an engagement plan for HCPs, and we needed to create a messaging piece to gain HCP’s buy-in.

This led us to our plan for the rest of the Sprint – we were going to work on the messaging piece to increase HCP buy-in, an engagement plan including an interview script with the questions we need answered, and a possible hand-out or informative piece for parents when they visit their HCP.


Thursday – Prototype

The objectives of Thursday’s “Prototype” day were:

1)    To build prototypes that will help us seek feedback.

2)    To clearly understand what we want to learn from HCPs

3)    To start a plan to engage with HCPs

Because we did so much great work on Wednesday, Thursday morning we were pretty much ready to start the grunt work. We broke off into teams and worked on a few different tasks:

1)    Review existing materials, pull relevant pieces out

2)    Research what is sent to HCPs right now

3)    Develop interview questions for DRs

4)    Iterate on existing materials with focus on messaging for HCP audience

5)    Research local “Literacy Champions” in the health care field

This was an enjoyable day filled with hard, but insightful work. At the end of the day, we had a plan for where we were heading over the next few weeks. It was interesting to compare this Sprint with Sprint 1, where we came up with the “Brain Box” idea. Although we didn’t have something tangible that was going to be tested on Friday, we knew that we had done exactly what we needed to do before testing with a product takes place, which is design a plan to start to learn more about how HCPs receive and promote health information within their respective practice.

Friday: Testing (in this case, further work and research)

Friday came and the tasks were:

1)    Finalize interview script for Doctor’s

2)    Finalize interview script for related projects

3)    Devise a plan for engaging ELAWR members and asking them for their HCP connections

4)    Devise HCP engagement plan for the next few weeks

5)    Finalize prototype of TWRPS handout for Doctors offices

We spent the greater part of the morning working on these tasks. Because we have a few weeks in between Sprints, this is a perfect time in the project to devise and implement the engagement plan.

Next Steps

Over the next few weeks, the project team will be reaching out to the local health care community to learn more about how they receive and process information. We have devised an interview script that will allow us to gain valuable insight into their practice. This information will then lead us to the appropriate avenue for early literacy promotion within the health care setting.

We are asking ELAWR members, and any other blog readers who wish to participate, to think about any contacts within the health care field (this could be your family doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife, medical receptionist, etc.) who would be interested in participating in the interview process, and provide their contact information to

Stay tuned to see where we land for Sprint 3. Thanks for reading!




Design Sprint 1 - Thursday, Friday Recap

And that's a wrap on our first Design Sprint Week! It involved a lot of hard work from our project team and the Overlap staff, and I just wanted to start by saying a big thanks to everyone who contributed in any way over the course of the week.

This Blog will highlight key points from Thursday and Friday of last week and our future direction for our next Design Sprint Week.


Thursday was arguably the toughest, but most rewarding day of the Design Sprint (in my opinion). This was the day that we transferred one of our ideas from paper format to something tangible that could be tested. We had two new Overlappers join us - Lesley and Brooke - to help us with the vision of the idea.

To start this process, we used a storyboard to take a closer look at our actors and their journey towards our end goal. The idea we landed on was titled "The Brain Box". Basically, it was a box that would be given or delivered to new parents or newly pregnant mothers at some point during their parenthood. The box would contain useful items such as diapers, cloths, and blankets with important Early Literacy messaging branded within. The box was developed from the perspective of the child, so when a parent opened the box, there were messages written such as “Play with me”, “Read with me”, “Sing with me” etc. 


The team then divided and worked on developing the “Brain Box”. Some of us went out shopping for testing items, others worked on our key messaging and developed questions to use while testing the product. All of this was done in about 2 hours, and by the end of the day, we had something that we could test. We lined up some contacts and we were ready to receive some feedback from our end users.



On Friday morning, 2 members of the project team and 2 Overlappers headed to Our Place, Kitchener Family Resource and Early Years Centre. We visited two programs that were occurring that morning. We were able to test our product with two groups of mothers with children between the ages of 3 and 12 months. We received a ton of valuable feedback on our "Brain Box" that we then brought back with us to the Overlap Office in the afternoon.

We had two individual mothers come in to Overlap for more of a one-on-one interview. This allowed us to gain some more feedback through a different interview set-up. One of these individuals was pregnant as well, so we heard a perspective that we didn't have that morning.

In the afternoon, we reconvened as a project team to review our feedback. The Overlap team had us group our responses in a feedback grid, which has 4 quadrants - 1) Like, 2) Improve, 3) Questions, 4) New Ideas. This was eye-opening to us as a project team. The "Brain Box" idea was definitely something that we all had a vested interest in the day before, but definitely had a lot of flaws that we weren’t aware of until it was tested with the actual people who would be using it.


The Project Team must now decide where we are going to focus our efforts for the next Design Sprint Week (May 15-19, 2017). Our options are:

A. Explore Healthcare - Break out specific health care roles to find our appropriate channel of focus

B. Social Media and Branding - Explore App Opportunities

C. Evolving and refining our current prototype - Further testing the "Brain Box" idea

D. Zooming back out - Going back to some of the other ideas that were generated during the Ideation day last week to further explore these opportunities

After this is decided, we will focus our efforts on contacting those who should be involved in the next Sprint.

I invite all of those who have any questions about our project or our first Design Sprint week experience to comment on the blog or send me an email,

Here are some pictures that were captured throughout the week:

Until next time, thanks for reading!


Design Sprint 1 - Wednesday (Ideation Day)

Hey Everyone,

Here's my quick synopsis of what our Ideation day involved. You can also see some visuals of the day below the video. Stay tuned!

Here's a picture of what our first list of ideas looked like on the wall. There were a lot of great ideas generated!

And then the great minds in the room helped organize this list so that we could see some similarities:

From there, we were able to break off and start to sketch out what some of these ideas would look like. After about an hour, we came back and posted our sketches in a separate room so that we could have an "exhibit" of all of our ideas.

As a group, we then decided to discuss as a group which ideas will be tested in this sprint and which ideas will be focused on in future sprints (we have 6 in total). We decided that anything related to an App will be focused on in future sprints, as there are some other projects working on parenting Apps right now that we may be able to collaborate with in the future. 

Design Sprint 1 - Tuesday (Problem Definition Continued)

Hey again, below you will find a quick recap video on Tuesday's Design Sprint Day. The goal of this day was to continue to map out our problem and to look closer into our actors or key people and groups at the center of our problem.

Our question that we need to answer going into Wednesday's Ideation Session is: How might we spread the TWRPS (Talking, Writing, Reading, Playing Singing) message and brand to create universal awareness and a culture shift? 

Here is a picture of what our Impact/Effort Matrix looked like