As my summer draws to a close, I thought I would share three takeaways from the 10 weeks I spent at Accion’s Venture Lab.
MBAs Across America is a nonprofit focused on getting MBA students working with small businesses across America -- helping them do anything from identifying their brand and market positioning to understanding inventory costs. The premise is a 6-week cross-country road trip to spend time with, listen to, and build a relationship with entrepreneurs who are changing their local communities. This year the program includes 32 students who are working on master's degrees in business administration hitting the road to work with 48 entrepreneurs in 26 cities. My team's trip started in New Orleans and took us to Savannah, Nashville, Little Rock, and Austin.
Elevate is a company creating leadership and business academies across Latin America starting with Paraguay, where we were opening the first two schools. Working in a start-up environment I was able to internalize a lot of concepts and buzzwords I was exposed to at Stanford.
After months of construction and planning and one INTENSE week of building set-up, Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep successfully opened on Monday with 448 Transitional Kinder, Kinder, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students.
As I wrap up my internship with an affordable housing developer in San Francisco, I have many things to reflect on and many takeaways from the summer.
Working at UrbanCaring this summer, I got to make and implement a lot of recommendations as to how we could improve the product and service, how we can tell our story to investors, and how we respond to clients and caregivers. Starting again in September, I look forward to staying involved and driving our seed round of funding and our growth plan for the Bay Area.
This summer I spent 10 weeks at Roxbury Prep, a network of three public charter middle schools (expanding to open a high school in 2015) that constitutes the Boston region of Uncommon Schools, a national nonprofit charter management organization. Through the Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship, I also benefited from being part of a cohort of 35 graduate students and recent graduates dedicated to improving public education.
August 8 marked the end of my internship at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Innovation Center.
While a lot could happen in the remaining two weeks of my internship, it's looking increasingly likely that Goodwill of Silicon Valley (GWSV) will be launching a new social enterprise sometime in the late fall or early winter. This is incredibly exciting news - first and foremost because of the job creation opportunities that it presents - but also because it will be stemming directly from my work this summer.
Two early wins catapulted us to the third stage of the design thinking process and moved us to implementation. Our recommendation of adoption of a bar coding system was instantly absorbed by the system - they saw the need, they could foresee the benefits, and most importantly they understood that the cost benefit tally tilted in favor of a go. Tenders for scanners and printers were issued within a week with an on-site implementation timeline as early as the end of August. Our second big win was permission to host a conclave of deputy and assistant registrars across departments. Their job descriptions were similar but their approach different. There were several pockets of excellence but limited institutional know-how. We often found during the course of our interviews that one team's challenge had already been resolved by another team's innovation. We hoped to create forums of thought exchange and ideation amongst this group of peers, and the conclave did definitely provide that. The surprise win however, was the unintended impact of empowerment where several officers internalized their ability to cause change and affect process efficiencies in their departments having seen the initiatives of their peers.