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Gates Foundation

Unlocking the power of principal networks 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation K-12 Education program aims to increase the number of black, Latino, and low-income students graduating high school and pursuing higher education. To support this, they needed a strategy for sharing evidence-based information with U.S. high school principals. Critical was understanding how school leaders used formal and informal networks to obtain and share information serving their students. Insights came from substantial qualitative, quantitative, and networking analysis studies. Empathy-based design artifacts like personas, journeys, and network maps showed how different principals used different networks, influencing their learning and information gathering. This work informed the foundation's strategic planning and investment decisions, helping them be most impactful. It was also shared with educational organizations nationwide.

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Three behavior based segments were identified in relation to the project's objectives.

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Personas were developed noting key goals, needs, pain points, and how that persona utilized their networks to gain and share knowledge.

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Journeys were developed showing the use of different types of networks for each persona and the complexity of information sharing.

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