Schuyler Media Network

How do we inform the public about our community happenings and promote Schulyer as a great place to live, work, and raise families? 

Design Thinking

Over the course of 11 weeks, my wife Katie and I facilitated a multi-session visioning process for a group of community leaders in the town of Schuyler, Nebraska. The project was organized by a very rambunctious economic development coordinator who also happens to be my father-in-law. On six separate occasions, we drove 68 miles west to downtown Schuyler to the Homestead Center, which is the home of Schuyler Community Development. While there, we tried to answer this very important question: Who is going to provide local news content for Schuyler?

After the town newspaper closed its office, the purpose of the strategic visioning and planning sessions were to provide direction for the creation of a Schuyler Media Network that could effectively inform the public on local happenings, as well as promote the community as a great place to live.

A small group of dedicated, community-minded folks were now volunteering their time and energy to make this happen. Totally my kind of side project. It was also an opportunity to enhance my own skills for conducting workshops that fit within a design thinking framework. And it was a chance to collaborate with Katie and her father.

From late August through early November, we facilitated six hour and half long workshops with 6–14 participants, complete with large easel pads, sharpies, a whole bunch of Post-its, and nicely printed presentation decks. Some of the worksheets are shown here.

The Brand

And, of course, I never pass up an opportunity to lend my graphic design skills to a community effort. To get people excited about the outcomes of the process, we created some branding for the vision that was established. Schuyler Media Network now had a logo that breaks down this way:

  • We start with a sun as an ode to the Schuyler Sun logo.
  • The sun is surrounded by dots representing people coming together.
  • A network is created with people connecting to each other through the sun.
  • Bright yellow with a bright blue and green horizon to speak to an optimistic community.

We set out to inform the public and promote the town through the formation of a new entity: the Schuyler Media Network. You can catch up on the real-time process here.

In the Session 6 we turned over the strategic vision and plan. Empowering our community with reliable, relevant and accessible information was the vision. From the beginning, a SWOT analysis set us up well and we felt the long- and short-term goals established by the participants would get the town of Schuyler, Nebraska to that vision in five years. 

All in all, not bad for a small group of dedicated, community-minded folks who volunteered their time and energy to come up with something that could help bring the town together.

Read the full story: Strategic visioning in small-town America on Medium.

A collaboration with the ever-so-talented Katie Kemerling.

2015:  Community, Workshop, Graphic Design

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