The art and science of learning at work.
I’m Britt Erickson, the founder of Franklin Street Studio. As we come up on our two year anniversary, we’re launching a blog to be more intentional about staying in touch with our community—that’s you!
Kith is a monthly window into how our team thinks about the art and science of learning at work. We’ll share the latest learning research and theory and how to apply them, spotlight partners who are doing amazing work to advance learning on the ground, and share concrete tools and practices that we use in our own learning at Franklin Street. We hope this newsletter can spark new inspiration, growth, and joy in your own work.
In case it’s been awhile since we connected, here’s a refresher on what we’ve been up to. The Franklin Street story starts in early 2020 (ah what a year to go out on a limb!). Jokes aside, 2020 turned out to be an opportune moment to pause and reflect: How do I want to spend my precious time? What have been my most meaningful experiences and contributions? What really matters most in life and work?
Up to that point, my work had been helping to design and redesign schools across the country. I came to believe that if we don’t create learning environments that foster the growth and happiness of educators—the adults in the system—it’s unlikely that those environments will do so for youth. So I started Franklin Street to help educators reimagine what schools could be: places of inspiration, growth, and joyーnot just for the kids but for the adults, too.
A few months into starting the company, it became clear that workplace fatigue and stasis wasn’t just a phenomena in schools but in workplaces across sectors too. In a study that asked almost 1,000 professionals to list what was most important to their job satisfaction, people listed learning and growth more often than vacation days! But a lot of them weren’t getting the opportunity to learn meaningfully—often professional learning felt impersonal, canned, irrelevant.2
Beyond formal professional development, my own experiences, and that of friends and colleagues, suggested that the absence of intentional learning permeates working environments. Team culture is often stale, sometimes even harmful. Org structures are frequently inflexible. People are tired of leadership either ignoring these problems or tackling them with over-complicated plans.
As human beings, we need to be inspired, to have fun, and ultimately grow in order to be productive, creative, and motivated. I started Franklin Street to help organizations create the conditions for meaningful learning at work.
… and a refresher on where we are now
In the past couple years, Franklin Street has grown into a company that helps teams explore new ideas, transform work habits, and stoke creativity in all sorts of workplaces. We like to say that we help teams bridge the gap between what’s possible and what’s too often true of learning in organizations. We do this by pulling from both on-the-ground professional experiences and a vast body of research.
We’ve collaborated with amazing clients like August Public, Onward, Embark Education, and Denver Public Schools. We launched The Inspiration Project to help educators think differently about what school can be, by immersing them in innovative schools and other learning environments like libraries and farms. And we learned a ton, which we’re eager to share here.
For example, check out this Q&A with Miguel Gonzalez, founder and Executive Director at Embark Education, on what it takes to create “learner-centered” spaces for kids and adults.
As always, don’t hesitate to drop us a note or let us know how we can support your work. We’d love to hear from you.
2 ResumeLab, 2020