KCA London / Mishkat presentation - delivered by Leila Chapman at ECSITE, Toulouse 2011.
The untold story of MishkatHow did a bunch of passionate creative young believers create the first of its kind science center in Saudi Arabia? ECSITE Annual Conference Toulouse, France June 31, 2012
Who we are:Leila Chapman (Schembri)• I look Arabic, my name is Arabic, but I am not Arabic• Introducing KCA London (www.kcalondon.com)• Azerbaijan, Syria, Saudi Arabia• KCA London role on Mishkat: Design, Content and Operations• Role as part of the Mishkat team: Learning Consultant
Who we are:Marwa AlMadani• All the way from Saudi Arabia!• Joined Mishkat in 2011• Content Manager for Mishkat, part of the Learning Team
We are going to talk about:• Mishkat – the what, the why, the how• Staff recruitment and training – focus on Facilitators• Keeping staff motivated and engaged• The results• Future challenges & opportunities
Introducing MishkatThe Interactive Center for Atomic andRenewable Energy• Initiative by King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE)• The first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, the first alternative energy focused science centre in Riyadh• Super fast design and build programme• Primary audience students aged 6 to 18 Aug 2010
Introducing MishkatThe Mission:“...To support Saudi Arabia’s ongoing central role in the energyeconomy by inspiring the Saudi youth of today to be the energyinnovators of tomorrow. Bringing together engaging andinteractive exhibitions and events Mishkat will bring to life pastand future innovations in the way we generate and use atomicand renewable energies, celebrating and inspiring Saudi andworldwide achievements.”
Learning: at the heart of MishkatInspired by:The Science Museum, London‘People are the best exhibit’ Taizo Miaki (Ontario)Choosing a philosophy – attain respect from scientific communityDavid Pearson (Science North & Laurentian University)
Finding our team of inspirersOur worries:All recruits had to be Saudi – restricted the poolLimited work experienceInformal learning an alien conceptNo culture of visiting Museums, Science Centres, or visitorattractions – it’s the mall!Lack of popular culture referencesNeeded great boys and girls – two equally good teams!How do you reach the right people?
Finding our team of inspirersStrategy:Tapping into youth-focused initiatives: New grads, privatecolleges, volunteering based organizations…Reach them through social networks – BB, Facebook, TwitterGet to know the candidates as individuals through the interviewsAssess personal qualities What made them tick…Assess communication skills Presentation exerciseAssess initiative and audience empathy Role play
Finding our team of inspirersResult:• 120 interviews in 4 days (Phase 1)• A mixed bag…• Quality of ladies much higher than males• Recruited: VSA’s, Communication Officers, Content Manager, Administration staff, Finance Manager, Network Support• Found seven candidates with the right qualities to be inspirers FACILITATORS
Facilitator Development Build Hire them Build responsibility enthusiasm Reward them Inspire them SUPPORT CONTINUTYBuild Buildexperience confidence Challenge Immerse them them Build skills and knowledge
Facilitator DevelopmentInspire them• Part of creating Mishkat – onsite whilst being built!• Familiarity with the exhibits• Meet the wider project team• Time with Director and project leaders• Understanding of, and belief in, Mishkat’s purpose
Facilitator DevelopmentImmerse them – The Science Museum
Facilitator DevelopmentImmerse themFive day training at the Science Museum with constant mentorUnderstanding the purpose of Museum’s and science centersApproach to life enhancing experiencesLearning theory – constructivismShadowed explainers, spent time on galleryOpportunities to be creativePresentation skills training
Facilitator DevelopmentChallenge them – onsite training
Facilitator DevelopmentChallenge them – Energy Show training
Facilitator DevelopmentChallenge them – trial visits
Facilitator DevelopmentReward them – celebrate success
DiscoveriesNotes from the trainerConstructivist approach to training appealedThirst for knowledgeEager for feedbackPride in Mishkat and their new roleBiggest challenge: fear of failure and responsibilityBiggest reward: growth as individuals (Moe) and as a unitedteam that learn from each other
Mishkat todayEngaging and inspiringvisitors(4265) children reachedthrough school visits so farAverage of (7) visits per dayA host of VIP visits, includingMinistries & PrincesPreparing for family visits in(2013)Trial outreach events (2)
Keeping going…Supporting personal growth• A mission driven environment• Have forums for sharing experience and ideas• Encourage initiative and creativity• Trust and space to take calculated risks• Accept and learn from mistakes
Keeping going…Supporting professional growth• Set aspiring targets• Encourage self assessment• Development is at the core: 50% development time, 50% delivery time• Flexible job descriptions – can try new things
Keeping going…Maximize benefits from staff investmentRecognize what experienced Facilitators can bring toother projects or areas of the organizationAssign new hires to shadow project team leaders,seeing Mishkat from a different perspective
Keeping going…Learning from the visitors experienceBuilding relationships with teachers and specialeducational needs groupsEncourage dialogue through social networks.. busyTwitter feed!Constant evaluation of experience – quantitative andqualitative
Keeping going… Children’s feedbackNice beyond words. And I hope that eventually what the thingsMishkat has will be a reality all over the world.It is an amazing center. Contains all of the energy types, I got tolearn how to generate energy by a number of ways, which Ifound quite enjoyable.Indescribable definition of awesomenessMishkat enabled us to discover.I want to live here!!!
Keeping going…Teacher’s feedbackWhat distinguishes Mishkat the most, is the modern andcomfortable ambience; the high-tech facilities; the refinedbehavior, reception and arrangement; the encouragement ofscientific thinking and creativity and the relevancy to the schools’curriculums.Mishkat is where the young inventor belongsThe auditorium and all the facilities were fun, great and helpful.The facilities enable love of scientific research and encouragestimulation of the interest in motivating young generation on theimportance of researching energy through their surroundingenvironment.
Keeping going…Feedback about theFacilitatorsThe constant engaging of the facilitators helped usdevelop new conceptions and thoughts.Great job with great ideas of teaching. Theemployees were cooperative! Perfect!The staff cheerful and obliging.Thanks to the facilitators for their promptresponses to the inquiries of the teachers andstudents
Future challenges for MishkatIt’s only just the beginning:• Travelling exhibition ‘Saudi 2050’• Mawhiba Gifted Summer Program 2012• Aramco Summer Program• Mobily Innovation Event• Nuclear Power Plant Virtual Tour Film• Visitor program for teenagers• Atomic Energy Discovery Box• Discovery Box for children with special educational needs…
What we have learnedRecommendationsRecruit rapidly yet carefully – not looking for actors, but genuineinspirersHave a common belief and purpose, and involve everyone in itInvest, invest, invest in your staffCreate clear structures, and a culture of supportDon’t expect perfection! Expect growthSeek partnerships for improvementSeek new challenges – never ‘that’ll do’, but ‘what else can wedo’