Leader Hats: A Deck of Styles

The Leader Hat cards are a playful way to think about how your leadership approach can impact others. The Leader Hat cards represent different perspectives that you can adopt when approaching various aspects of your work. We all wear different hats. Which hat do you wear best? Which hat would you like to try on?

Leader Hats: A Deck of Styles

Leader Hats cards can be used as a powerful tool for leaders and teams in areas such as:



Peer-development and training

Action research

Appreciative inquiry 

Group and individual reflection

Building a Community of Practice: A Deck of Lenses

This nine-card deck offers a playful way to engage members of a community of practice in collaborative dialogue, reflection and strategic planning. This original deck of cards draws inspiration from The Art of Game Design. We designed our cards to help people define what makes a community of practice strong and what could make it even stronger.

Today, the learning needs of educators, both formal and informal, are shifting at alarming rates. Our Deck of Lenses is one of the many ways Convergence helps support communities of practice by offering powerful strategies for generating critical new knowledge that can help people transform their practice and accommodate ongoing changes in technologies and learner needs. 

There are a myriad of ways to use our CoP Decks of Lenses cards, both in person and virtually.  Each of the nine cards offers a simple, focused prompt to discuss, allowing folks to dive deep into important considerations without being overwhelmed by the task of improving every aspect of the work. Download the cards and test them out. And let us know how we can help build your CoP!

Chicago Public Schools Office of Equity

Chicago Public Schools established the Office of Equity in 2018, and the Equity team jumped immediately into the ambitious goal of releasing a districtwide framework and accompanying tools for the work. 


The Equity Office tapped Convergence to help with designing the tools and thinking through the experience of those who would implement change ideas in school contexts. 


Convergence conducted design strategy for the Equity publications and surrounding user experience. We were responsible for the graphic design for the CPS Equity Framework, Equity Tools, and corresponding Companion Guide featuring High Impact Change Ideas. Throughout the process, we helped to develop ways to guide users seamlessly through the tools. In 2020, we will produce accompanying multimedia pieces for documentation and storytelling.

Convergence Design Lab listened to me think and came back with design ideas that enhanced our strategic thinking. They  helped make complex concepts for equity easy to understand using design elements that never would have occurred to us.

—Dr. Maurice Swinney, Chief Equity Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Digital Atelier: Designing Connected Learning Spaces

How might we design a replicable model for a safe, creative and learner-centered environment that shifts the traditional concepts of “schooling”?

That was the challenge posed to Convergence by a U.S. Department of Education Investing in Education grant. Convergence joined forces with Tilden High School in the Back of the Yards, Chicago to create the Digital Atelier (DA), a new kind of learning environment where students could explore interests on their own without the structure of a top down “adult-driven” curriculum.

We partnered with Archeworks, a non-profit design lab, to undertake an eight-month participatory design process to visualize the space. A comprehensive toolkit was developed so that other schools can replicate the process.

The students’ vision for a youth-centered culture and digital learning space sparked such excitement that nearly a dozen other organizations came on board. Convergence then brought in digital media mentors, media artists with expertise in youth development, who could guide students during informal learning time, eg: lunch hours and after-school.  We then adapted Digital Youth Network’s connected mentorship model, a pedagogical framework based on interest-powered and peer-supported learning. 


Mentor Hats

The Mentor Hats card deck offer a playful way to think about how your facilitation, teaching, or mentoring style can impact learning. They are ideal for sparking conversations among educators as part of a facilitated workshop.

Mentor Hats Cards

As educators, we all wear different hats. Which do you wear the best? Which would you like to try on? The cards can be used to play a more structured game, or they can simply be used as a discussion and reflection tool to shake up how you approach teaching.

Spy Hop: Building a Resilient Learning Community


Spy Hop is youth media organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah providing over 18,000 youth, ages 9 to 20 with scaffolded programming in film, audio, music and design. Programs take place at its center in downtown Salt Lake City and across the state, in collaboration with schools, other community-based organizations, and Utah’s juvenile justice services. Working collaboratively with their peers and guided by professional media artists, students explore their creativity, identity and career and higher education interests.

