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Making Fun and Innovation Happen on a Shoestring

About This Course

Workplace fun and staff personal development can seem like luxuries & things that employers can only afford to focus on when they’re in a strong financial position, or employees shouldn't ask for when their organizations are focused on survival. But, in reality, it's the places where stress is high, morale is a problem, or raises are out of the picture that really need to invest in culture and employee development.

This Webinar will explore three areas: communication, collaboration and creativity — that newsrooms can focus on to encourage fun, promote innovation and improve workplace culture. Also making the case that change often starts at the bottom and offer tactics and strategies that anyone can champion, no matter your position at work.

Poynter's Katie Hawkins-Gaar, digital innovation faculty, and Ren LaForme, executive director of awesome, for some fun and inspiring lessons that any workplace can adopt.

What Will I Learn:

  • How to set brainstorming sessions that work
  • Steps to make meetings more effective
  • How to put together creative spaces for cheap
  • The benefits of a flat vs. hierarchical culture
  • How employees at any level can affect change

Who Should Take this Course:

Managers or employees at any level who want to build a better place to work.

Course Instructors

Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Katie Hawkins-Gaar is digital innovation faculty at The Poynter Institute, where she geeks out about newsrooms testing out new and exciting ideas. Before joining Poynter, she was the editor for CNN iReport, the network’s global participatory news community. A leading expert in user-generated content, Hawkins-Gaar was responsible for the site’s editorial and social strategy, setting verification standards and leading an editorial team of producers based in Atlanta and London. You can reach her most anywhere at @katiehawk.

Ren LaForme

Ren LaForme

Ren LaForme is an Interactive Learning Producer at Poynter’s News University, but strongly prefers his vanity title, Executive Director of Awesome. He is one half of the duo responsible for #40BetterHours, a project to improve the workweek, and runs the Knight-funded digital tools catalog. He is also the cofounder of ONA’s Tampa Bay chapter and cofounder of Tampa Bay Media & Digital, a meetup group for locals who work in news media or on the Internet.

Born in Lockport, New York, LaForme credits his interest in news to reading newspapers with his grandfather as a child. He earned an M.A. in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in summer 2013. For his culminating work, he created a “Snow Fall”-like online journalism project about the oyster town of Apalachicola, Florida (it was mostly just an excuse to eat oysters).

LaForme has presented for the Blue Ocean Film Festival, Society of Professional Journalists, Association of Food Journalists, Edward R. Murrow Program, ESPN, and more.