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Sockburn School – Microhacking

"How might we create a shared vision of collaboration for our school in order to have effective teams?"

This was the question that Sockburn School staff arrived at after participating in a design thinking ‘microhacking’ session at a Grow Waitaha Eduhui in 2016. A microhack is a fun way to activate and action innovative thinking. This microhack is supported by the UK Council Double Diamond model. The model is fast-paced and utilises the following process:

  • Discover – identify, research and understand an initial problem.
  • Define – identify a clear problem to be solved.
  • Develop – focus on and develop a solution.
  • Deliver – test and evaluate.

In the Eduhui's microhack, participants explored issues around ‘sorting people into collaborative teams’. Teachers reflected on the reality of creating and maintaining effective collaborative teams back in their schools. They recorded ideas on post–it notes about what, how and why this was done. Then they shared, sorted and categorised their thinking.

Discover: Sorting people into collaborative teams (an example of shared, categorised ideas from a group of participants at the Grow Waitaha Eduhui microhack).

Table 1

After recording and categorising their ideas, the Grow Waitaha team gave groups the prompt:

“We need to… because surprisingly...”.

Participants looked at their themes and ideas to craft a statement around this. The aim of this phase is to define the actual problem that needs to be addressed – taking a broad issue and turning it into a specific problem.

Some examples of this included:

“We need to have a shared vision defined because surprisingly some of our decisions are being influenced by the barriers.”

“We need a shared vision because surprisingly it is the foundation for successful collaboration and quality learning.”

The next step in the microhack was to brainstorm ideas to help create solutions for their “We need to…” statements. Participants were encouraged to think of an idea that would be:

  • achievable immediately;
  • something to work towards;
  • a “moonshot” idea – where anything is possible! 

Participants used these ideas to create “How might we…?” statements to effect change. For example:

“How might we create a shared vision of collaboration for our school in order to have effective teams.”

Sockburn School 

The Sockburn School team came up with considerations and possible solutions, which they grouped under a “Learn, Create, Share” model that they use as part of the Manaiakalani Outreach programme. They took the challenge statement above back to their school to continue working on. E.g.

The challenge at Sockburn School: “How might we create a shared vision of collaboration for our school in order to have effective teams.”

The plan:

Table 2


Sockburn School was eligible for Grow Waitaha support to further explore and develop solutions to their challenge question. The scoping process for this allowed the leadership and Grow Waitaha team to identify a real need to understand collaboration more fully. This became the focus of a co-constructed teacher only day in which the following questions were explored with staff:

  • What is collaboration?
  • In what ways do we collaborate in our school?
  • What are the differences between co-operation and collaboration?
  • How can we create a vision for collaboration at Sockburn School?

Initial appreciative inquiry allowed staff to identify the ways in which collaboration was already happening. This was used to unpack the meaning and purpose of collaboration at the school and to create the beginnings of a shared vision. Future actions were then established. These were included in the following themes:


  • keep refining and developing a vision for collaboration.


  • provide more opportunities for unpacking a vision with learners;
  • create more time and processes to support staff collaboration;
  • support new and established teams each year with the ongoing development of effective ways of working together;
  • continue to develop and enhance effective collaborative practice – prototyping in preparation for our move to our new site.

Community engagement and connections

  • develop more strategies to connect and collaborate with our whānau;
  • share our vision for collaboration clearly.

The plan is now to use these themes to inform professional learning in 2017. Engaging with learners and the community is a high priority as the school plans to develop understandings about the benefits of working collaboratively.