Musicology Students from Spy Hop


Spy Hop needed an external evaluator that truly understood the unique and complex role of youth media organizations in amplifying youth voices and advancing youth agency and civic engagement. This meant creating an evaluation plan that would not only look at youth gains in media arts skills, social, emotional development and academic knowledge, but would examine the impact of youth media on audiences, communities and societal perceptions of youth. One of the unique challenges was to better understand how Spy Hop might use innovative audience engagement tools to elicit deeper and more meaningful insights around adult perceptions of youth experience. 

Outcomes Mapping Workshop led by Convergence


We designed a new logic model and theory of action, created a rubric and assessment system based on real world competencies and authentic performance tasks, and aligned learning outcomes to national standards in SEL, media literacy, STEAM and media arts. We also trained Spy Hop teaching artists to build a community of practice in order to reflect on and improve their pedagogy. We worked collaboratively to develop a series of innovative audience engagement strategies. We are now building an alumni study to measure longitudinal impact. Check out our case study on Spy Hop’s virtual programming response to COVID-19 and our 2018-19 Evaluation Report.

Design Thinking Workshop led by Convergence

Professional Development for Library Workers


ALA is committed to sustaining community engagement work in the field. Over the recent years, the Libraries Transforming Community initiative has worked to build the capacity for library workers to improve the well-being of their communities by equipping them with the skills necessary to listen to and lead conversations on important local and national issues. A more robust array of professional development materials fostering this work in libraries is a priority of ALA.


ALA’s Public Programs division approached us with the need for a more dynamic way to provide professional development to libraries in small and rural communities. Utilizing the content of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, ALA was interested in offering engaging learning experiences in order to build the facilitation skills of library workers.


We designed a series of multimodal interactive e-courses that armed these adult learners with a powerful new set of community engagement tools. We took a “project-based learning for adults” approach, grounding the courses in the real, nuanced experiences of library workers in small and rural communities. The courses centered the voices of library workers speaking about their experiences navigating the complex world of community voices, varied needs, politics, and conflict transformation. We built resources, interactives, and custom conversation planning tools in order to guide learners to create a concrete, usable plan for facilitating community conversations.

Convergence Design Lab is highly professional and flexible. Margaret, Mindy and team were fantastic about working with us and our project partners to develop an eCourse that is engaging and well-designed. The eCourse has gotten a great response from participants. We can’t recommend them highly enough.

—Samantha Oakley, Public Programs Manager, American Library Association

We are Spy Hop: Showing Up During COVID-19

Spy Hop’s robot delivers video equipment to students at a safe-distance


During the COVID-19 outbreak, Spy Hop, a Utah-based youth media organization, effectively engaged several hundred young people in media arts education locally and nationally by swiftly pivoting to a bold experimental virtual approach. A study conducted by Convergence Design Lab reports that while many youth-service organizations furloughed staff and paused operations during COVID-19, Spy Hop adapted quickly and delivered virtual programs to a geographically and age diverse population of youth using principles grounded in connected learning.

“While many organizations seem to have floundered with the displacement of familiar programs, Spy Hop has managed to turn its lemons into lemonade,”


We are Spy Hop: Showing up During COVID-19 is a 16 page ethnographic chronicle that vividly describes the challenges and decision-making process that occurred at Spy Hop between late March and early June 2020.

The report finds that Spy Hop succeeded as a direct result of its facility with three particular organizational behaviors and that these behaviors shed light on what collective resilience looks like in action.


Mindy Faber and the incredible Convergence Design Lab are invaluable partners, collaborators, cheerleaders, advisors, and friends. Their work has pushed Spy Hop and our teaching staff to deeply examine our pedagogy and push us to be better, to do better, to be critical thinkers of our own work. Through our partnership, Convergence Design Lab has given us the insight, guidance, and tools to empower us to better articulate our positive impact on the youth we serve and our place in the world as change-makers.

—Matt Mateus, Deputy Director, Spy Hop