After the Storm and Rapid Fail

Well, it has come and gone – my first full day workshop. For a first run at this I would say it was a success.

Thank you to the fantastic attendees who willingly gave up a Saturday, came for PD on their own dime and allowed me to test ideas on them. And thank you to my helpers that day: #reallygeekyspouse, my daughter Hannah, Audrey Hensen and Jenn Chan who ran the design thinking activity. And a special thank you to Nogah Kornberg who, when I first mentioned I was considering this asked, “How can we help you?”  And a very special thank you to my students Jane, Emily and Sara who spoke near the end of the day about how we learn in my classroom and the impact it has had on them.

The day couldn’t have happened without the generosity of those who shared insights and advice as I conceptualized this workshop. I am always humbled by how willing people are to help me along.  It’s really quite wonderful. I am fortunate.

What I wish to share from the many wonderful things that happened that day, however, is the rapid fail.

My students have learned Integrative and Design Thinking attitudes, tools and processes this year. Through engaging in the processes, they now recognize that while getting praise is nice, it’s the negative feedback that you want. Negative feedback is interesting. It’s actually the part that is worth getting excited about because that is the information needed to improve an idea.

On Monday, when I entered my classroom, I was able to share it in practice. I could talk about the parts of my workshop that worked well, and the parts that need improvement. I was able to model being excited about the rapid fail. So what was it?

In planning the workshop, I hadn’t considered that people have low energy after lunch and that I should have planned something more active in the second half of the day. It was so useful to find out as quickly as possible where the tweeks are needed. I am now reworking the second half of the day.  My original intention had been to ensure that I covered key concepts in integrative thinking.  I now realize that Rome doesn’t need to be built in a day and that there is enough richness in the workshop already that I can leave out elements in order to build in depth and movement. That incredibly useful information means that the next group of attendees will have a different experience and I already know how to change it.  Throughout the planning I had been grappling with the structure of the afternoon and wondering if I was making the right choice. I tested my idea, got feedback and am pivoting.

I am looking at bringing this workshop to the Ottawa area towards the end of the summer.

Stay tuned for details.





  1. Pingback: Facing My Pink Elephant | Living Avivaloca

  2. Enzo Ciardelli

    Hi Heidi,
    I am very intrigued by your use of Integrative and Design Thinking. For this summer, you are on my list of research topics! I also love how you said that you can improve the depth of your workshop instead of pushing another area. In our teaching, we have to remind ourselves that kids progress at a different rate. While over planning is always preferable, we have to remember that student progression always key. Adults are no different. I would really enjoy listening to your talks and look forward to learning about your approach as my summer development. All the best to you!

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