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Experiments never quite go to plan… #ADA

ADA Fellow, Ros Croker, has been developing experiments for her colleagues within her organisation in order to explore language and identity.

My first experiment with my team was aimed at thinking about the words we use to describe what we do with our audiences, and how we want to define these words, within our museum context going forward.  With a close team we had a safe space to talk about different terminology, relating this to both our personal and professional lives.  Discussions led to an unpicking of how we use language and identity and create activities that could be transferred to a wider team, where there perhaps might be less openness and more wariness about relating the personal to the professional.  The team were brilliant in being clear about what they were interested in reflecting on and where they could see possible hesitancy from the wider team if we were to repeat the activities.

During this time I took part in one of the Action Learning Sets and heard about a different approach that was proving to be successful in another organisation.  It communicated the activities as personal reflections with a view to understanding audiences, which also indirectly encouraged thought about their own identity without any call to share these reflections.  By removing the emphasis on the personal, participants had felt freer to share their reactions and thoughts – thinking about how similar or different their personal values were and therefore how that might translate to audiences as well.

Bringing both of these learnings together I’ve started to plot out softer activities that are more generous to participants, rather than asking them directly to think about identity and the workplace.