Nick Tietz and Shelby Chollett, Co-Founders of ILT Studios, joined Ward Bullard, MURAL’s Head of Education and Nonprofits, and Emma Schnee, Nonprofit Consultant, to share their advice on how to lead social impact workshops using MURAL.
Nick and Shelby are passionate about helping others. At ILT Studios they aim to empower, equip, and support underestimated entrepreneurs in underserved geographies. When Nick and Shelby, along with their team, needed to shift their workshops virtually, rather than being afraid, they got innovative.
Learn as Nick and Shelby share how they shifted from working in person on paper to remote workshops with MURAL, including how they configured their workspace as well as their technique of onboarding participants to MURAL and their program. They also cover pain points they encountered along the way — and how they pivoted to ensure successful facilitation.
Using MURAL to facilitate virtual workshops remotely has allowed ILT Studios to grow their free sessions. Prior to going remote, they had taught 30 people in person and now they have taught over 70 people virtually. Going remote also opened up their workshops to a global audience with recent participants joining from Ghana and Puerto Rico.
Watch this recap to learn how they created highly engaging workshops for their students.
Ward Bullard: [00:00:00] Welcome to all of our, joining attendees. We're super grateful for you. My name is ward Bullard. I lead the education nonprofits team from your role. I'm going to be playing in the background role in today's webinar, and I'm going to turn it over to Emma to kick things off properly as we jump into this wonderful MURAL for nonprofits webinar.
Emma Schnee: [00:00:24] Yeah, thanks Ward. Hi everyone. My name is Emma. I am a nonprofit consultant at MURAL and really excited to be here for our second MURAL for nonprofits webinar. So thank you all for joining us. And we are really lucky to have Nick Tietz and Shelby Chollett here with us today, from ILT Studios to share their expertise and experience using MURAL, with all of us.
So Nick has spent the last 15 years working as a serial entrepreneur, innovator, technologist, user experience designer, and business and technology consultant. Nick has designed more than a hundred apps crafted the strategy to help redefine the public education experience at Minneapolis public schools and led multiple innovation efforts at lifetime fitness to improve the employee experience and define the health club of the future as the director of innovation.
Most recently, Nick was the cofounder of the vitals aware services and launched a new technology service to help people with visible and invisible disabilities communicate with first responders. Additionally, he has spent the past decade donating his time and creative services at multiple nonprofits, including the Nairobi leadership foundation, the Uganda leadership foundation, and the pacer center.
Nick has also served on the board for Playworks Minnesota alternatives, a program for inner-city youth, and currently helps studio 180 at urban ventures in both Totino-Grace high school and St. Vincent DePaul school advisory boards. So we're really excited to have [00:02:00] him here. Also, Shelby is an experienced K through 12 educator with a background in pedagogy educational consulting, research, data analytics and visualization, graphic design, technology innovation, and entrepreneurship. Her work can be found on platforms such as the pedagogical refinery, the complete athlete, the literary sleuth. Shelby's current research involves mindfulness practices and the impact it can have on human psychology and physiology in order to promote efficiency, motivation, and wellbeing.
As a philanthropist, all of the projects Shelby develops, focus on a transformative approach. Identifying what is beyond simple transference of knowledge in order to better the lives of others. Much of her time has been found teaching, mentoring, and coaching youth and educators and building problems, maximize efficiencies and grow. Shelby believes in the importance of providing equitable opportunities for all individuals, with sustainable outcomes in bridging of the equity gap, aiming to help individuals thrive in their best abilities and inspire the lives of others. They were both really experienced individuals and we are extremely lucky to have them here.
And before I turn it over to them, I would just like to go over some quick housekeeping for this webinar. If you all could please introduce yourself in the zoom chat area, just with your name and location. that would be great. And please direct any questions for us in the zoom Q and A area and Ward and I will field those for Shelby and Nick.
And if you have any MURAL specific questions, feel free to send them to the email@example.com and we will get back to you with answers. Just a quick overview of today's webinar. We are here really to, have Nick and Shelby be a use case for all of you, to understand how MURAL can be used to create an impact.
They will start with an introduction [00:04:00] telling us all a little bit about ILT Academy. We'll learn how they use MURAL in ILT Academy, and they have a special live activity for all of us, which will be fun to engage with, then at the end, we'll finish off with a feedback session and a Q and A, and hopefully, you'll all get to leave with, feeling inspired and understanding a little bit more, how you might be able to use MURAL, to create impact yourself.
So now I will stop sharing my screen and I'll hand it over to you, Nick and Shelby. Thanks so much for being here.
Shelby Chollett: [00:04:34] Awesome. Thank you.
Nick Tietz: [00:04:35] Yeah. Thanks. Thanks guys. We're really excited. Great, well, we're gonna paste for those of you that, are in the chat, we're going to paste in a link, to come join us in, our MURAL board, which we'll be using, along the way and we're going to have some fun in there. I wanted to start by talking a little bit about ILT Academy. Again, there's one, we designed this Academy to expand access to better startup models, training and tools, using design thinking and other lean practices to support underestimated entrepreneurs and underserved geographies.
