About Lucky

DO WHAT YOU LOVE LOVE WHAT YOU DO MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK

Join our Beta

Meet Sort!

We’re very excited to share with you our long standing secret careers project Sortyourfuture.com. We are now signing up young people who’d like to take part in the Beta phase of the project and you can sign-up here:

www.sortyourfuture.com/beta

Please watch our video to find out more about Sort Your Future:

We’re continually on-boarding organisations as part of our research & development phase – we aim to complete a full launch in 2018.

Tell us what you think hello@wearelucky.org

 

Applying Design Thinking In Your Organisation

BMC_Consultancy-01

We believe that applied design thinking can be an incredibly powerful force within organisations of all types.

We work with businesses, education providers and non-profits to help them create business models, plans, strategies, products and services using design thinking principles and tools.

Workshops and Consultancy for Businesses and Non-Profits

We help organisations define and refine their business models, products and services, using established design tools and techniques. Whether you’re starting a new business or want to transform your existing business, we can offer bespoke support for your organisation.  That might be through a workshop with your team, 1-2-1 Executive Coaching, or consultancy.

“it was a great day from my point of view – and the others all enjoyed being involved and contributing”  Workshop Participant

Workshops and Consultancy for Education Providers

We particularly love working with educators and education providers who want to embed design thinking into their systems, curriculum and practice.  We can offer consultancy, workshops and support in developing design-led resources and curricula within your organisation.

To find out more about how we can help, send us an email at hello@wearelucky.org and we can arrange a time to speak.

We Are Lucky at TEDx

26907561874_b3b733a874_oWe were really excited that We Are Lucky Co-founder Lucy was invited to speak at this year’s TEDx Swansea.  We love TED and were really honoured to be a part of such a successful event in Swansea alongside some other great speakers.

Lucy’s talk was about about how design thinking (and design practice) can impact education – not simply in terms of the teaching of design – but more importantly in terms of how we approach the planning, organising and delivery of education today. She speaks about her own experience of an education that is driven by assessment of the ‘things that are easy to measure, not the things that really matter’ and the impact on her mental health, and proposes a different, kinder approach to designing our education system.
 You can watch Lucy’s talk here, or read the full transcript below:

Transcript:

“Imagine you are five years old. 

Your five year old self is just starting school.  School is amazing. it’s where you meet new friends, you find out incredible things and you get to be a person in your own right for the first time. 

You are five and you are awesome.

Think about what you are learning at school.  You are learning to read stories, you are learning to write your own stories, you are building things, imagining things, discovering the power you have within you.

But you also start learn something else. 

You start to learn how school works.

When I was five I started to learn one thing in particular about school.  

At five I learned that if you get it right first time then you get praised by adults.

I learned that if you get it right first time you get praised by adults and that that feels great.

So I kept on getting it right.

I was a grade machine.

And if I didn’t get the grade, well somebody would pay.  

And that somebody would always be me; because if you learn that the only thing those around you value is the outcome, the grade, the number of right answers, then you start to believe that the numbers are all that count.   

And I believed it all through my education.  

I believed in numbers when by the time I was in my late teens my life felt so out of control, when I felt so useless that I became anorexic.  When my first real knock came I didn’t have the tools to cope, because I hadn’t learned the things that really mattered.  I collapsed like a house of cards, and I clung to what I knew.  

I clung to the numbers – counting every gram, every ounce, every calorie, every inch, every day.  I was addicted to the numbers, and the numbers nearly killed me.  

I was the product of a system where my self worth became utterly dependent on how I and other people measured me, and how that made me feel.

Fast forward more than thirty years and the numbers have never been more prominent in education.  

Right now things are far worse for our five year olds, our children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces.  

Right now we have league tables, we have rankings, we have big data!

We have big data that tells us which are the good schools, which are the good teachers, which are the good children.

But hang on, which are the good children? 

The ones who get the good grades, the ones taught by the good teachers, in the good schools whose good data goes into the big data machine? The big data machine which spits it all out in a table? A table of who is good and who is bad based on who can reproduce the same answers.  A table that creates a panic, a clamour, a desperate rush to get your good child into the good school with the good teachers.

