When was the last time you used a Crayon to do schoolwork? Second grade? If you are a geology major, maybe yesterday*? Whenever you last picked up the royal Crayola, I suggest you get out some wax wands and do the following exercise for some self-empowering magic.
Here’s the template:
Note: I used a kitty head outline because I was too afraid to Google Search “head clipart” on the Harvard network.
In the kitty head, draw something that represents some rational goals or intellectual ideas that make you proud to inhabit your own head.
In the hand, draw a skill you value in yourself. It could be something that gives you capabilities beyond your peers, or it could just be something private that you rock at.
In the heart, of course draw something that represents a deep and perhaps irrational passion. Perhaps this could be considered the pet hobby or TV show obsession section.
Do this in a group and don’t write down any words. When everyone is done, have each person pass their exercise to their neighbor. The neighbor will then interpret these symbols and share them with the group. The illustrator can’t explain himself or herself until the first round of sharing around the circle is finished. The exercise concludes when everyone articulates what the various stick figures and cryptic lines mean, and when they realize how important it is to be able to articulate the importance behind the symbols put on paper.
This metaphor extends to daily life and social enterprise. What you stand for, what your brand represents, should attempt to speak on its own. The strength of an idea and a masthead is an important precursor, but so is the importance of a cohesive narrative, the life and story behind it all.
This implication of cooperative conversation is embedded in our club name: the Social Innovation Collaborative. It was reflected in the theme for the 2012 Igniting Innovation Summit: Voice your Passion. Social entrepreneurship is inherently an exercise in storytelling and reimagining symbols. We seek to be understood by each other so that higher understanding and innovation can occur.
We did this exercise at the exec retreat and the all-team meeting. Here’s an example:
*I study EPS so I can make digs about coloring maps all day erryday for class.
- Li Murphy, SIC Vice President