We really wanted to deliver programming that addresses a lot of the elements of the startup process, like how to find ideas, how to think differently about your business, how to talk to and discover who your customers are. And, our, you know, our goal here is that, you know, we, we believe these efforts are going to yield more ideas and cultivate an increasing pipeline of innovators, entrepreneurs, and founders into our rural communities, our urban communities, and into other informal communities around the world where, we've been able to start to connect and engage with other, you know, really innovative people that want solve really important problems.
In our, in our, MURAL board here we've got a couple of pictures of us, for everyone to look at. I'll have everybody follow me that's in the MURAL board. [00:06:00] Of course you can see myself, David Newman, who's one of the other cofounders and, Shelby Chollett, of course. We've been really working hard on this curriculum and we got some, we have some fun stories to tell, as we are a startup building startups, ourselves, again, our, our big vision is to create spaces, places, and culture to cultivate and create an abundance of problem solvers, innovators and founders, and, for everyone that's in the MURAL board, we would love to get your questions along the way or any comments or feedback. So if you drop a posted note anywhere on this presentation, that is totally cool.
Write what you're thinking, throw it, make it a, how might we, or what if, and we want to get your feedback along the way, and if you put it right on the slide that we're talking. It will be great feedback for us you know, even after this, webinar. So, thanks again. And I, I love, I love seeing, I love seeing the anonymous octopus right now in action, so that's awesome.
Ward Bullard: [00:06:56] Hey, Nick, could I ask a quick favor? One is maybe you can summon us so we can be following you. And then second of all, if you wouldn't mind sharing the screen, just cause I think there are some people probably who maybe can't have both zoom and Chrome or Firefox open. So for those that are joining us exclusively, maybe by way of a, a smartphone or some sort of smaller device, it'd be great if you wouldn't just sharing your screen.
Nick Tietz: [00:07:21] Absolutely. Yup. No, that's great. okay. I think I am sharing the correct screen now. Yes, I am. Okay. That's the green box. great. So, are our mission is to empower and equip entree startup entrepreneurs and how to refine and explore, innovate, and develop those new business ideas. Again, we started ILT Academy, earlier this year, and we've been working closely in Minnesota with our launch Minnesota, which is, our kind of startup ecosystem leader, one of our co-collaborators and sponsors and great North lab, which is an early-stage venture fund.
And, and, and we've [00:08:00] been working to get as many people into our classes as possible. our next big goal now that we've, you know, we, we have celebrated, training our first 100 entrepreneurs. and our next big goal is to get to 2,500. and again, we have a focus in rural, urban and informal community.
And, and so, yeah, it's, Shelby, let's talk a little bit about our startup education and kinda, you know, what makes us different and special and I'll, I'll move the MURAL board around while you're talking.
Shelby Chollett: [00:08:30] Awesome. Yeah. Thanks. So something really intriguing about our ILT startup education through ILT Academy was as we started it out, we had discovered a few areas of value through, through this journey. One was that we value skills over talent, that we use deliberate practices to build these skills of entrepreneurship. we value feedback and criticism, being wrong is not bad. And we learn from feedback and criticism and we value asking the right questions.
The quality of your questions determine the quality of your answers. So through that, We began designing and identifying and teaching frameworks so that we can focus on asking in the right questions, which. Is, and what these values helped us get to were these three core tenants, which was that ideas are easy and execution is hard.
That being an entrepreneur is a skill and that this skill can be trained. So in ILT Academy, we help people not only learn how to validate entrepreneurial ideas, but also to think differently through design innovation and create opportunities for meaningful change. ILT academies human-centered design innovation necessitates an, an approach specific to how humans think and learn in order to optimize thinking and learning, the order of our activities that we give our students and how we frame learning [00:10:00] experiences. Those things matter to the methodology of our discovery delivery and activation phases, which brings me to our, what differentiates us.
Our differentiators really STEM from understanding how to identify people's assets and for people to identify their own assets within themselves, and then use those assets in order to be able to see and validate the quality of opportunities anywhere and everywhere in the world. How to think differently, for sustainability and, and you leave our class with more than just a conceptual knowledge.
It's not a sit and get, but the ability to see opportunities, from here on out. So when I say applied and differentiate differentiated teaching and learning, what this means is that students leave with productive insights on their own idea. They learn how to give and receive feedback from their collaborators and identify ways in which they can validate, iterate their ideas on their own idea.
Not just conceptual knowledge. We provide a pro social culture of feedbacking, which allows our students to actively and productively give and receive support while collaborating within various networks, as a researcher in education, specific to human behavior and learning this also necessitates the practice of a growth mindset.
Being able to see that failure and taking feedback is an opportunity and not a barrier. And finally our reflective activities, to help our students understand their strengths and insights that bring value to their business or ideas and who their business or ideas can benefit from as well as joining their team in the future.
So we've been really cognizant of crafting teaching and learning opportunities to be multifaceted, scaffolding previous skills with new concepts that we provide and providing an applied experiential learning approach. And in these ways, many [00:12:00] areas of our brain pathways are lighting up throughout this whole experience all while getting to progress and, and discover new insights about our own business or idea.
And our collaborative human-centered pedagogy implements these key ingredients of giving and receiving feedback and becoming feed backers and not just critiquers so that we're constantly working through and creating it evaluating, within those higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy together. we, as human beings are naturally biased when we're working on our own ideas.
So, so training people to know how to give and receive feedback, to ask the right questions is of the utmost importance. And this takes meaningful collaboration, which is where we are today. In a highly virtual reliant world. And even though in person, collaboration has this really magical way of creating an atmosphere of inspiration and synergy.
