The Valley of the Chiefs design team completed their Action Lab on Sunday, January 28. This third and final Raising Places workshop brought the team together to incorporate prototype feedback, visualize their concepts, host a community event and plan pilots of their most promising ideas.

In the twelve weeks leading up to this milestone, design team members spent time creating, sharing and iterating their visual prototypes. This meant showing pictures of their concepts to both people who might benefit from the ideas and those who might be able to help implement them. The team even ran some small-scale pilots of their most hands-on concepts!

During the prototyping sprint, the design team used Legos to mock up the town, and invited community members to create and locate possible new buildings (left); as part of an early pilot, a group of residents worked to clear an empty lot of old building materials, in order to make way for new development (right)

At the lab, the design team reviewed participant feedback and made some tough decisions about which concepts to keep, cut or combine. Then, they quickly got to work on communicating each idea, including a name, photo, description, features and a roadmap for implementation. All this information went onto large concept posters, which were displayed at the community event.

The design team works on selecting the best images to convey each idea - from left, facilitator Kyle Newton, design team members Dave Graber, Emerald Parisi, Shane Doyle and Shelly Sutherland  (left); a small group of design team members discusses concept feedback and makes decisions about features - from left, convener Megkian Doyle, design member Quincy Dabney (right)

The concepts from this design team include the following:

Small Business Incubator

A program that provides mentoring and support to start and grow a business.

Lodge Grass Renewal Initiative

A home, property, and public space renewal initiative that organizes community volunteers and a skilled crew to create healthier safer spaces.

Functional Community Center

This concept is a collection of buildings that house a variety of wellness and community-building activities.

Itchik Diiawakaam | Family Healing Center

A substance abuse treatment center that preserves family strength and connection with their community.

Local Arts and Experiences Cooperative

A cooperative that provides local artists with space to create, share, teach and sell their work on an international scale.

Preschool Garden

A garden that is incorporated into the education curriculum.

Community Gathering Space

A cozy cafe that restores hope and happy memories, just like a former restaurant, Cozy Corner, did for many residents as kids.

Positive Message Campaign

An environmental messaging campaign around town that shares positive messages with people living in Lodge Grass.

Crow-Style Leadership Program

An interactive program that equips local and national leaders to share their skills and inspire Lodge Grass community members.

Life Immersion Learning System

An educational curriculum that integrates Crow values and real-life experiences for practical learning.

Some of these concepts are novel ideas, while others are tried-and-true solutions. Either way, the team knows that these ideas are right for their community, right now. Each concept came out of research with residents and stakeholders, was co-created through community brainstorming, and has been grown and shaped by many rounds of feedback and iteration.

At the community event, Megkian Doyle, the convener in Valley of the Chiefs, presents the Raising Places process to residents and stakeholders (left); community members engaged in lively conversation as the design team shared the Family Healing Center, a very popular concept (right)

The community event in Valley of the Chiefs was a huge success. Over 60 people of all ages attended the event held at City Hall. While being served a delicious meal of native foods, our convener presented attendees with an overview of the Raising Places process. For the following two hours, design team members presented their concept posters to individuals and small groups. Together, they discussed responses to their open questions, such as, “How can we make this concept even more beneficial for kids,” and, “If this concept were real, what are the potential negative outcomes?” With all this feedback came a lot of engagement and momentum – many individuals signed up to join the teams working on each concept!

The final component of the lab was pilot planning, where the design team laid out the nuts and bolts of running a pilot  – short-term test – of each concept over the next 2-3 months. They defined who needs to do what and by when, what success will look like, and how to measure it. They will share pilot results at the Raising Places National Convening in April!

If you’d like to get involved with the Valley of the Chiefs team as they pilot these promising ideas, please contact the team’s convener. We look forward to seeing this community continue to transform!