This week the Leapfrog team were back in Elgin with the Stories of Impact project for a tool development workshop. The project participants were brought back together to test out their nearly prototyped tool ideas and get stuck in to some tool development activity. Whilst not all the participants could attend this event, a small group joined the team for a focused session, providing a great deal of valuable knowledge, insight and creativity that has helped to really move the design of the tools forward and make some great improvements. The two tools, ‘Unwrap Potential’ and ‘Bunch of Impact’, were tested out over the two-​hour workshop, where adaptations and suggested were tried out for both. The team also used this workshop as an opportunity to capture feedback from the participants about their over-​arching experiences of participating in the Leapfrog project as part of our process of evaluation. 

The workshop kicked off by first exploring the ‘Unwrap Potential’ tool. The original aim of this tool was to provide potential volunteers with a fun way of communicating aspects about themselves and their commitment and motivations for volunteering in a paper-​based template that they fill in and bring with them to their initial interview with a volunteer coordinator. All sitting together around one table the group discussed the purpose, function and design of the tool, where several key insights were raised. The first of which focused on the type of questions the tool was asking and the language used. Here suggestions were made as to how to make it more user friendly, where also the responses could be made applicable to more organisations. In particular, a concern was also raised about users who can’t read or write or where English may not be their first language. More use of graphics was suggested as well as offering the user choices in how they can respond – through writing or drawing. The use of drawing could then also make the tool become more of a talking point during the interview. Further to this, and picking up on the need to find out about the volunteer’s interests and hobbies as well as what they are not interested in, the participants suggested the use of a bullseye graphic where a volunteer can rate what they like and dislike but frame it in a more positive and asset-​based light through asking them to consider what they are comfortable and confident doing and what they see as challenging. This was framed as the ‘comfort zone’ part of the tool, something that could pick up on a volunteer’s strengths and fears and be used to review how volunteers develop throughout their time in an organisation. After all, volunteering can have a real positive impact on volunteers as well as people using services, and this is important to capture. Another interesting point raised by the participants was how this tool also has the potential to be used for promotion and advertising. One participant for example described how she could have these on display in her organisation’s public-​facing office. The group experimented with ways of folding the A4 tool to make it look more inviting for someone to pick up.

The group then turned their attention to the ‘Bunch of Impact’ tool. The original aim of this tool was to have a simple and fun way of reporting stories of impact that could supplement the typical report-​base format. The prototype tool was an origami geometric flower template with instructions. Anecdotal evidence could be captured on the flower petals and made into a origami flower. Over time flowers would be collated into one big bunch that reflects the many little differences volunteer organisations make. The tool was tried and tested by the participants, where aspects of its functionality and design were discussed. Changes to the shape and size of the flower were discussed, as well as reverting back to the use of individual petals instead of starting out by making a whole flower. Again, it was noted how these flowers could also be used for advertising and promotion in public-​facing areas in their organisations.

The Leapfrog team has come away from this workshop with some great new tool designs and a clear direction in terms of completing and launching these tools. The next steps are to make the suggested adaptations and send these out to the participants for final feedback and user testing before publishing them on the Leapfrog website.