We have had all this to face in the current state of the world because of COVID right now. And we realized that in this virtual format, It actually allowed for us to have more accessibility to people around the world to be engaged in collaborative each other from all regions and all industries and ILT Academy was actually able to utilize our own framework to identify new opportunities when we were unable well to have in person workshops. And one of those opportunities, these came through MURAL as our in real time collaborative tool. For our meaningful design innovation teaching and learning that our methods, necessitate MURAL has been instrumental in providing the learning experiences the ILT Academy has.
And I know that that's a lot to take in that's how much we're able to offer our students throughout this experience. and, and through one of those tools, which is MURAL.
Nick Tietz: [00:13:57] Yeah, it's, it's, it's really [00:14:00] neat. You know, we started this, you know, our, our goal when, you know, when Shelby David and I sat down to talk about like, how do we want to make, entrepreneurship and innovation more accessible?
We didn't want to focus on like, memorizing random, you know, different processes and methods. We wanted to get into the skill right away and leveraging, you know, different frameworks so that you can practice the minute that you get into our class. And we're gonna talk a little bit about that.
You know, one of the things I wanted to add in here too, is that, when we talk about the skill is that, we really try to impress. Upon students that you don't have to have a fully baked idea when you come to, any of our classes or programming. And, you know, if you got a half baked idea or even a quarter baked idea, we just want you to come because this is a skill that anyone can learn.
Now, we, we're not going to show this right now, but, we wanted to put in here, we have a short video. You can watch afterwards. it's really great. It does, a nice little overview of what we're doing here in our first program in Minnesota. But, again, we wanted to let everybody know, if you're in the MURAL board, throw out, throw out those, how might we use what F's and questions.
I love how somebody put in that picture. we really wanna, play off and riff off of you of your thoughts and ideas. So please drop questions along the way. So a award. I don't know if you had any questions before I go onto the, onto the next session that, that are coming through on the chat.
Ward Bullard: [00:15:32] Keep it rolling. I think people are, they're engaged in, yeah, as you say, encourage people to not only add, you know, it's, but, I, I maybe know the person who is responsible for adding the, the image. So, you know, pleases, you say like, let's, let's make this a little bit more, decorative.
Nick Tietz: [00:15:47] Keep, keep doing it. Keep that, keep decorating our board, clean people though. But, so one of the things that, you know, as I mentioned, and we, when we were building this program, our plan was to. [00:16:00] do, workshops, right? And because we really believe in this different way of, of teaching and learning and practicing of the skill.
And, and a week after we taught our first 30 students, we had to go digital. and we had to learn how are we going to take this highly interactive engaging process? and go from paper to digital. Now, I, I, you know, I've been doing innovation work for a long time. And so I had known about MURAL, but you know what?
I had never used it before in practice. And so we had to figure out how to do this. and we had to do it quickly now. I've got some really, some really neat pictures here of our first class. You can see David, we were teaching up in st. Cloud. at st. Cloud state university. and we welcomed in adults and students and high school students to the class.
And I've done a lot of this kind of teaching and training and post-it noting and strategizing. And the energy that came out of that room was unbelievable. these, these students were excited. They, they, they hadn't quite used, a framework in this manner and they really felt empowered. one of the students jumped up right in the middle of one of the activities and, and she goes, I've done more than two hours that I'd done in the last two months.
And we really knew that we were onto something here. The feedback that we got after class was great. and you can just see that we really challenged and pushed these students to think differently about their specific opportunities and problems. and, and they, and we got a ton done. Okay. And then, so Shelby you were there too what else do you want to share from the class? I mean, it was very, it was amazing.
Shelby Chollett: [00:17:45] It was, it was nice because what I found was that throughout our frameworks and because of our methodology and our approach, it allowed for people to know the right questions to ask as well as how to stay focus, [00:18:00] oftentimes because we're biased and because we're passionate about our ideas.
We go end up going off on tangents when we don't even realize it. And we're not necessarily talking about what we should be talking about, you know, just the problem, just the solution, just the customer, just the context and what it ended up doing was people ended up being able to move through their idea and validate their idea faster because we went deeper into those other areas.
Nick Tietz: [00:18:27] Yeah, totally. And well, and I was just looking back at someone's comment. one of the things that you'll see is that, so w we we've figured out, how to leverage, MURAL to combine kind of this paper and a digital process. You know, what, what really happened. Was that we had to go from in-person right here is, one of our, MURAL classes online. and, and yeah, and you can see up in the right hand corner, we're still drawn pictures. Like we're still using the left and the right side of our brain and, and.
Shelby Chollett: [00:19:04] We still do this.
Nick Tietz: [00:19:06] Yeah that's great. But then people are bringing it into their MURAL board.
Shelby Chollett: [00:19:12] Yeah.
Nick Tietz: [00:19:13] Which is really nice. One of the things that we wanted to do, or we were envisioning is that we would be able to leverage these frameworks online so that students could work on it. And what, what was honestly, it was a happy accident that we had to go to MURAL much sooner than we were initially planning.