Surely there should be no such thing as a good child, a good teacher, a good school, because in defining ‘good’ we are creating ‘not good’ and equating ‘not good’ with failure, and so making failure so scary to the five year old, the teacher, the parent, the school, that that failure becomes the way they define themselves.

At five children know what’s going on around them.  They know that if they get it right they get a reward, and they start to learn that getting it wrong is something to be afraid of, that it has consequences.  But everyone gets it wrong. In fact surely the whole point of education is to get it wrong and keep getting it wrong until you get it right – that’s what learning is.  

But now it isn’t.  Because we’ve got the numbers. Measured and published so the government and the voters know how many ‘good’ schools there are, how many ‘good’ teachers, and where the ‘good’ children are learning.  We’re testing our schools and our teachers by testing our children.  And we’re testing the things that are easy to measure, not the things that really matter.

And what exactly do the numbers tell us?  That the gap between rich and poor is not closing, that the ‘good’ get better, and the ‘not good’ get worse.  The numbers aren’t working.  They’re not working for the teachers. They’re not working for the parents.  And most importantly, they’re not working for the children.  Because a stressed five year old can become a stressed fifteen year old who becomes a stressed adult and our overloaded healthcare systems simply can’t cope with thousands and thousands more people like I was who are suffering from mental health problems.  

Education, like health, is too important to be left for the market to decide on who wins and who loses.          

So what are we going to do about it?

Well let me tell what changed my thinking, what has slowly but surely broken down my pattern, my reliance on getting it right, my obsession in fact.

 I started to learn about design.  

Now when you think of design you may think first about its outputs – the object, the system, the image.  But I want to talk about the process of design – design as a way of thinking.  

Throughout my career I’ve always loved working with designers but I had never really thought about why.   Until, about five years ago, I started to really learn about how designers learn to think it became clear – and I started to want what they had.  

You see design thinkers learn to tackle complex problems where there will be more than one possible answer. Design thinkers learn not to expect to get it right first time.  They learn that by allowing themselves to generate ideas and fail rapidly, sometimes again and again and again, as they develop their thinking, their understanding.  They learn how to refine, resolve, reshape their ideas into something that works.  Design thinkers are curious, they observe, they listen, they share, they collaborate, and they know that they are not the expert in the issue they are tackling – they know that it is the people who are impacted by the issue who hold the insights that will enable them to create something better. 

For me this was a revelation.   

Where I had previously been surrounded by people who positioned themselves as the expert, for whom failure was an embarrassment, who couldn’t be seen to not know the answer, this was like entering a completely different world.

I believe that education really needs design thinkers, at every level in the system.  We don’t need to throw everything away and start again, but we need to challenge a way of thinking that has drifted away from its core purpose.  The numbers have become the most important output of the system, but this really shouldn’t be the case.  We need to remind ourselves that human beings are the real output of the education system, and that human beings are complex, fragile creatures, each one unique and precious.    

This is where design thinking can help.  By fully understanding the needs of everyone in the system, you can start to design approaches that don’t simply benefit those at the top of the food chain, those who are already winning.  And by accepting that there is more than one right answer, and that failure is to be embraced as a part of the process, you can be more open to ideas, willing to try new things.  

But to make this work we all have to support those in power through this process, and be active partners in it not merely observers and commentators on it. But the good news is that there is already a lot of this going on around the world.  There are several Governments that have become confident enough to develop approaches where the emphasis has shifted towards human need rather than narrow measures of output.  

And at a more local level, there is a groundswell of teacher designers who are taking design-led approaches to their practice (and teaching their students to value the process not just the output).  

In my own work I’ve been involved in projects that have used design thinking to help university students address the hugely scary question of ‘what am I going to do with the rest of my life’, and my latest work has been in designing a ridiculously simple framework that helps learners and teachers establish a shared recognition of the value of some of the key attitudes and behaviours that I wish I had learned at school, like persistence and resilience. A ridiculously simple framework that allows kids to not get it right first time, that rewards the learning process not just the outcome.

How did we do this?  By starting with the teachers and the children, learning about them and their needs, and by injecting joy and encouraging curiosity, through stories, characters, fun.  

