Jumping into Logic Models: Reflections on the Curious Cat Activity

It’s been a long while since my division talked about the logic model we wanted to develop for ourselves.

So long ago that since the introduction (playing my rich uncle!) activity…

  • we have hired a new research analyst
  • I have changed departments, positions, and have a new title
  • the season changed

I’m sure there is more, but a list of all that has occurred in three(ish) months is dramatic.

To jump back into logic modeling mindsets, I created a game that was similar to My Rich Uncle – The Curious Cat (or “party cat” if your crowd is adventurous).

The game came about when the team had trouble describing what and why we do certain things. It’s hard to list off every task you do at work on the fly. We got lost in the trees then flew too high to see the forest at all. What counts as an activity? Should we all mention answering emails as an activity? A lot of us have similar tasks, so what was the best wording that could describe those things as a whole? Were those activities or outcomes then?

The Curious Friend activity sketch
Julie and Ron discuss “Activities” 

The Curious Friend game goes like this: You’re having a night out with friends and have just been introduced to someone new! Your new friend is curious about what you do for a living but doesn’t seem to understand what your job title is or department does. Your new friend asks some follow up questions to get a better idea about what [division name] does at [College]…

After having everyone first decide on the location they were at and the name of this new friend, a cartoon of a cat wearing a birthday hat asks, “What do you do in a typical week?”

We listed serious tasks and silly ones (“driving Sue crazy” was a favorite) individually. It was a good start and a way for everyone to take a step back and stop thinking about “what we do all do that is the same?”

Our party cat friend then asked, “who benefits form what you do?” A lot of us got stumped. Who counts as a stakeholder? We aren’t a student facing department, but how does our daily work affect student’s experience?

Finally, the curious party cat asks, “what do they gain from your work?”

After 7(ish) minutes, we got together in small groups, breaking apart typical cliques so that everyone paired with someone they don’t usually interact with. This was great for a division made of two departments that are similar, but don’t often get to chat with each other often enough.

As a whole group, we dialogue’d about what contributions to the College we make as a whole. One comment that came from our group dialogue that really stuck with me was, “being a liaison and subject matter expert”. We chatted about how in meetings, when there is a question involving data at any level, all heads turn towards us. We are the go-to for all things data dictionary and history. We are the go-between for different departments who need to send each other information. We provide insight and knowledge and understanding. These aren’t tasks listed in our job descriptions, but they are the outcomes of our What’s.

Next steps, compiling our giant list of activities and outcomes. I plan on writing each activity we came up with as a division on a color note card and write all the outcomes on different color note cards. As another activity, we can start looking for what our “short term” impacts are and filling in the gaps between activities and outcomes.

TL;DR: We played another game similar to My Rich Uncle. Party Cat partied and we dialogue’d about our outcomes and activities.

Happy logic modeling~

 

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