The steps for this badge can also be used to review badges to make sure they fit into the EP and are comparable to other badge programs available.
1. Become an innovator.
Do you have a subject you excel at or are passionate about? Brainstorm your own list of badge programs that you think you could create. On a separate list, brainstorm badges you’d like to earn, but you need to research to create them. From your lists, pick out one. Work through the steps below to create your badge program.
2. Narrow your topic.
Just like a good term paper or speech, if your topic is too broad your exposure won’t be enough to learn anything. Focus your topic. Ask yourself if the members earning your badge will go away with something they can use. Would a more concentrated program on one area work better?
For example, paper crafting is a huge industry. While you could do an “Explore Paper Crafts” to get an overview of the industry and to try a few small projects, doing a program on “Scrapbooking” would give someone interested in just that one topic a lot more information.
Why would a member choose to earn your badge? Write out your answer. This will become the introduction to your badge.
4. Time to complete the levels.
Are there enough steps and activities to give the member 40+ hours of fun in your topic? Remember, the levels are:
- Discover (3-10 hours)
- Explore (11-25 hours)
- Connect (26-40 hours)
- Complete (40+ hours)
If your topic is too narrow, can you add a step that is related to your topic to help broaden understanding of it?
Does your badge program have steps to discover a new field of interest? What can you discover?
- The world
- New skills
Through the steps of your badge program, how will the members explore?
- As a group
After discovering a new topic, or perhaps only a part of your topic, the member needs to continue to engage with it. They will explore the topic in greater detail. As they connect, it needs to become part of them. They may choose to connect by:
- Sharing with others
- Teaching to others
- Enjoying it themselves to a greater depth
- Using it as a jumping block to learn something else
We have sixteen categories. Often, you’ll find your badge program may fit into more than one category. Choose the category that you feel most reflects your program. Review the list and determine where it will go. Badges that cannot be separated or cover three or more badge categories are placed in “General.”
- Games / Sports
- Hobbies / Recreation
- Performing Arts
- Personal / Home
- Recipes / Nutrition
9. Test your badge program.
Do you have a friend who is willing to try new things? Perhaps you work with a youth organization, senior citizens group or even homeschoolers. Ask others to either try it or, at the least, review it.
Expect critical feedback. If someone cares enough to ask questions or make comments, they are helping you improve your badge program. Keep note of what your reviewers say and determine if their comments pertain to your badge program and if you can adjust it to make it better. Also, make sure you say “thank you”, even if the feedback isn’t helpful.
If you aren’t a great proofreader, ask someone else to do it. Any questions you might have should follow the “Chicago Manual of Style” or an equivalent resource.
11. Provide steps.
Completed, tested and proofread steps should be released to the Yahoo! group for their comments. When agreement is made that the program looks complete, the administrator will place the files on the blog as well as create a printable PDF for distribution.
If you want to create your own badges, you can create your own artwork. Request templates to work with or provide artwork to be incorporated into the badges, graphics and certificates. As soon as the badge program is released to the members, you will receive the “Innovator” version of the badge.
Innovating through Adjustments
13. Adjusting other badges.
Innovator badges can also be earned by making significant adjustments to a badge. Usually, the badge will be out for a while and other members will post adjustments, additional steps, etc. that they feel would improve the badge. The innovator would take the original badge and all the comments into consideration as well as his / her own critical thinking on the badge. The innovator may make one of the following decisions:
- Adjustments fall within steps and need incorporated
- Adjustments require steps to be added
- Adjustments require that the badge has become too broad to be effective
14. Creating badge programs from adjustments.
If the adjustments require creation of new program(s), determine if a general one should remain or if there is enough information to create multiple specific badges. You can ask members who contributed if you are unsure for their opinions.
15. Review steps for creation.
Review the new badge program(s) against this list to ensure that it meets the standards for other badge programs. Then, do steps 9-11. You can do step 12 if you choose to or leave it to the group to use the existing design and adjust it for the new programs.
NOTE: Making minor adjustments for typographical errors, grammatical errors or a simple addition / removal does not constitute innovation.
Sites to Explore