What is Field Guide?

Outlook good

A 4-day, full immersion experience to learn and practice design thinking. Field Guide is led by experts with backgrounds in design thinking methodology from places like Stanford and IDEO. They use it constantly in their work as top professionals in product design, advertising, digital strategy, education, and community engagement.

Hands on learning and active workshops will give you a full immersion design thinking experience. So, that means you’ll be doodling on post it notes, tinkering with prototypes, creating and collaborating with others, and building your confidence and skills to be an agent of change and innovation. You’ll gain skills, confidence, and capacity to implement the process you experienced back at your workplace and in your community.

What is design thinking?

You may rely on it

Design thinking is a systematic approach to innovation based on the needs of the people who use the product or service you’re making. Design thinking is a mindset of action and agility, a process of prototyping and testing. It tests desirability, feasibility, and viability. It’s a tool for productive collaboration in-house or in teams that cross sectors.

Design thinking’s used by innovative businesses, governments, and nonprofits worldwide. Look to Google, Capital One, Umpqua Bank, Virgin Airlines, Toyota, 3M, the Mayo Clinic, the US Office of Personnel Management, the US Department of Agriculture, and the UK Government Digital Service.

Check out these resources for more background on design thinking.

Who is Field Guide for?

Without a doubt

Field Guide is for teachers and school administrators, entrepreneurs and product designers, business and nonprofit managers, elected officials and city planners, artists and engaged citizens – anyone who wants to learn design thinking to become a better and more efficient innovator in an organization or community.

You can attend Field Guide as an individual or a team. Teams that attend Field Guide together will gain a shared understanding of the mechanics and benefits of the design thinking process.

Why is Field Guide the place to learn design thinking? What will I get here that I won’t get elsewhere?

It is decidedly so

People learn best through immersion and practice. Design thinking is about doing, not just reading about the process. Field Guide is intentionally designed to give you time and space to learn, and to cross-pollinate with others innovating in education, business, and social good. With our instructors’ broad range of experiences, attendees will learn how design thinking has been applied in different industries and sectors. The outdoor activities allow time to reflect on what was learned, and talk about new ways to apply it.

I’ve never been to a design thinking workshop and don’t really have an “innovation” in mind. Should I come?

It is certain

No prior experience or massive projects needed to participate. Field Guide is about teaching you skills, giving you time and space to unplug, and being surrounded by other creative people with a bias toward action.

I’ve done other design thinking workshops. Will I learn anything new?

As I see it, yes

It’s worth it! Part of Field Guide’s design is to get you in a restorative and creative place bumping up against other innovators in education, business, and social good. New learning will happen and you’ll get to work with our A-list of instructors, or as we like to call them, guides.

Bethel, Maine is far away! Can’t I just learn design thinking through blogs, twitter, and Medium?

Concentrate and ask again

Bethel is 1.5 hours north of Portland, Maine and 3 hours from Boston. The Mahoosuc Mountain Range will meet you in Bethel, and you’ll be glad for the journey. And, yes, you can read a lot about design thinking, and you’ll start to notice that design thinking is about doing. So, come do with us.

What is included in the registration cost?


The cost of registration includes:

  • All Field Guide programming and outdoor activities.
  • All meals from lunch on Tuesday, June 27 through lunch on Friday, June 30, 2017.
  • Lodging the nights of Tuesday June 27 through Thursday June 30 in Gould Academy dorms. Lodging offered at Gould Academy’s dorms is single occupancy — a twin bed with linens provided, with shared bathrooms that have private showers.

Are there scholarships available?

Ask Again Later

Currently, we are not able to offer scholarships to attend. This may change in the future.

If you are an individual member of the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine there is reimbursement available.

Is there a day rate available?

It is decidedly so

Yes! If you live nearby and can provide your own lodging, you may register for the conference and meals only. We recommend staying at or near Gould Academy to fully experience what Field Guide offers, including sweet outdoor activities in the early morning and bonfire chats at night. Please contact shifrins@gouldacademy.org for more information and to register with the day rate.

Can I get CEUs for Field Guide?

Most likely

YES! Contact Sara Shifrin (shifrins@gouldacademy.org) for more information.

Will there be lobsters and blueberries?

Better not tell you now

There are tons of lobster and blueberries in Maine, but we can’t promise that on the menu. And there are other fun foods to discover in Maine–chanterelles, fiddleheads, and rhubarb. We do promise a healthy menu with a few local surprises.

Can I leave my car at Gould Academy?

It is certain

There’s plenty of free parking at Gould Academy.

Is there a Field Guide pitch deck?

It is decidedly so

Please download our pitch deck here.

A form letter I could use to submit for professional development funding at work would be awesome. Is there one?

Without a doubt

We have your back. Download our form letter here. It’s a pdf form with entry fields where you see blanks.