And guess what happened.

The kids got – it – they jumped on it – they embraced it.  within a week.  They understood that the adults around them valued more than the outcome, they valued what the children bring to the process. They got it, and they’re 5.

Design thinking provides us with a legitimate alternative perspective from which to  approach some of the problems we have within education.  

It has changed my thinking, and I think it can have an impact on the way we all think about our education system.  It reminds us that everyone in the system counts.  

But I’m not an expert – and I will never pretend I am – I’m a learner, and I ask you to join me.  

Curiosity is the most powerful force that we can harness in education – so imagine you are a five year old once again – a curious 5 year old, eager to learn.  Let’s learn how to design an education that keeps that curiosity alive for every five year old, so they become confident, resilient, adaptable fifteen year olds, and healthy capable adults.  

There is no one right answer here, and that’s the point.   

The great social and civil project that is education will never be finished, and that’s a good thing.  

And the beauty of this is that all we have to do is to accept that we need to keep on learning, and surely that’s what education is all about.

We are creating a monster, an ugly market monster, where the difference between the good children with good parents who have the confidence and wherewithal to get them into the good school at all costs and the others, is growing.  Where we’re leaving some children behind.”

Find out more about TEDx Swansea here: http://www.tedxswansea.com

Introducing Woodland Friends!

Wooldland_Friends_Logo-01Since we published the Island Friends books, we’ve been secretly hatching a plan to develop stories linked to other eco-systems that could help children learn more about their local environment.

Whilst we’ve still got tons of ideas for more Island Friends stories (watch this space), we’ve also started working on a new series called Woodland Friends.

This series will focus on creatures found in the UK’s woodlands, including birds and small mammals, and will link back to our Enterprise Eggs framework which helps children recognise behaviours and attitudes that will help them become successful contributors to society.

Coal tit

Initial sketches for a cheeky little coal tit

So far we have been working on characters and story ideas so watch this space for updates…

swallow

A swallow in the making from our studio

Island Friends for Schools

Island_Friends_Pilot-04We developed the Island Friends stories as a way of supporting teachers and families to teach little ones about behaviours and attitudes that will help them in life.  Each story links to the framework we call the ‘Enterprise Eggs’ – and demonstrates one or more of the behaviours in action (you’ll see which ones on the back of each book).

We’ve been working with a fantastic group of teachers to develop and test a range of teaching and learning resources to support the books and we were absolutely stunned by the positive reaction from the children and teachers who took part in the project, which was supported by Welsh Government.

By recognising resilience, creativity, teamwork and positive attitude teachers and children were able to increase motivation and engagement, and this had a knock-on effect on their learning both at home and at school.

Island_Friends_Pilot-05Our pilot project with schools has been more successful than we could ever have imagined, so we’re now working on ways to engage with more schools who may want to use the framework.  We’ve also been liaising with The RSA to share the results as they are really interested in how design-led approaches can impact education.  You can see our RSA blog here:

The RSA Blog – Adventures in Design-led Education – by Lucy Griffiths FRSA and Christopher Thomas FRSA

Get Involved…

If you or a school you know would be interested in working with us please get in touch via hello@wearelucky.org

Reviews and Recommendations

A few comments and pics from readers, parents, educators and puffin fans…

11215720_498176603681135_5080022037100735787_n 10155005_297411313757666_8908853811100748150_n 1914978_612454988919962_2765928749828353841_n 15403745_746794002152726_1098913488275349012_o 11139992_615665725265555_8194741484349615444_n 10454915_479165082248954_3986294727067210472_n 10530892_613601952138599_3136936765072976985_n 10439401_479364338895695_6520387927067893732_n 10989178_479363512229111_5708681468909230481_nFor a book to actually engage them, and to have a sustaining engagement, for a series of books to have that, there’s not many books out there that do that and I’ve read loads.” Teacher

Children are reading at home! Children that wouldn’t normally read.” Teacher

Can’t wait to see/have more stories!! Got the puffin pal collection, both kiddies love them (and me)” Parent

