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Rethinking Professional Development Because People Are Our Most Important Asset

Posted by Overlap on January 30, 2018

In 2018, Overlap is turning training inside out to focus on making ourselves the best trained team in the industry.

All Overlap employees are given five full days of Professional Development and can choose which courses best align with their Development Goals.

 

People Are Our Most Important Asset

Each Overlap employee annually sets goals that contribute to organizational objectives as well as personal goals. Employees are asked to share what skills or knowledge would help them to improve their work. This content is then themed and curated by Overlap’s Chief, Creativity and Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Dr. Linda Carson, into full or half-day courses and scheduled for the coming year.

This employee-driven structure promotes shared learning, common language and shared mental models, gives employees a chance to improve their individual mastery, and aligns with our organization’s mission and vision.

The Professional Development 2018 offerings strengthen our core competencies: research; communication; making; insight; presentation/facilitation; manifestation; counsel; and, collaboration.

Professional Development at Overlap is designed and led by Dr. Linda Carson, Chief, Creativity and Interdisciplinary Collaboration at Overlap Associates. Dr. Carson holds degrees in mathematics, science, fine arts, and a PhD in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. She is a lecturer at the University of Waterloo in Fine Arts and at its Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

 

Our Learning Is Open

Our team members get first dibs on these classes, but we’re also opening up any available spaces to our partners and clients.

If there’s something that interests you and we have a spare seat in the room, you are truly welcome to join us and train like an Overlapper. Class openings and registration will be available on our website under PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

A few of our PD2018 offerings are too Overlap-specific to share, but if one of these piques your interest, ask us about how we can customize a course for your team.

Here’s what you can expect over 2018, as well as the significance of each program track. For a full schedule of course offerings and available sign-ups, visit our PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT page on our website.

 

Professional Development program tracks.png

 

The Facilitation Track

Presentation and facilitation together form one of our core competencies at Overlap. We are in the business of helping people have difficult conversations to solve their toughest problems.

We use the ORID reflective framework—objective, reflective, interpretive, decisional—for much of our work, including to achieve closure at the end of a session.

2018 Courses:

  •    INTRODUCTION TO FACILITATION
  •    FACILITATING A CARD WORKSHOP
  •    ADVANCED FACILITATION

 

The Communication Track

Communication is another one of our core competencies at Overlap. It underpins all of our research: how we gather information, share our findings, and collaborate with each other and our clients. If there’s only time for one PD activity in 2018, strengthening communication skills gives the broadest impact.

2018 Courses:

  •    ACTIVE LISTENING
  •    DESIGNING MEMORABLE PRESENTATIONS
  •    PROFESSIONAL WRITING

 

The Collaboration Track

Collaboration is another one of our core competencies at Overlap. No Overlapper is an island.

Overlap values collaboration. We like working together, which is good because we do it a lot. We collaborate within Overlap, with business partners and with clients. We try to do it well and do it visibly. Our success depends on: Co-operation; Communication; Civility; Diversity; Complementary skill sets; and, Planning.

2018 Courses:

  •    NETWORKING

 

The Design Track

Making and Insight are two other core competencies at Overlap. We use design thinking methods and creativity more generally in order to help people to solve their toughest problems.

Overlap values creativity, which is the production of new, useful ideas. Overlappers are fluently creative and we live design thinking every day. It makes us flexible, innovative, resilient and darned useful.

2018 Courses:

  •    INTRODUCTION TO DESIGN THINKING
  •    CREATIVITY
  •    CONSTRUCTIVE CRITIQUE
  •    MASTER CLASS IN IDEATION & DESIGN THINKING

Under this track we’ll also run Problem Jams. A “problem jam” is a gathering where individuals actively collaborate to investigate, understand, and work through a real problem. At Overlap, problem jams are action learning: team-building opportunities to practice collaboration and problem-solving hands-on, together, to make headway on real world problems for our not-for-profit clients.

2018 Problem Jams:

  •    PROBLEM JAM: Problem Statements
  •    PROBLEM JAM: Empathy mapping
  •    PROBLEM JAM: Good Feedback
  •    PROBLEM JAM: Ideation
  •    PROBLEM JAM: Iteration & Prototyping

 

The Research Track

Research is another one of our core competencies at Overlap. Our design research methods include primary and secondary research, using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Most of our work focuses on developing understanding, clarity, and insight.

2018 Courses:

  •    DESIGN RESEARCH FUNDAMENTALS
  •    RESEARCH CLINIC: QUALITATIVE METHODS
  •    RESEARCH CLINIC: QUANTITATIVE METHODS

 

Sign up for one of our open professional development courses.

Continue your learning online by subscribing to our blog: Getting to Better.

 

More from Overlap:

📚 A Beginner’s Introduction to Design Thinking

📚 12 Design Books For Your 2018 Reading List

📚 How To Prepare For The Future Using Strategic Foresight

 

Tags: Human-centred Design, Design Thinking, Overlap