Was because now we can mentor and connect with students and I don't have to drive all over the state of Minnesota. I don't have to drive to Africa to connect with people and see them working on their idea on leveraging these frameworks. So it was really, really cool. And in fact, we were just telling Ward and Emma that, just, two weeks ago we had our first students, from Puerto Rico and Ghana taking a class [00:20:00] that we didn't even market to those areas. And somehow they found a way to come here and, leveraging these, online tools, we're able to get them in and, and share the knowledge with them, which is really exciting.
Shelby Chollett: [00:20:11] And that same time too, because we focus so heavily on being a feedback or, and not a critiquer. They've actually gotten the opportunity to work with and build their network with people from all around the United States as well. and so people are making really intriguing connections and relationships now that they might not have ever gotten to because that wasn't necessarily in their industry or in their region.
Nick Tietz: [00:20:37] Yeah. Now, you know, one of the things that we wanted to share with everyone is that, you know, and we've, we've learned a lot. in making the transition from, you know, not just like a webinar where you sit and you listen to somebody, but these are really, really highly engaging activities. and, and although, you know, our, our paper and postnatal process was pretty simple.
We wanted to come up with a really unique way. To onboard people into our class so that we could hit the ground running, in MURAL, and really leveraged some of the capabilities. So one of the things that we designed, was a, we called it just a get to know ILT workshop board. and so in it, after students come in and we invite them to the class, we actually take them through a series of screens, but they do this, on their own.
And while they start to learn the tools and they're doing the activities, we actually are secretly teaching a MURAL at the same time. and this has proved invaluable because the first class that we did was three hours long, online. and we thought, great, we'll move online. We had an awesome in-person class. We'll just do it online. And it did not go the way that we expected.
Shelby Chollett: [00:21:55] I would say too, like MURAL, like if any tech tool it takes time to get [00:22:00] used to, but once you get used to it and play around with it and learn how to do all these different features, it becomes intuitive. Right? So that's where the that's where this pre-work really came into a into in handy.
Nick Tietz: [00:22:13] Yeah. Well, nice. Is that, you know, as students are doing this kind of pre-work, depending on the time of day that they do, it could be really late at night. Shelby and David and I would go in and we can look at people's girls boards so we can see the work that they're doing and stuff times we'll even catch them live in the act and they can ask us questions and we can interact with them right on the MURAL board.
So. it's, it's just provided a lot of different opportunities and ways for us as instructors to connect and engage with our students when we aren't in, during the like scheduled one hour or two hour period of when we're in class. And so, it's just, there's just some really, really neat things that we've figured out along the way.
Ward Bullard: [00:22:57] Hey, Nick, can I jump in here for a quick second? Yeah. So we get a question from one of the attendees, Ricardo, he was wondering for you and Shelby, how a one could enhance the participation and keep people focused during a four hour virtual workshop. So any of your pro tips, what that's been like and how you've responded. That'd be great.
Nick Tietz: [00:23:20] I will go, I'll go first. don't let them go to the bathroom. They will stay focused for hours. Never let them out. Just kidding. Okay, go ahead. I always forget that. Go ahead Shelby, where were you?
Shelby Chollett: [00:23:30] Well, first of all, I think that there's a point to. There's only so much sand and deliver you can ever do a, you know, when you think about a webinar or a traditional class, there's a lot of lecture or the stage on the stage, right? That's why activities and different types of activities also embedded with independent time and collaborative time is really, really important because it does end up breaking up the time where you didn't realize for the last half hour you've been [00:24:00] collaborating and talking about your own idea, somebody else's idea within our framework, but also you get into, we build an independent time where we're working on a skill or working through a framework to be collaborative within. and, and those kinds of. Those kinds of different, types of activities actually ended up making the time fly by. Also people are just super excited about talking about their ideas.
Nick Tietz: [00:24:28] Yeah.
Shelby Chollett: [00:24:28] Really want to be cognizant of what kind of ideas or activities you want for people to be engaging in.
Nick Tietz: [00:24:36] Yeah, no, I totally agree. I think one of the biggest sentiments is that, we, you can feel the energy in the room pick up as soon as you turn off the screen sharing thing and people are in there, you know, we create small breakout rooms of about anywhere from four to six people. and, and, and you can just feel it surge. And then, you know, what Shelby and I will do is we'll bop in to the different rooms, the breakout rooms and their MURAL boards. And we can, we can just, you can just see the energy pickup, which is really, really cool.
Shelby Chollett: [00:25:08] Yeah. Those small groups are super important because more voices get to be heard then too. You know, we, we do zoom breakout rooms, but we also create different boards, collaboration boards for those small groups within MURAL.
So now I'm not on a page with 40 other people, but now I'm in my small five person group and we are on this small MURAL board together. And we can see each other running around with our, our, our mice, our mouses, and, there's something very engaging and special about that and that enthusiasm and engagement just every single time. It really just shocks me. It sets me back in a really good way.
Nick Tietz: [00:25:47] Yeah. Yeah. You know, I, I think one of the things that we discovered along the way too, is that, you know, in, in the first class, you know, we're, you know, we do this fun exercise where we, get people talking and sharing what their super [00:26:00] power is.
But what we realized is that, you know, we really want, we wanted to create a common space, so that everybody could get together in between the breaks. And before class and after class. And so we came up with this concept that we just called the community board, but basically, you know, we made a special, a board in one of our rooms where, you know, right away when you first come through, our Google classroom, one of the things that you need to do is make your MURAL account, and then you land in this community board and you drop a picture.