My class were really taken with the illustrations for the stories; they loved spotting all the detail in the pictures.” Teacher

How to keep a 19 month old happy – always keep puffin pal in your bag. Works a treat.” Parent

We LOVE our Puffin Pal books!!” Parent

My grand daughters love these books soooooo much.” Grandparent

It works!” Head Teacher

I think if you were to ask any member of the staff about the project, it has been a very big success and had a very positive impact on the pupils and their learning.
Head Teacher

Brilliant, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed.” Teacher

For me this is the most holistic scheme I’ve ever seen. I was in year three a few years before and I haven’t seen something with as much detail and the children remember it as well. I’m amazed.” Teacher

“Staff have felt very engaged with the whole process and parents have also liked the feedback that they’ve had. “ Teacher

I’d love to have one for Autumn, Spring and Summer, because we’ve got so much out of it.“ Teacher

They absolutely loved it.” Teacher

They love it, it went really well! You’re on to a winner with these books! Kids love Pal!” Teacher

Fantastic. The children love Puffin Pal. They look forward to lessons and enjoy the characters, the activities and the sticker rewards.” Teacher

… they love it. The activities are engaging and interesting. They are pitched nicely for them.” Teacher

The excitement is tangible when they see the Island Friends logo appearing on the IWB. The project has inspired even those who sometimes need encouragement to participate.” Teacher

Very engaging. We started with the song every day. *** put it on everyday, the song and the enterprise eggs video and it just got them in the mood.” Teacher

They absolutely loved it. Everything is about Puffin Pal, the parents on parents’ evening, all they talked about was Puffin Pal, because apparently, all they go home and talk about is Puffin Pal. One parent even said, ‘I’m Puffin Pal’d out at the moment!’ But in a good way, because the children have loved it so much.” Teacher

It was lovely for them to have a character to relate to, and a friend for themselves, because everything was related to Puffin Pal. It’s nice for them to have an actual character rather than just a theme.” Teacher

The books were fantastic, I really liked them and the children really liked them, all six of them. ***** came up to me today and said ‘Are there any more Puffin Pal books? Are they going to make any more Puffin Pal books?” Teacher

It’s real, an authentic book. We’re meant to make them read authentic books, despite it being a curriculum linked thing, you’ve written it with joy in mind not with teaching in mind, but they ’ve learned loads.” Teacher

The quality of the resources, the books were beautifully produced, the puppet was gorgeous (and he lasted), the whistle and all the stickers were really high quality resources and the children loved using those.” Teacher

The books are good and you can be enthused by books as a teacher, but an actual pedagogical backbone to it, that’s what made me think this has got some clout you know.” Teacher

All the skills in the national framework, Puffin Pal links to them all in different ways, and you wouldn’t think it from the story originally would you, but you’ve worked so hard and took everything into consideration in that respect so it worked really well.” Teacher

“...it’s not just the books, because the books are great, the books are fantastic in themselves, but to be backed up by me knowing that it has curriculum links, so I know I’m justified in teaching it. I’m not just saying to the parents now we’re reading about Puffins – I can just go to the files you’ve given and say here’s how it links to the LNF, here’s how it links to the curriculum, and I can tell my head and anyone else who asks.” Teacher

I feel confident. When I go to plan now, I think, Puffin Pal lesson, right, tick. If anyone asks me about it all the links are there – I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t usually have that kind of security when I do my planning. You can tell, just pick a child, pick a random child from my class and you can tell that we’re doing the work.” Teacher

The first time we realised that it was going to be a huge success was when children who wouldn’t normally bring you anything in from home came in having written the song… they were bringing pictures and just information that they ’d found out. If you go into my room, my Puffin Pal work is on my wall, but all around my wall is what they brought in from home; and every child has brought something. Making puffins out of recycled materials, they ’ve literally inundated us with stuff. Even children whose parents don’t encourage them at home, they ’ve just found a scrap of paper, and drawn a puffin and brought it in.” Teacher

You get the classics, Julia Donaldson will go down well, they love the rhyme, but I think about what elements of it are actually good and I link it to something in Puffin Pal. You think about the repetition in Julia Donaldson and the purple beak thing, that kind of repetition is really good, then the visual, the way the book looks, you’ve got the continuity in all the books, aesthetically they ’re all similar like an Oliver Jeffers book. So they ’ve got all those kind of elements – it’s nice.” Teacher

Free and Fun Activities

thing_to_do-01The Island Friends® stories are designed to help young children develop enterprising mind-sets from their earliest years.  We’ve created a framework of seven key characteristics, the ‘Enterprise Eggs®’, and each of the stories features one or more of these characteristics.

