Issue Mapping {Phase I: EPIK Alliance Meeting Report}

We had an energy-filled meeting on August 28, 2014. Twenty-four people, including representatives from various sectors (government, education, business, non-profit, faith-based, health) and concerned parents, grandparents, and youth mentors gathered to begin dialogue about the complex issue of raising children in a tech-saturated world. The meeting began with a welcome from one of our community partners, who had offered their Community Learning Center for this meeting. There was also a brief overview of our purpose and meeting agenda.



8.28.14 learning resource center


agenda insert

Participants each received a handout that gave a brief overview about how collective impact is different from typical ways of doing cross-organizational work. Even when collaborating, organizations usually start with their entity’s goals, programs, and initiatives and seek to find others who can help make them more successful. As part of this explanation, participants were encouraged to actively seek to build relationships with each other before and after our meetings to help them do their work, and they were also invited to be deliberate and focused during our meetings toward building a shared sense of purpose and vision. (See p. 6 of Building Capacity for Collective Impact Toolkit: Partner Mapping for the source image for this handout.) isolated vs collective impactParticipants were also able to get a broad sense for the long-term collective impact process. Often in more typical business and non-profit settings, efforts begin with solutions in mind and work toward implementing and improving them. The collective community impact process is about creating space and time for more dialogue. This deliberate-yet-dynamic approach allows for multiple cross-sector players (sometimes including those who might be otherwise competing with each other) to come together with a clear and committed sense of shared purpose. This collaborative process facilitates a synergy for addressing complex community issues and, over time, driving sustainable cultural change. (Table below is adapted from articles such as this how-to guide and this Stanford Social Innovation Review article.) collective impact framework
The bulk of the meeting time was spent facilitating dialogue about the issue at hand. Participants were each invited to write down their thoughts on opportunities/positives/hopes and obstacles/pitfalls/concerns around the issue of raising children in a tech-saturated world. Each person was then able to briefly share what they wrote and why that particular opportunity or challenge was on their minds. In under an hour, the group was able to create the beginnings of a shared issue map. This activity allowed everyone in the room to start to sense the patterns in their collective thoughts, consider nuances that added to their insights, get the perspectives of people from different sectors, and feel the energy of so many concerned people focused together on beginning the process of creating common understanding about the complexity of this issue.

(See this post for more input gathered from people in Utah County and from a student council of 6th-8th graders after the August meeting.)
8.28.14 issue map   8.28.14 issue map positives     8.28.14 issue map negatives

In the last few minutes of the meeting, people shared some of the thoughts they had as they engaged in this issue mapping activity.


8.28.14 debrief insights and impressions

After the meeting, participants were given electronic replications of the issue map that allow them to move each virtual sticky note around so that they can begin clustering ideas. People will then be able to come to the next meeting prepared to discuss more about the issue. Next steps will also include sharing the outputs of the meeting with others who were not able to attend and meeting with youth and engaging them in a similar issue mapping conversation.

If you were present at the meeting, what were your thoughts about the issue mapping activity? What did you like about it? What do you think could have made the meeting more effective? What questions do you have? 

If you weren’t present, what would you have added to both sides of the issue map? Why? What insights and impressions do you have as you look at the various ideas that were shared?

An EPIK Launch!


/’epik/: monumental

On July 7, 2014, a group of passionate people from various sectors in the community got together to launch an unprecedented collaborative initiative to create solutions to help Empower Productive & Inoculated Kids. This gathering was a starting point toward sustained community and cultural change.

At this gathering parents, grandparents, youth, non-profit and business leaders, representatives from government and education sectors, and medical and mental health professionals came together to consider the challenges and opportunities children have in our high-tech world. Children are growing up as digital natives, more familiar with technology than their parents and other adults in their lives. While filters and monitoring are important, they are insufficient to help kids become deliberate digital users. The children of today, and the adults who care about them, face complex issues unheard of in previous generations.

So what is to be done?

No one organization or sector of society can address all the facets of this challenge. But we know that when creative, proactive people get together, amazing things can happen.

EPIK was created to help facilitate a collective impact process, bringing people together (using a recognized framework for social change) to find creative, sustainable, culturally-embedded solutions to help kids be more deliberate in how they use technology. Collaborative partners work together to create a shared vision and plan, and to gather and establish benchmarks and measures for success. Their mutually-reinforcing expertise can be combined toward the long-term aims of the collaborative effort.

At the launch, attendees brainstormed what sectors and individuals should be involved in such an effort.

Epik Launch


EPIK is prepared to provide support for this collective impact process in the following ways:

– Facilitating meetings

– Facilitating between-meeting communications (using various tools, including a customized asynchronous video tool created in partnership with RED marketing and Mike Griffiths)

– Hiring measurements experts

– Hiring consulting services as needed

– Helping facilitate a flow of funding to the collaboration

Are you interested in joining with dozens of others who want to help prepare a deliberate digital generation, now and for generations to come?

Come. Collaborate. Create. Email us at for more information.

Below are more photos from our July 7 gathering.

Epik Launch

Epik Convening

Epik Discussions

Balloons for Hope