The Project Nest: a Place to Generate Impactful Ideas

By Fiona Haze and Maya Sirotin

In early October, as students from all different grades entered school, they noticed that a new room had been opened to the right of the flag hallway. In colorful letters, the core values had been printed on a door. What was this mysterious new room at ASW? 

The Project Nest: open for business. Photo by Fiona Haze.

According to Mr. Zurfluh, the Project Nest is a place where faculty members, parents and students can come up with different strategic ideas for ASW’s development. In this space, community members can brainstorm new strategic ideas to be implemented in the future and hang them on the walls of the room for others to see and add to. Mr. Zurfluh describes the ideas that will be generated as a “bet on the future,” an investment that will help, in time, to bring together the community as a whole and develop ASW for the better. The goal of the Project Nest is not to fix menial problems, but to approach ideas that can be operationalized at ASW. 

Mr. Zurfluh stated that this room was implemented in line with the Board of Trustees’ goal to initiate strategic planning. Although it is not a requirement of the school becoming an IB school, it is linked to the programme and the core values that ASW prioritizes. With the help of the  “Project Nest”, Mr Zurfluh hopes to help eventually accomplish the school’s main mission and objective, which is to have students and faculty “by 2024… spend[ing] the majority of their time managing what they do and designing how they do it.” 

As of right now, Mr. Zurfluh hopes to simply begin generating ideas that can lead to real change at the school. Mr. Zurfluh told Warrior News that the Project Nest is not yet fully functioning, but he hopes to introduce it to the students and the wider community within the coming weeks. He mentions that this will be done at coming assemblies for students. 

But haven’t we had something similar at ASW before? Yes, we have. A couple of years ago, the Project Nest was a tool used for developing ASW’s core values. This was done by a group of faculty members and students. The consulting company NoTosh was also involved and contributed to developing the core values we have today. However, this year, the Project Nest will be used to collect and “nurture” ideas until they become fully fledged projects. NoTosh will also be involved in the Project Nest this spring to refine ideas.

What is going on in the room right now? Currently, a couple of possible projects have been brainstormed by faculty members. The ideas ranged from long-term to short-term projects. Currently, faculty members are mostly concerned with initiating changes in the academic courses, making ASW a more environmentally and sustainably conscious school and advancing ASW technologically. 

Mr. Zurfluh explains that once the Project Nest has garnered enough interest from the community and more ideas are generated, the ideas will be sorted from projects that require little planning to those that are more long-term. Students, faculty and parents will also be able to comment on and add to other ideas by adding sticky notes and notecards. 

In November, Mr. Zurfluh is planning on recruiting a representative from the Board to oversee the projects. Students who are looking to take up leadership roles in specific projects will also have the chance to do so.

Even though the Project Nest is not fully functioning yet, keep your eyes and ears open to see what happens next. 

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