To support teachers, parents and others in education to develop these themes from the stories and link them to the broader curricula for children 7 and under, we’ve developed a series of guides and downloadable resources and activities featuring Puffin Pal and his Island Friends®. Download the guides and resources for free below, and please do send us any ideas you have or pictures of how you’ve used them!

Parent and Teacher Guides

Intro Guide – About the stories and the Enterprise Eggs Framework
Book 1 – Welcome Home Puffin Pal Parent and Teacher Guide
Book 2 – Pal and the Surprise Party Parent and Teacher Guide
Book 3 – Pal’s Journey to the Centre of the Island Parent and Teacher Guide

Downloadable Resources

Puffin Pal Outline
Lucky Island Outline
Storyboard Activity
Creature Cards and Blanks

UnLtd Award Winners

C&NN

 

More Island Adventures!

The next three adventures for Puffin Pal and his Island Friends are go!

Welcome_to_Island_Friends-01We’ve just returned from a fantastic few days on Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire coast, where we’ve started writing again.

LighthouseSkokholm and nearby Skomer provided the inspiration for the first three books, so it was great to go back this year to start work on the next three stories.

Lighthouse_Workstation

 

We set up camp on the windowsill of the lighthouse and Wardens Rich and Giselle were amazing in helping us out with character ideas and making sure we got the anatomical and behavioural details right.

Puffed_PuffinThe island and its wildlife are truly amazing, and with puffins casually wandering around our feet it was easy to forget the real world and immerse ourselves in writing the stories.

Shearwater_chick

 

 

 

We even got to hold an unfeasibly cute and fluffy shearwater chick. We featured one in the first three books but ours is still nowhere near as cute as the real thing!

If you want to truly get away from it all, you can’t beat the tranquillity of Skokholm – and you can get a piece of it every day by reading Rich and Giselle’s blog and following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, time to get storyboarding…watch this space for an update on progress with the next three books, and sneak previews of the titles.

Upcoming Events

If you’re looking for a family day out this summer, we’ve got two family readings of the Island Friends stories coming up in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales – come and join us.

Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran 25th July
Skomer Island, 8th August

Watch This: Why We Need to Teach Thinking Skills

Are we teaching young people to be followers not leaders? We’ve been reading Seth Godin’s ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’ this week – and as a result discovered this brilliant TEDx talk from Dr Derek Cabrera.

Dr Cabrera explains why we need to teach young people more than just how to be good at school  – we need to teach them how to be good at life…and for this, they need to learn four key thinking skills.

A must watch for educators, parents, and anyone who believes in the transformative power of learning.

Find out more about Dr Cabrera’s reasearch at: http://www.cabreraresearch.org

Stockists List

Book_CoversWhere can you buy the Island Friends books?
Buy online here – or pop into one of these fabulous stores…

Broad Haven, Pembs

Purely Pembrokeshire

Cardiff

National Museum Cardiff

Cardigan

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
Welsh Wildlife Centre

Cheltenham

Courtyard Books

Dale, Pembs

The Old Stables Heritage Centre, South Street, Dale, Pembs.

Marloes

Clockhouse

Lockley Lodge

Marloes Village Store and Post Office

Narberth

The Golden Sheaf Gallery

Ramsey Island

RSPB Ramsey Shop

Solva

Window on Wales

St Davids

Oriel Y Parc

Thousand Islands Expeditions

Window on Wales

Swansea

National Waterfront Museum

Mission Gallery

Ystradgynlais

Number 7, 7 Commercial Street, Ystradgynlais, Ystradgynlais, SA9 1HD

…and many more.  Please contact the Welsh Books Council for distribution details.