District Resource Center
Based in Chicago, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation’s leading organization advancing the development of social, emotional learning (SEL) for all K-12 students. Through a multi-year grant program, CASEL had developed a set of SEL resources and diagnostic to enable partner schools to assess their level of proficiency and then build a plan to implement best in class SEL practices. Then, after 6 months with a design partner, and with just 8 weeks left to go before launch, they realized that the design for the online resource center just wasn’t good enough. Looking for help, they reached out to their network, and were connected with Goodthings.
Immediately, we set out to spend time face-to-face with CASEL, getting to know them, their mission, values, and how they carried all of this out. One of the biggest challenges would be how to translate the “theory of action”, their language for the outreach strategy, into the organization and visual representations on their site. Solving for this was only possible through spending ample time getting immersed in their operations, even those completely separate from the functions of the site itself.
With an existing set of partners, and an incredibly short timeline, clear boundaries and planning were critical—meaning that even more than a typical project we had to be far more explicit about roles and responsibilities definition. Working in extremely close partnership with their existing development partner, Goodthings collaborated to ensure successful testing, content loading, and launch of the new resource center. Successful execution was enabled by very clear deliverable owner identification, a daily cadence of communication, a detailed schedule, and an aggressive review and approval process.
Ultimately, CASEL and Goodthings were proud of the results. In a short period of time, we produced a fun, lively custom design differentiated from anyone else in the space. The look and feel became the foundation of a brand system that can scale with expansion and new products/initiatives. Ultimately, what started as an initial two month turn around project, evolved into a multi-year partnership, and a critical component of CASEL’s external brand look and feel.