And it's really cool to see some people, they just put their picture. It's all good. Some people will go in and they'll put in alter egos and other things, which is kind of funny. We have a couple of years that did it, which is cool. but then in between the classes, this is where a lot of students are kind of, they're even sharing their information in their community MURAL board, but we wanted to create a way so that students could come after the class.
And try to remember, like, who is, who is in that, the call with me, because I thought I remember somebody talking about this one idea and we found this to be a really, a really cool way to engage students and, and build community. especially when you're not in the same geography.
Shelby Chollett: [00:27:14] Yeah. That's great.
Nick Tietz: [00:27:16] So I want to move to the next section, and talk about, lessons learned.
So I'm going to have, I'm going to summon everyone back. Now. I suspect that there'll be more question as we get to this along the way. So again, keep putting in your post it notes and thoughts. I love seeing that along the way. so as we mentioned, the workspace setup has been really critical, for our success.
We didn't realize how important this was going to be. and, and how much this was going to, get in the way of some of our students. if they weren't familiar with all the tools. again, it's just another reason why we designed that onboarding session, but, so we've been using a combination of Google classroom to help, manage the students as they come in, and assign [00:28:00] them tasks.
Of course we've been using zoom so that we can see everybody and give virtual high fives and, and all that stuff. and then MURAL as our collaboration tool. So we can get our thoughts down and, and write things out and share them. Oh go ahead, Shelby.
Shelby Chollett: [00:28:15] Oh, I was just going to say, I think that the everybody's kind of experiencing this too, where you might not have been traditionally trained on utilizing 100% virtual, technology kind of world to get work done. a lot of us collaborate and we rely on collaboration. but, but the workspace setup, you know, specifically with Google classroom room, we realized that. When we have those items for people that check back off in the Google classroom, we added things like signing up for MURAL.
One step is just sign up for MURAL. And the reason that we wanted them to sign up for MURAL too, it's because our class is not only engaging and in real time collaborative. But everybody leaves with a product. Everybody leaves with it. Artifacts. If they were not signed up with MURAL, they wouldn't necessarily have the opportunity to hop back and continue to work on that.
But beyond this, we've also held office hours where people will say, Hey, you know, wonder if we could sync up for, an office hours. And we hop right back into their MURAL board and their artifact is there and we're ready to go.
Nick Tietz: [00:29:22] Yeah, that's really, that's really cool. I think a lot of us know zoom, we won't spend any time on that we're all here. and then, and, and so one of the, one of the novelties that we've been doing is we create two sets of rooms. So for those of you that have maybe haven't used MURAL as much, we have private rooms that are set up for each individual student, and then we have open community rooms.
So that, all the students in that room. can come and join, together. and so we, you know, again, you've seen the community boards, was that an example of another, community board, you see people drop their pictures and write their names. It's a lot of fun. and then [00:30:00] in there a workspace setup, so they have their class outline and then about halfway through class, they'll get a second MURAL board that will pop up and it will be their individual board where they work on their own stuff.
And, and as Shelby mentioned, this is where, you know, their personal artifacts can go and, and if they want to share it with other people, they can share the link out to get additional feedback. and, and this is a really, this is a really neat way for people to just keep sharing ideas along the way.
Shelby Chollett: [00:30:30] Yeah and we have, you know, once again, utilize our other tech tools like Google classroom. As well as embedded within our MURAL boards to provide videos of how to, or pushing them towards specific features, like the outline feature as a step one, you start here, step two, here's the introductory introduction to MURAL step three, here's the about us. And so on. Obviously that organization is really, really has a, treated as well.
Nick Tietz: [00:31:01] Yeah. any other questions before I move on to the next section, these were just sounded kind of like some of our tips and learnings and, and how we've set up our workspace.
Ward Bullard: [00:31:14] No, I think I'll just add Nick and Shelby, we got a comment in from, from Glen in the chat and he just wanted to, again, plus one, what you said about that activity design and, you know, the, the idea of really building a sense of belonging and clearly it's coming out from this, session. That was something that you have really put, put some time and effort towards. So again, well, we'll pause and we'll hear from Glen, so thank you.
Nick Tietz: [00:31:41] Cool. Thank you, Nicole. I saw your picture in here. I just moved you into our community board.
Shelby Chollett: [00:31:47] All right.
Nick Tietz: [00:31:48] That's awesome.
Shelby Chollett: [00:31:51] Welcome.
Nick Tietz: [00:31:54] So, I want to go to the next section. let me say, I'm going to have everybody follow me again. and, so [00:32:00] we want to show you some of the cool stuff that we've been doing in our class.
We've got, so as I mentioned, you know, we've been moving from paper to digital. and, and one of the things that we talk about in class is, your idea, right? And what's the current state. now you can see here's how we've incorporated, a piece of paper, right? This is what the original thing looked like.
But, in the real world, we would have dropped posted notes on this sheet of paper. And you would have had it printed out 11 by 17, like you saw in the pictures earlier, but now that we're digital.
Shelby Chollett: [00:32:31] This is how big, just, just so you know, this is how big our placemats normally were in class. So we would be actively dropping things in here. And we had to figure out what is that looked like virtually, which is what we have today.
