Instagram Book Study: What? How? #InnovatorsMindset

About a month ago, George Couros sent me a DM on Twitter asking me if I’d be interested in helping to lead a second round of an Instagram Book Study based on his book, The Innovator’s Mindset. Although his message kind of caught me off guard, those who know me understand that it’s not really surprising that George approached me. Over the last few years, his book has had a tremendous impact on me, and I’ve been hooked every since the very first round of #IMMOOC, so much so that I got more and more involved every time the #IMMOOC rounds came around. This book is a game changer and I recommend it to anyone and everyone who is looking for a good read to get them thinking, reflecting, and who want to grow. Unfortunately, the last time (and the first time) that George organized an Instagram Book Study, I was unable to participate since it fell during the summer while my family and I were away on vacation.

When I received George’s message, I felt so torn. I knew that I wanted to participate and that I was totally honoured that he had asked me, but at the same time, I was wondering if I’d be able to add something else to my plate without cracking. I was also worried about logistics of how I’d been primarily using Instagram for personal reasons and how that would have to change if I joined George in hosting. But, a little voice inside my head kept reminding me that growth happens outside of our comfort zones and that this was another incredible opportunity for me to take a risk. Needless to say, I went for it!

I had a lot to learn about Instagram. Up until that point, I didn’t really know how to make stories and use them properly. Truth be told, I hardly ever looked at other people’s stories; they just weren’t on my radar. But, I was ready to play around and learn. I changed the settings of my account to public and hoped that anyone who would follow me wouldn’t mind seeing lots and lots of pictures of my boys- they’re kind of cute and I just can’t help sharing that stuff! I multi-tasked while folding laundry, driving, and running by also listening to The Innovator’s Mindset on Audible in order to brainstorm ideas of questions for every chapter, and then I made slides for each day of the book study. By the time the first day of the book study started, I was ready to sit back and enjoy the ride while learning with others!

Here’s what I loved about the process:

  • Simple format: one chapter a day and one question a day. I didn’t always have time to read the chapters, but listening to them was totally do-able. With each chapter of the audio book being about 20 minutes, it worked well!
  • Question format: I love that every day, George would post the question, a video reflection, as well as a quote or something else relevant to the day’s question. It was great to see him engaging in the process with us and sharing his thoughts.
  • Time frame: only two weeks. This process wasn’t a long commitment, and I love that in two short weeks (that flew by, by the way), I had new connections, new reflections, and had shared my learning in new ways.
  • Quick reflections: no need to write a long blog post to share your learning; a visual, a quick video reflection, or a comment did just the trick.
  • Visuals: I loved getting to see what others came up with to show their learning! Exploring new apps was also fun in order to create powerful visuals!
  • Flexible: Some days, I had more time to go through responses and posts, other days, I simply had time to add the question of the day to my story. This process was so flexible and it made it much more inviting. No need to stress if I missed a day or two, or more. I did what I could and how it fit into my schedule; you get what you put into it, but putting in a little is better than not putting in at all! As a mom of four boys who works full time, I appreciated this flexibility SO much!
  • Live Q & A: George had two Instagram live sessions of questions and answers which was fun to watch and participate in with others! Again, this was flexible and easy to hop in (or watch after the fact) as it fit into my schedule. During the second Q & A, I actually watched from the hockey rink as I waited for my son’s hockey game to start. Yes, it’s that easy!

Here were hiccups (for me) about the process:

  • I was only able to see responses from people who either commented directly on George’s daily post, or if they posted to the hashtag AND had a public account. If they had a private account, I would only be able to see their posts if I was also following them. Selfishly, although I did make the leap to change my account to public, I wasn’t ready to start following a bunch of new people, not because I don’t want to learn from them, but because Instagram is still the place where I go to see what my friends and family are up to. Unlike Twitter where I just dabble here and there, I still make a point to go through my Instagram news feed to at least glance at every post. That is important to me right now, doesn’t mean it has to be for you, but it does mean that I was limited in what I saw.
  • George would often post the questions after I was already up and at ’em for the day. Thankfully for me, I knew the questions (bonus to making them, haha), but if I hadn’t known the questions, I would’ve liked to have had them to read as I scrolled through my phone before getting up in the morning. This way, the questions would’ve been in the back of my mind as I did the reading for the day and began to formulate my thoughts and reflections. Maybe posting the night before would be a good idea? Or having them scheduled to go out bright and early?

If you took part in this book study and have some feedback to share, please do! We can all benefit from it!

As the end of the book study neared, and during George’s last Q & A live session, he shared that he thought this process would be an easy and powerful one to set up for other groups who were also looking to do an Instagram Book Study. Whether you have a larger group or not, the importance is simply to share learning and to grow along side one another. This can happen just as easily with a small group who shares their learning! Pick a book that you and your group are going to read, make reflection questions based on chapters or sections of the book, and share your learning! It’s as simple as that!

Although I had prepared the questions ahead of time for every chapter (which was relatively easy because as George joked with me, I’ve probably read his book more times than he has, #truth), I don’t think that’s necessary. Even if you are running an Instagram Book Study with a small group, you could just as easily divvy up the sections or chapters so that each participant takes a turn asking a reflection question each day, or just make the questions up as you finish each section. Remember, one of my favourite things about this process is that it is simple!

In case this could help anyone, here are the question slides that were used this round; feel free to use them or modify them if you’d like to host a round! I used easel.ly to create my slides and find this website super easy (and fun) to use – and it’s free!

If you are curious to see more about the Innovator’s Mindset Book Study, I invited you to check out the #InnovatorsMindset hashtag on Instagram, as well as the chapter hashtags (ex: #InnovatorsMindsetCH1, #InnovatorsMindsetCH2, etc.) to see all of the incredible learning and sharing that happened. If you have any questions about the process, please let me know and I will do my best to walk you through it! And if you end up setting up your own book study, whether it be on The Innovators Mindset or not, I would love to hear about it! Happy learning!

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