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I wanted to get one more post in before I sign off and hand this over for a while. I’m heading into my maternity leave a little ahead of schedule and wish I had more time to spend on The Stories of Us and getting the team set up but alas my body and baby need me to relax.

I’m not the kind of person who takes the idea of being idle well so I’m easing into it. It really helps to know that the team have things under control and that I’ll be coming back to a new phase of this work. The uncertainty is exciting as is the new partnerships that will be created and the lessons learned as the time passes.

As a team, we’re slowly figuring out a groove and I feel like I’m stepping out just as things are starting to fit together.

In the past couple of weeks, we were able to have a Team meeting to establish some process and patterns for doing administration, developmental evaluation, reporting and expenses. We also talked about our approach to learning about what partners and stakeholders need from us and how to best utilize the resources we have for the greatest amount of impact.

I’m excited to have gotten to create a plan for developmental evaluation into this project framework. We are being asked to do quarterly learning reports as a part of our accountability measures and we’re using developmental evaluation frameworks to make sure we are collecting data in an ongoing and real-time approach so we can reflect often. This should make reporting easier.

I created 3 customized templates to help streamline the process. Starting with a baseline that helps us capture our intended goals and purpose, our planned outcomes and the activities we will do to get us there. This is our preliminary thinking and what got us funded, but as we know with every good design project we could be wrong. So we also have project check-in templates to document regular and notable events throughout the project. For this project, we will be collecting a minimum of bi-weekly data on our progress. Then every quarter, we will be using a sensemaking template to analyze data and to make note of shifts or changes we think are needed.

I’m looking forward to coming back to a whole bunch of data. I’m a nerd that way ;)

One last process I started before heading off for mat leave was to revisit our implementation plan. What exactly do we want to do as we collect stories? How will we make sure the process is smooth? What do we need to do to make sure we are communicating to the community and staying on top of our commitments?

This really helped us nail down some key tasks and next steps.

Speaking of which, Blair is going to be taking over the #thisisimaginationatwork blog for the next while. I have faith that the team will keep up with the transparency of our work and any hiccups that might emerge. I know they have a busy few months ahead of them. I wish I could be more on the ground for this time, but I’m already so proud of what we have achieved so far.

Until then, I’m signing off and I’ll be back in January.


Blair here! I’m looking forward to reflecting on my own process as we’ve tackled the start of this exciting project. I’ll be keeping you up to date about the project including the exhilarating world of budgeting! I know, I know. You’re super excited to hear about my love/hate relationship with spreadsheets. In the meantime, here are some next steps for us to follow up with:

Next Steps for us:

  • Figure out the flow of our process when a story is submitted
  • Prepare for the upcoming Culture Days event at two libraries
  • Continue making connections with potential partners
  • Set up our The Stories of Us Advisory committee

Jenn found herself in the nonprofit sector 15 years and has spent her professional and personal life since then guiding conversations through questions and yearning for imagination. Jenn identifies as second-generation Chinese-Canadian, a Mama to two kiddos, a passionately struggling idealist, a recovering perfectionist (aka Super Virgo) and navigating pandemic-induced anxiety. Jenn exists professionally as a designer, researcher and facilitator. In her (limited) spare time, she can be found crafting, eating junk food, cuddling with kiddos and floating in water.

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