Nick Tietz: [00:32:50] So now you can come in. And, one of the things that you'll guys you guys will want to do is create targets, right? So if you're going to have people, leaving feedback and thought, if you create areas for them to do do that, it makes it feel really, really easy for you just to come in DoubleClick.
And there's a, and there's a sticky note that pops up or, or pictures or grabbing icons from the sidebar. and we talk a lot about in these feedback sessions, you know, to be a free feedback, right? Like practicing that. Yes. And, and, and, and helping your job as the listener is to be listening actively, be a feedback, or we call it, join our feedback or club, and, and help that presenter sharpen their idea, and, and, and help them listen.
So, this is awesome. I love seeing the post it notes in there, by the way. so for example, we, so we still incorporate that, that drying process, like we really want to engage this other sense, but just can't happen. in digital, it just, it just doesn't. I mean, unless you, I have an iPad or you've got a really good drawing tool with a stylist, I, [00:34:00] we still don't think anything.
Beats paper and pen or paper and Sharpie to be specific. So we have everybody that draw a picture of their current state and you can see there's a picture from one of our latest classes. and then, then the group then works with the presenter and you can see we've got the questions right in there and they just start generating feedback so that you've got an idea as a founder or an entrepreneur to come back in and to, to really think about like what, what your group, heard, what you were communicating and like, where else could you take, your idea.
Now, the other thing, I'm going to move to the second piece is, is our innovation framework. so this is something that, that we've come up with that, you know, we, we, we use to help each entrepreneur. So now that we understand the context for their idea or their problem or their opportunity, You know, how do we unpack that?
So from that picture, what were the insights and observations? And then what were those key problems? What is the solution that you're seeing thinking of who are the customers, that have this problem and want the solution? and then what's the context in which your solution exists? and so, you know, if we feel that if more people could break down their problem, solution, customer and context, that it would be even easier, for other people to give feedback along the way.
And so what we do in the first pass, is have people put down a very quickly, just like you guys are doing, which is awesome. what are the problems that you're trying to solve? and then how might you solve them? and get feedback. But in the second and we do that in small breakout groups.
Shelby Chollett: [00:35:48] Yeah and that's where this organizational focus comes into hand comes into play because now I can realize as a founder, Oh, I've [00:36:00] just been talking about my solution. I haven't even taught, identified what the true problem is. And as I'm working with my small group and they're throwing all of these post it notes at me, I, we start to organize it and realize new insights and new observations and other, these founders are unbiased. People who are listening to my idea and they're giving me amazing additional insights for me to go and explore further.
Nick Tietz: [00:36:28] Right. To be fair, they may be biased, but hopefully they're unbiased towards your idea.
Nick Tietz: [00:36:40] One of the things though that, that we really loved about, making this move then from this paper solution to a more digital, is that you can see on the right. We that's actually gave us the freedom. So then say, okay, let's spend time on packing those insights and give us, give us a little bit more room in the digital space to get those ideas out there.
Same with the problems and same with the solutions, you know, so you can put your idea in there, but then let's talk about, well, who else is doing your idea? and what, what really makes you different. And now we can all do this in a common space and as much as I love post it notes, This is, this is way easier for me to not lose those PostIt notes along the way and do other things with them.
And so we spend time in class going through each of these areas. Again, we start with that one nugget, but this really lets us to unpack those things and figure out, you know, what are the most important areas and basically what are the other adjacent and breakthrough thoughts and ideas that other people might have.
I think, you know, Shelby and the other, instructors along the way that have been teaching, this allows other people to participate in it, your idea, it allows you to leave with this really powerful artifact, powered by the, by the [00:38:00] other people that. They now kind of care about what you're trying to do.
And when I say care, maybe they only cared for the hour that we were in class together, but either way, they're actively trying to push your idea forward. and that's, that's powerful.
Shelby Chollett: [00:38:12] Well, and knowing that we've provided not only a framework, but a feedback guide where now I know as I, as you guys are asking me questions from our feedback her's guide, we're staying focused and on task and relevant. I would think, you know, it becomes this really intriguing collaborative culture of almost safety where I'm a feedback or now, and this feels good. And, it's always the yes. And right. It's always the validation of.
Nick Tietz: [00:38:45] Right, right. Yeah. So, one of the things that we wanted to do as we get towards the end is though we, we always ask for feedback, and we show all the, entrepreneurs that man get feedback early and often so you can figure out how to make it better. and so I would love for the people that are, on the MURAL with us right now, or anybody that's been watching this, and they clicked on the link. Maybe you're watching this after, is to drop a note in here and tell us, so what did you like best about what you saw, in, the Academy curriculum in the way, the pedagogy that we're teaching, the way that we're sharing.
Leave us a note, cause we, this, this, this board will be up and we'll be actively looking and listening for more feedback. you know, what questions do you have? you know, what do you want him to know? What do you want to know from us? Like how can we help you, you know, with your idea or your program, you know, are there questions you have for us about, how we've been using MURAL?
Ward Bullard: [00:39:43] And, and Shelby actually, I've got a couple of questions here. The first one is from Mark. He asks if your entrepreneurs, sign up as MURAL members or access their MURALs, that you set up as anonymous shrimp and other members of the [00:40:00] anonymous animal family.
