Kim Himmer and her husband Keith were playing ice hockey at a charity event when they first heard of The Jonas Project. They had always loved ice hockey and never turned down a chance to play – it reminded them of the first time they met at the Naval academy, (Kim played on the men’s team) and became “teammates ever since.” So, when they had the chance to play for a good cause, they were in. After the game, an old friend of theirs from the Wounded Warriors team approached the couple. While catching up, Kim mentioned their recent retirement and their desire to start a business together.
“Get out a pen,” her friend said, “and write this down: The Jonas Project. They will help you.”
She wrote it down, but wouldn’t contact The Jonas Project for several months. Kim knew there was a lot she had to do to bring her idea closer to a functional business model.
The idea had come to Kim swiftly, years before, after enduring a frustrating day of mandatory online training for her job as a military professor. The program was patronizingly gamified, with annoying alerts that awarded you meaningless badges and trophies every time you answered a question correctly. The power-point structure and condescending language infuriated Kim, who came home and vented to Keith about it, saying “There has to be a better way we can train our sailors.”
Once the seed was planted, Kim and Keith snapped into action. Kim went back to school to earn her Masters Degree in game design, and Keith earned an MA in Adult Education and Training. They wanted to equip themselves properly to accomplish what they knew they could do: create a better teaching model for adults.
Kim and Keith were still both working full-time, going to school, and doing research on traditional learning in their (sparse) free time. They found that most teaching structures are pedagogical, an ancient educational model that focuses on the dissemination of basic skills. It is very effective with children, but has somehow become the “norm” for both children and adult learning. As you can imagine, adults don’t appreciate being taught like children. Kim began researching andragogic teaching methods, with are experiential and focused on practical problem-solving. She knew that this was the model she would need to structure everything else around.
Nights of research turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Kim and Keith had never lost sight of their goal, nor had they lost the slip of paper with The Jonas Project’s information. They were finally ready to take their dream to the next level.
After their first phone call with David Hincapie, Senior Capacity Builder, Kim looked at Keith and said “It’s so refreshing to finally have a cheerleader.” They knew their business, Articulated Python, was ready.
Team Himmer grew to include all the cheerleaders from The Jonas Project. While Kim and Keith had many strengths, they also knew their weaknesses, and they were assigned a mentor who could help them the most. Yair helps the couple with the “fiscal nuts and bolts,” finding and quantifying value, and happily sits down with them for hours at a time to go through each line item one by one. “With him,” Kim says, “there are no stupid questions. You finally get the answer to, ‘This is my idea, but is it a viable business model?’”
With the help of The Jonas Project, Kim and Keith have brought their idea to the market – in fact, they’ve created a new one. Their new adult-focused teaching system is designed to prepare service men and women, not patronize them. “At the end of the day,” Kim says, “we just want to help people.”