Collective Challenge Approach Creates Lasting Leverage and Legacy
This October, we hosted the final convening of our most recent Digital Leaning Challenge. Our learning community of leaders from exemplar out-of-school time organizations, expert researchers and the SCE team came together to reflect on the experience of participating in the Challenge these last 18 months and the process of collaborating to develop an extraordinary new resource for peers in the field and also to prepare for what comes next.
Participants affirmed why the SCE model of support creates value far beyond the traditional funding approach. The question that both funders and grantees find themselves asking at the end of any project is, ‘now what’ ? At SCE we’re proud that our relationships with Challenge members are not simply fixed transactions or contracts with pre-determined constraints and expectations; our Challenges are communal efforts to move the needle forward. We know from the outset that we don’t have the answer to problems we want to solve…and that we’re not likely to find them in a predetermined time-frame. Our ‘now what’ at the close of this challenge is we keep going and we grow the work out to share with peers.
By creating learning communities of experts in the field and giving them time and support for what we like to call, spacious thinking, we create the possibility for their synergy to produce outputs that are always more remarkable than what any of them could produce separately with the same amount of time and funding.
One of challenge participants, Jerelyn Rodriguez, Co-founder and CEO of Knowledge House shared some thoughts on her takeaways from the experience.
The most important connection made during an SCE-funded learning challenge is never between SCE and individual grantees —what’s important is the synergy of the collective. The synergy is both a literal and figurative output from which the entire field can benefit, and it is what the exchange approach is all about. We’re seeking solutions, and we know that we won’t find them alone. The challenge of preparing the next generation will take all of the best work from many brilliant minds.
Describing her “aha” on why SCE would convene seemingly disparate partners together in a collective challenge, one of our challenge partners said,
“Were all driving the same road, heading the same direction, only in different lanes, doing different things”
No matter the lane the partners began their drive in 18 months ago, they’ve journeyed together, and together they’ve produced and compiled an amazing resource for other practitioners, educators and researchers to join and continue the work.
Stay tuned for our 2019 launch of their findings, tips & tricks, best practices, strategies and guideposts around navigating the work of preparing teens for successful digital futures.