In the Leapfrog project we aim to co-​design tools that not only make engagement better for our partners but really address issues that come from our partners and offer support to do what fundamentally matter most to them. Each Leapfrog tool can tell a story of its origins and its purpose, and we feel these stories are an important factor in the success of the tools. Recently the Leapfrog team worked with a group of social enterprise professionals, offering community services based in the Highlands of Scotland, to co-​design tools to help them share their practice and support them to engage with the people they want to help. During a collaborative creative session, where participants played fun card games and shared their experiences, we dug down into the stories that would ultimately shape the co-​design of some new engagement tools.

There were really interesting key themes that we took away from the day, including how empathy and sensitivity are fundamental to good practice, but equally important is a pragmatic approach to offering community services. Quite often there are difficult conversations to be had but dealing with difficulties is imperative to making a difference. Through our conversations we uncovered that there are some great stories of success and some amazing enterprises doing fantastic work but sometimes the message doesn’t get out and so publicity and networks are key factors. From these insights the group developed three concepts for tools to support their work.

Advice Swatch Book Tool 

During our session we uncovered such a wide range of valuable advice and experiences that we believed this captured knowledge should be disseminated back to the participants in the form of a sharing tool. The Advice Swatch Book concept holds all the participants’ insights in one place and codes it according to the key themes so it can be easily browsed, shared and updated through the network.

Top Prompts Tool Story

This tool was based on the participants playing Pontoon and examining Tarrot Cards. Originally called ‘Star Cards’ this tool is a set of cards developed to prompt a dialogue around difficult conversations. The aim of the cards was to build trust around discussing issues and potentially relate these to a player’s own life. The insights the team drew on for prototyping up this tool included having an awareness for different types of issues people have, a sensibility when having difficult conversations, and helping someone understand their own situation and needs.

Stick with It Tool Story

This tool was developed after playing Uno and Happy Families but was also based on the game Snakes and Ladders (or Slides and Ladders as the participants preferred). Originally called ‘The Game of Moans’, this group’s tool idea seeks to challenge the perception of risk in planning for an upcoming event or activity through identifying potential barriers and obstacles.

This tool really responded to some key insights from the session, namely; a sensitivity towards vulnerabilities; gaining a deep understanding of the situation; helping to change a person’s perspective and focus; encourage self-​reflection; and developing a pragmatic approach and awareness of future barriers. The team identified that an essential objective of this tool concept was to enable the person using it to problematise their circumstances and hurdles, with the aim of gaining a sense of reassurance and confidence. The notion of instilling reassurance was a crucial dimension here, so a key aspect the team wanted to bring to was that the person using it would have a fixed plan of action at the end.

The next steps for the Leapfrog team is to prototype these tool concepts into physical tools so that we can return them to the participants for some live testing, and feedback.