Once a month, we share our noticings, amplify important voices and keep asking big questions.

Same same, but different. 

Issue Nº 8, March 2022
Hello beautiful people,

I was on a hike this past weekend at Bdote, the sacred place where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers come together. We are in that liminal space between winter and spring here —full of hope and promise for a future of ease and warmth just about to come into being (the buds are filling and there is more sun every day)—and yet at the moment it was wet, messy, challenging, hard work. I felt under-prepared as I sloshed along ankle deep in cold wet heavy snow without the proper footwear while at the same time breathing in the fresh air and the beauty of the place, meeting strangers to talk about the owls, and enjoying how my body felt working and moving early on a Saturday morning. This liminal space is one of contradiction and challenge, but it is also the space of growth, beauty, and connection.

Image shows snow-covered ground with leaf-less trees flanking the sides, and a small water body at the right corner

We are in a similar liminal space in our business: living into ideas about what could be while doing the hard work of unwinding what is. As a feminist business, we are committed to intentionally creating a workplace that works for us, and for our team, and not perpetuating the status quo of hetero normative white patriarchal culture in our work and workplace. There’s no manual for that. It’s often messy and challenging work. There is no getting it “right”. There is only listening, learning, repairing, and practicing every day and in relationship with each other.

Looking back over the last two years, we have put this vision into practice in many ways. 
  • We have reimagined what recruitment, onboarding, care of our team toward new ways of working—practices that are inclusive, non-hierarchical, principles-based, and honor the diversity of our perspectives and experiences.
  • We are moving away from chasing projects that arise from status quo thinking and becoming an attraction and thought-leadership-based business, bringing in work that demands our leadership in complexity-aware design and evaluation. 
  • We are looking at our financial management and business operations through an anti-capitalist lens questioning dominant cultural ideas of productivity, growth, and efficiency.
  • We are approaching our work, our clients, and the challenges we face together with love, compassion, care, and our activist spirits. 
Every day we have an opportunity to question the ways we work, our assumptions, and the places where we are just cruising blindly using ways of working and being that comes from old programming. In this rumble, we find community, joy, and inspiration.

Hit reply, we’d love to hear from you!

In joy

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Fertile Ground

While there is no manual for this way of working that we are birthing and nourishing in our company, we are not alone in our journey. There are many others who are gathering together to imagine and live into a plurality of practices—from the words we use to the way we interact with each other, to how we organize and lead, and even things as mundane as how we track our time. We are called to acknowledge the violent history of capitalism and the many aspects of the corporate, and Western ways of working that it brought into being and perpetuates and imagine practices and ways of working that lift us up and hold us as a whole.

Some of the places we’ve found resonance lately are … 
  • The Spell of Capitalism, a deep dive into the ways in which capitalism shapes how we do business and even how we relate to ourselves, and asks, is there another way? A beautiful curation of reading and bringing together of community to listen to each other, let go and journey together into new practices, we highly recommend this.
  • Dr. Shawn Ginright and the Four Pivots to Social Change: From lens to mirror; from transactional to transformative; from problem to possibility; from hustle to flow. Each of these pivots is foundational  not only transforming how we work as a company, but also the work we choose to do and the seeds we are planting in our sector.
  • Asset Framing offers us yet another way to approach our work and the harm inherent in problem framing. We have long saught to shift from problem to possibility and come from assets/strengths. Trabian Shorters offers new insights to deepen these practices. 
  • We are seeing a growing awareness of trauma and its many layers including the effects of workplace toxicity (see our article on hiring in the Great Resignation), and also seeing cultures of care, and transformative practices for nourishment and healing arise. We have been participating in the Healing Solidarity Collective. A great place to start either resourcing yourself or learning more is this article on Trauma and Design.
  • We use the Team Management Profile (TMP) in our practice as a way of thinking about teams and work in a non-hierarchical and holistic way. We’ve recently become licensed to administer and use this tool with other teams and will share more about our practice and offerings later this year. 
  • Tema Okun’s work on White Supremacy Culture helps us notice, name and bring forth harmful ways of being, offering us opportunities to pause, reflect and transform. We have found this to be one of the most powerful tools for seeing the status quo culture—once we notice it and name it, we can begin to transform it

Let's Work Together

Picture Impact has three clear streams of work:
  1. complexity-aware learning and evaluation
  2. behavior-centered and user-centered learning and tool(kit) design
  3. formative research using interactive, game-based tools for making meaning with people, a natural overlap of learning and design 
These three spaces have offered us abundant opportunities for our learning, unlearning, and relearning regarding our practices and their alignment with decolonizing and antiracism actions.

Find time here to explore an idea with us.
While waiting for my daughter at her trumpet lesson, I spent some time with my old friend, The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero, and here was this nugget. Let's not get trapped in limited imagination iterating on what already is. Let's imagine something different, together. 
Picture Impact is a women-owned small business.
December 2020. All rights reserved.

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