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Connecting Science and People

Last month, Jalene Littlejohn, Katelyn Hale and Olivia Guethling of Samara Group facilitated a day-long workshop series titled Connecting People and Science. The goal of these workshops was to engage restoration scientists, city planners, and agency officials about communication, outreach, and engagement strategies. These workshops were highly interactive with discussion of new perspectives and hands on solutions for their projects.

The morning fundamentals workshop combined facilitator presentations, individual reflections, group brainstorming and problem solving, and participant presentations (pictured here) to engage the many learning styles in the room.

The morning fundamentals workshop combined facilitator presentations, individual reflections, group brainstorming and problem solving, and participant presentations (pictured here) to engage the many learning styles in the room.

In the morning workshop, we discussed the highly beneficial practice of incorporating the work of designers early and often throughout the engagement process. Here’s Olivia explaining how Design Thinking can be a useful process for any project.

In the morning workshop, we discussed the highly beneficial practice of incorporating the work of designers early and often throughout the engagement process. Here’s Olivia explaining how Design Thinking can be a useful process for any project.

Each participant of the advanced workshop received a board that visually captured potential communication opportunities of their projects.

Each participant of the advanced workshop received a board that visually captured potential communication opportunities of their projects.

 

Here are four of the resources we mentioned in the workshop:

1) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

We dedicated a large section of first section of our workshop to the concept proposed by Simon Sinek: successful leaders understand their ‘why’ and use it to make their message and work more compelling. What are the core motivations for engaging in the work that you do? Watch his TedX presentation and get your wheels turning about what is your ‘why’!

 

2) Getting In Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns (3rd ed.)

The Getting In Step Guide is an excellent step-by-step resource about implementing community engagement, education, or outreach campaigns to motivate positive behavior change. It’s written specifically for projects working towards improved water quality, but the strategies, tips, and tools provided can be easily transferred to other projects.

 

3) Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Eradication Playbook

Samara Group supported the publishing of Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Eradication Playbook. This resource outlines steps enhancing engagement and project success for invasive species eradications, but again can easily transfer to other projects.  

 

4) The Practice of Empathy Mapping

Empathy mapping is a practice often used by user experience designers to think through the needs and wants of their product users. After researching audiences, community engagement professionals can use empathy mapping to better understand how to frame messages as well as think through ways to distribute information. Head to the Interaction Design Foundation’s website to learn more about empathy mapping.

 

Thanks to all of our participants!

We’d love to hear how these resources have influenced your work. Share your story with us!

The second half of the workshop was designed to provide participants individualized support from our team to review and discuss real-world projects. Each participant left the workshop with a clearer vision and strategy of future moves for their projects.

The second half of the workshop was designed to provide participants individualized support from our team to review and discuss real-world projects. Each participant left the workshop with a clearer vision and strategy of future moves for their projects.

Samara Group Open House!

Last Friday’s Open House event was a success! Over 60 people from 30+ organizations, agencies, and businesses joined us at our new building to share stories, catch up with colleagues, eat amazing food, make new connections, and enjoy the afternoon! We had our portfolio on display, shared photos from our staff field visits over the past year, and also had an interactive corner where attendees could submit an answer to our question and one of our graphic facilitators drew their responses on the wall. It was exciting to watch it fill up over the course of the evening!

What Change do you want to see for the future of Oregon?  Katelyn Hale, one of Samara’s graphic facilitators displays a participant’s answer to the question at one of our two interactive stations.

What Change do you want to see for the future of Oregon? Katelyn Hale, one of Samara’s graphic facilitators displays a participant’s answer to the question at one of our two interactive stations.

A snapshot of what we do  We work closely with our client teams to develop a successful project and showcase the work with professional photography!

A snapshot of what we do We work closely with our client teams to develop a successful project and showcase the work with professional photography!

Our buddies at Sugar Street did an excellent job keeping tasty treats abundant and drinks flowing, capping the night off with some amazing gluten-free cupcakes!

Lots of catching up with colleagues, past and present.

Lots of catching up with colleagues, past and present.

Thank you Sugar Street for all of the amazing food!

Thank you Sugar Street for all of the amazing food!

We were excited to host our community for a few reasons. First, we wanted to introduce colleagues to what we do and our new location. We have a diverse team of professionals spanning facilitation, research, web design, and communication (just to name a few) to provide exceptional science, design, and strategy services. Nestled next to the Hawthorne Bridge, we have a dynamic view of the bridge and the West Hills beyond. It’s a great location for our bike commuting staff members, and for those who drive, it’s easy to monitor traffic, ha!

And most exciting of all: we unveiled our new branding!

Our design team has been working hard on our new logo and website (check it out!), and the concepts behind it. We’ve re-strategized how we talk about our work. Curious about what we do, exactly? Stay tuned for more on that…

 
New logo and brand for Samara Group.

New logo and brand for Samara Group.

 
Our team.  We  almost  got the whole Samara Team! Not pictured: Robyn, James, and Sandra.

Our team. We almost got the whole Samara Team! Not pictured: Robyn, James, and Sandra.


We want to give a big THANK YOU! To all the attendees, clients, colleagues, advocates, supporters, friends, and family who turned out on Friday. We’re happy you came by!