Shelby Chollett: [00:40:03] So one of our tasks within our Google classroom, upon when they register one of the tasks within the Google classroom that, that we add them to is the signing up for MURAL, which automatically pushes them to our community board, which is where everybody begins. And as we see who has gotten further into their Google classroom tasks and who has added their pictures to our community board, that prompts us to share their personal MURAL board so that they can continue on learning the different features of MURAL and the concepts that we will be covering in our class together.
Ward Bullard: [00:40:44] All right. And a couple others from Nicole. First of all she was just wondering from, from a approach of how you set up, the, the, on the MURAL board, did you just basically create slides in Google or PowerPoint and then import them? What was your approach? Just to be a little bit more tactical would be great.
Shelby Chollett: [00:41:04] So yes, I mean, we pulled, we essentially pulled, our different designs, our different worksheets and the different designs into our MURAL board and just locked them down. We mainly made these within, keynote, I believe is that right? Nick? We designed them through keynote as well as pulling them from our facilitator's guide. Which was originally done in like a regular Google document.
Nick Tietz: [00:41:31] Yeah. Yeah. a lot of the, in our, in our deck here. So, here, I'll I'm just going to zoom back here so I can, I can, I can unpack here a little bit. so, what we found is that, so like our little about us here, like these are all, these are all elements that we either built in another program, but we started bringing more and more of this into MURAL because if we can work with the vector graphics, that [00:42:00] significantly increases, how fast the MURAL board operates.
And then we just started having fun with that, along the way. but obviously when we're bringing in images that have. Curved edges and, and other like icon sets on MURAL has a great base of, of images that we can leverage right through the noun project, which we were using. So we were very familiar with, but then sometimes we want to add a little bit more style and branding to this.
And so we'll play with those images and in keynote really, and then bring those things in. So these are, these are actually all keynote slides here, but. they certainly could be made directly in MURAL. And, I don't know, from like a speed standpoint, which, which would be faster, we're still experimenting back and forth on at what point does MURAL slow down, but you know, right now we've been able to throw a ton of stuff into it and some of them are, some of our MURAL boards are pretty big. Yep. what other questions do you guys have for us?
Ward Bullard: [00:43:02] I'll just jump in wa there's are asking to the question around the rendering engine and some of the, you know, the challenges you'll see above Nick's little N on the bottom left a little lightning bolt, and you know, what, what the company launched at the end of Q2, so late June, was a new rendering engine. You know, we, obviously had had an impressive amount of growth in the utilization of the product, as well as people, again, like Nick and Shelby pushing, the outer bounds, which is awesome. And, with that came a new, rendering engine, which has been able to absorb a fair amount of more of a you know, the creative work that Shelby and Nick are throwing on a, on a canvas like this.
So again, we definitely encourage people to do give some consideration, around some of the content types, you know, really, really large files or large videos, maybe not the best. I think they like you and Shelby actually shared what the, a YouTube link, if you drop a YouTube and, into these, you know, MURALs, it's [00:44:00] a really a nice thumbnail experience that comes up. You can watch the video directly on the canvas and actually it cuts out the pre-roll ad too, as an added bonus for you.
Nick Tietz: [00:44:11] Oh, that's cool. That's very cool. We didn't know that.
Ward Bullard: [00:44:14] Yeah. Google, Google hasn't figured out a way to monetize the pre roll on a third party integration. So there's some content you're trying to put it. The only part that's just says, if you're ever trying to like, throw like a Katy Perry or some sort of like high value piece of content where obviously Katie Perry, the video costs YouTube, a fair amount of money to play, which is who sits. And he's like, those videos will be blocked, in third party integrations just because they do need to run an ad forehand before you get to play.
Nick Tietz: [00:44:44] Right.
Ward Bullard: [00:44:45] So, so, so in case anybody wants to test, we are aware of that as a constraint, as somebody that used to work at YouTube, they, they don't, they don't, they don't mess around with that kind of stuff, but for again, integrations, like what we have here. Thank you, Nick Shelby, or Anna for adding this over here, you could actually, maybe one of you could just click and press play you can kind of see how that actually pops.
Nick Tietz: [00:45:03] Sure. I'll do it since I'm sharing the screen. So, yeah, if you click it, it'll just come right in the middle. And while, you can hit play
Shelby Chollett: [00:45:15] Inception.
Nick Tietz: [00:45:19] So it's, it's, it's really cool. And so we, you know, even in our, get to know you ILT board, you know, we've been able to link in videos for MURAL so that people can learn how to use the tool while using the tool, which is great. And we make that really easy.
And then as there's other pieces of educational content, that either we want students to look at that we've produced or that we want to point to other places on the internet and articles. that's been a really, really slick feature for us, to share that information.
Shelby Chollett: [00:45:50] Yeah, the embedded links. So for example, during a course that we were teaching this morning, first of all, at one point we had wanted to just create a quick [00:46:00] table for, you know, a part of the design thinking and, and I just.
And, grab that from the templates along your left hand sidebar, there are, there are frameworks they're called frameworks. So I just pulled those things in really quick, but also at one point, I added in the zoom link right into the MURAL board because you can link things within the MURAL board, so that any time that anybody got kicked off, all they had to do was click on that and in the MURAL board and they were right back with us too. So that was all, that's also an additional, really great feature.
