Reach Out! is an initiative of the Inspire Foundation who are dedicated to making the future a great place for our young people.
They’re a bunch of smart, dedicated and passionate people who have used the web well for a long time to help achieve their objectives and to communicate with young people. Young people are highly involved and integral to the decisions made and the projects undertaken.
And they do really cool stuff, like my favourite: Reach Out Central or ROC – a great little interactive environment designed using the principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to teach kids skills that will help them manage their mental health through the challenges of adolescence and for the rest of their lives. If you’re not into CBT, it also has a great Aussie soundtrack, and Joel Edgerton volunteered his time to narrate along with some other special guests doing voiceover.
If you had a spare bit of cash to donate to a worthy cause, you could do a lot worse than get behind these guys.
Disclaimer: I know as much as I do about Reach Out! and Inspire because I’ve worked with them on a number of their projects. But, don’t don’t just take my word for it. They totally rock. See for yourself!
Cameron Reilly posted earlier a story that he heard somewhere about how to catch a spider monkey, or more importantly, how important it can be to let go of the nut.
In order to catch spider monkeys, hunters in South America simply walk through the jungle and drop heavy containers on the ground. These containers have very a narrow top and a wider bottom. Inside the containers the hunters drop a special kind of nut which is particularly attractive to the monkeys. Sometime later, the spider monkeys come down from the tops of the trees, smell the nut, but the tops of the containers are so narrow they have a tight squeeze to get their hands inside. Once they grab the nut at the bottom, their fist is too large to remove if through the opening. And the containter is too heavy for them to carry.
So instead of letting go of the nut, the monkeys just sit there until the hunters come back, pick them up, and throw them in a bag.
The spider monkeys are not prepared to let go of a small nut in order to gain their freedom.
This story and Cameron discussion around it, really resonates with me at the moment. There are some nuts that I’m kind of holding that I think I might need to drop. All of this discussion that I’m engaging with around process and documentation – that’s one nut. There are a lot of people out there who are clinging to the nut (the ‘old’, familiar process) and who are going to be trapped because they won’t let go… but then, at the same time, I think others have just grabbed another nut in place of the other (e.g. Getting Real methodology), which seems like a more attractive nut, but which is not necessarily a good nut. And probably not one worth getting trapped for. (Am I wearing this analogy a little thin?
“SEARCHSCAPES: MANHATTAN” is an attempt to create a tridimensional map of Manhattan, using existing data from the web. The objective is to compare the city’s “physical spaces” and “information spaces” (search results). In the continuing theme of me hunting for cool map interfaces. This one is pretty cool.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me