At Project Wayfinder, we are designing purpose-provoking experiences, trainings, and content for students and educators.

As we seek to continue aligning students to passion and purpose, our program has found Project Wayfinder to be an invaluable partner. It is easy to tell a student to find their passion; it is really hard to help them get there. Steeped in the long history of “wayfinders” and bolstered by lively, creatively-designed activities, I would highly recommend Project Wayfinder for any educator looking to unlock the full potential of students.
— Corey E. Mohn, Executive Director, Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS)

Designing FOR the ideal 'containers'

Rather than starting with a set “container” (like a 4 year high school) into which we are trying to insert certain purpose-based content, we have anchored around an idea (purposeful wayfinding) that has allowed us to design even more impactful ways to deliver the same content and message.


The 3 ways we are doing this are:

  1. Providing direct programming for students through our Wayfinder Programs

  2. Designing a scalable and sequenced set of tools and resources as part of our Wayfinder Navigation Toolkit to be used by advisory teachers and school counselors over the course of a school year or multi-year period

  3. Training educators and school leaders in our tools and products so they can be implemented into a high school advisory or counseling program

Frameworks for designing our content

Both our workshops and our tools and resources are structured to move students from awareness to action through 3 high-level phases: deepening self-awareness, developing a focus outside the self, and growing an empowered ability to make things happen.  This is our mission in visual form, and represents a bridging of the internal and external worlds.  Growing as a wayfinder and living a purposeful life means pursuing the intersection of what is simultaneously meaningful to the self, and consequential to the world beyond the self.

Within this meta-competency framework, our programs and tools also develop the following 10 Core Wayfinder Characteristics.  These are aspirational characteristics that take time to develop, and we provide ways for students to see their progress in becoming more like a Wayfinder.

Our Characteristics are grouped in pairs (by colors) to highlight some of the complexities, nuances, and tensions inherent in mastering these traits.  For example...

  • Wayfinders chart their own vision and self-defined path, but also do so in a way that is humble, grateful, and responsive to the world around them.  
  • Wayfinders are fiercely determined and persevere through intense challenges, but also have the awareness to adapt course and be flexible when necessary.  
  • They are deeply self-aware and in tune with their own needs, but balance that with an equal degree of sensitivity to the needs in the world around them and a desire find ways to help.  
  • Wayfinders are driven by a strong sense of curiosity and experimentation, but also take action in a way that is always in alignment with their personal values and integrity.  
  • And while their curiosity and fascination with the world around them develops an ability to form their own thoughts, opinions, and decisions, wayfinders also know the value of consulting and collaborating with mentors and guides on their journey.


If it were easy to develop these characteristics overnight, we would, and so these pairings show students that while becoming a wayfinder is indeed hard work, it is a challenge worth pursuing.   

As students develop these three meta-competencies and ten core characteristics, they will shift their mindsets, develop new behaviors and practices, grow their skill set, and gain confidence applying certain key tools.  For example, our students get lots of exposure and practice using the Wayfinder Compass as a way to both discover new purposeful paths and guide everyday decision-making.

prototype collaborators

During the 2016-2017 school year we are prototyping our programs, tools and resources, and educator trainings with many different schools and organizations across the country and around the world.  

Blue Valley CAPS
Envision Academy
Gunn High School
International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK)
Palo Alto High School
Pearson College
Polynesian Voyaging Society
Stanford Online High School
Thrival World Academy

PW Prototype Partners 2017.jpg
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