Nick Tietz: [00:46:34] I just added, just answer the question. but you know, you know, have we had onboarding challenges, you know, with MURAL for participants? I would say the, you know, the biggest thing that we had to figure out was how do we make it?
How do we make sure that they're coming into the board as a member versus as like anonymous snail. but once we figured that out, in the classes, and through our, Google classroom, then, MURAL became so much easier for the students to use because then they were coming back in to their account, which was, that, that was, that was a big deal for us, to get that figured out.
So someone asked about the firewall, w we haven't run into any firewall issues in terms of, access. So, we haven't, we haven't heard anything from that. And Shelby you've been in the tech room once in a while, right?
Shelby Chollett: [00:47:23] No, I haven't seen anything regarding that, which knock on wood. I don't want to.
Nick Tietz: [00:47:28] Yeah. Right. And you know, what, what we've found, especially when trying to, again, integrate this kind of like paper process with digital process. you know, as long as you can get the picture from your phone too, your computer, or the, or the, the big cheat or work around, is that we just have people hold their picture up right to the screen and then they take a picture, and we just drop it right in the MURAL board for them. that's been really helpful.
If you're doing like a multi state, a multi-class [00:48:00] were you doing like two or three classes. I don't think that's as much an issue, but. you know, when you're only doing this once in a while with, people that have never used the tool before, you know, sometimes they don't have the easiest time moving from their phone to their own desktop.
It's kind of funny, like getting pictures off Facebook and the internet, it's easy, but there's still not an easy way to go from your, get your mobile phone to your desktop computer, for, you know, for some of our students. Yeah. What surprise benefits have there been to this online approach? Shelby, do you wanna, do you want to start on that one, but I think that's a, that's an interesting question.
Shelby Chollett: [00:48:37] Oh surprise, but if it's, I'm not sure if this is a surprise, but I guess I was pleasantly surprised at, the widespread range of, of regions that we were able to have access to, or people were able to have access to us.
Like we had talked about earlier, people from other countries were able to access our class, people from other regions that may not have been able to make it up to, where we were teaching or in person. we have access there. so the, that accessibility piece is all, always pleasantly surprising to see where people are from.
I'm also, like I said before, I'm also always pleasantly surprised at how quickly engaged our community members are. And I, I don't know if it's because we can see all of our cursors around on the screen at the same time. And there's this sense of community unity and, collaboration and reassurance when we see each other actively adding things to the board together.
But, it always ends up, very, very enthusiastic and engaging. And that was something that for me, personally, as a teacher, I worry about not being in the classroom with, with our students, that, that special, magical atmosphere of human connection and MURAL, has provided us with that, that cord of human connection. If that makes sense, in the best way that [00:50:00] we can right now. And it's, we always leave with people very enthusiastic and I'm just always so impressed with them.
Nick Tietz: [00:50:10] Yeah, no, that's really true. I think that, the ideas that we've seen coming through, I think what's really, really special is that a lot of times, again, they come with a half baked idea. Or sometimes they think they know what their idea is. And by the end of the class, after talking and getting lots of feedback and iteration, they actually can see the pivot point in their idea that might actually make it, be more impactful for the people that they're trying to reach. and I, I think, what this tool has allowed us to do is really reach out to more people that are sitting on their couch anywhere in the world.
Shelby Chollett: [00:50:53] Yeah. Yeah.
Emma Schnee: [00:50:56] Thank you so much Shelby and Nick. This has been extremely helpful, and I know that there are lots of other questions still out there. So if you guys can all, please put them in the MURAL board. and we will kind of look at them and we post a blog post afterwards as a recap for the webinar, and maybe we can address them there, or also feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org as well and we can help answer your questions as well. And I'll just share my screen one last time. So again, we were so lucky to have Nick and Shelby here that was really helpful. And I loved having it be interactive along the way. So we could have that feedback and get to see the tool in action. So thank you both.
We have coming up, August 27th, our next webinar, with the co-organizers from Teenagers4Change, which is a really exciting program. They will just have finished facilitating with MURAL this two week [00:52:00] long social design creativity workshop for teenagers exploring the theme of the future of our planet, save the oceans.
And so we'll get to learn from them, their successes and lessons they've learned from facilitating that program with teenagers, which will be really exciting. So, we will create a poll for those of you who would like to sign up. And Ward has just also mentioned it in the chat. the, where you can go to find the link to register for the next webinar.
I would also just like to draw your attention to some other resources that we have for nonprofit and social impact workers out there in the MURAL community. We have our. Mural MPro community on Slack, that if you email us at email@example.com, we can add you to that. So you can contribute your expertise in MURAL and learn about what other people are doing on the platform.
As well, we have these Imagine workshops, which are our really great resource. To learn more about what others are doing with MURAL and, it's just a wealth of knowledge there. and as well, you can check out our previous webinar, the recap of it, of the driving global impact remotely on our website.
So thank you all for coming today. We were so happy to have you Nick and Shelby. We really appreciate it.
Shelby Chollett: [00:53:24] Thank you.
Nick Tietz: [00:53:25] Thank you.
Shelby Chollett: [00:53:26] Y'all were awesome.
About the author
About the authors
Integrated Marketing Manager
Emma is a a marketing manager at MURAL where she champions the stories of educators, students, and nonprofits to highlight the creative and impactful ways they incorporate visual collaboration into their work. She is passionate about the intersection of social impact, business, and design.