"Speed Dating" Style Mini-Mentorship Program

27 Jul 2010 - 1:06am
862 reads
Denise Philipsen

Crazy idea: Would anyone be interested in doing short-term mentoring for very specific domains?

For example: If I'm an interaction designer with little-to-no experience in moderating/conducting usability testing, I might seek out those in the community who are knowledgeable and can offer advice and tips to help get up to speed.  Likewise, I could "mini-mentor" a student who is looking to understand how to better their design critique skills for the real world. 

Each of these needs can be clearly articulated and the time commitment involved could be negotiated to fit with schedules and lifestyles... and naturally, if there isn't a good match between people, just a handshake and a "see you around" could suffice (and avoid the awkwardness of ending a more formal mentoring relationship).

Mentorship is a really great way to develop deeper connections personally and professionally, but sometimes the barrier-to-entry comes down to dedicated time for formal planning (goals etc.) and mentoring.  Can we craft a shorter term "speed-dating" style of mentorship where we can match people up on request for short-term, small-scope,  lighter commitment meetups? Think of a couple of sessions over a beer, a front-porch hangout, evening chat/skype session, lunch - no a year-long commitment, long-term goal setting optional, and as much flexibility and freedom that is appropriate.

The mentoring program through IxDA has its merits, but if an individual is struggling with a new skill/problem/inspiration, can we create a more approachable way to mentor locally?

Mentor program copy as per current IxDA site:


IxDA is an entirely volunteer-driven organization and we welcome your participation and need for a mentor. However, being a mentee is a time-consuming commitment, and will take your hard work and dedication. Consider that you will need to connect with your mentor on a weekly or monthly basis; you will need to collaboratively set goals, and achieve those goals; and you will need to proactively seek help when you need it.

Also, please note - we have an enormous backlog of mentees, and not a lot of mentors, and so it may take as long as a year to match you. 


Thoughts on this?

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