assignments

Individual Assignments

20% Overall Engagement & Group Contributions

10% One Page Case Briefs (10 briefs x 1 point each)

10% Workshop Deliverables (10 deliverables x 1 point each)

Overall Engagement & Group Contributions (10 + 10 = 20 points)

Your overall engagement in and contributions to our class discussion and your group projects will comprise 20% of your course grade. Engagement/Contributions to class discussions (10 points) will be self-rated (with feedback from me), while your group project engagement/ contributions (10 points) will be peer-rated.

Each class session will involve discussions with the entire class as well as one or more challenges addressed in smaller, breakout groups. The purpose of these breakout sessions, as with the group project assignments, is to provide you with the sorts of challenges faced by founders and funders of social ventures. You will work in small groups, develop your solution to the challenge, and then report back to the class so we can learn from each other.

One-Page Case Briefs (10 briefs x 1 point each = 10 points)

By 11:59PM EST the night before each class session during which we have a case discussion, you will turn in (via Collab) a one-page response to a question/prompt related to the case. The question/prompt for each one-page brief can be found in the schedule.

Each brief will be graded based simply upon whether the work is well-written and well-supported (i.e., use of analysis/evidence to support your position). The purpose of these briefs is two-fold: (1) practice being direct and concise with your written responses and (2) getting you in the right frame of mind for the discussion. 1 point for well-done responses, partial point for not-so-well-done responses, or 0 points if a brief is not submitted.

So everyone is on the same playing field for the Case Briefs, here are the basic specs:

  • Please put your first and last name in the header (just in case)

  • One-inch margins all around (i.e., left, right, top, bottom)

  • Font should be Helvetica or Arial

  • Font size should be eleven

  • Line spacing should be 1.5

  • If you copy-paste your text into Collab's editor, the above specs would be around 425 words for a full page.

Workshop Deliverables (10 deliverables x 1 point each = 10 points)

Most class sessions will involve workshops through which you engage with the sorts of challenges faced by founders or funders of social ventures. Our workshops will span topics including: design thinking, financial models, business models, etc. 1 point is awarded for deliverables that are completed, partial point awarded for those deliverables that are incomplete, or zero points if the deliverable is not turned in.

Group Assignments

60% Project Sprints (3 sprints x 20 points each)

By September 28 you will form teams of three individuals, and this team will work together on three group projects (aka, sprints) throughout the remainder of the term. Two of these projects will be submitted as recorded presentations that are viewed by all of us during class sessions, while the third of these projects will be submitted as a write-up during final exams.

You can record these videos remotely, without team members gathering together in a room. Here are some links to provide guidance on recording your presentations in Powerpoint, Keynote, or over a Zoom meeting during which you screen share your slides. Each of these links also provide guidance on exporting and/or sharing the recorded presentation as a video file.

Your clients in these sprints will be real founders with live social ventures, whether for profit, non profit, or hybrid. You will be asked to assist these founders as they look to grow their companies, developing your answers to the sorts of high-level challenges these founders are facing.

The topics for these sprints will be:

  1. Advisory Board and Theory of Change

  2. Funding Partners and Key Metrics

  3. Growth Strategy and Overall Impact

Sprint #1: Advisory Board and Theory of Change

For this sprint, we will work with Charity Dinko of Northshea, a skincare company dedicated to empowering Ghanaian women living in poverty. The project has two main components, with four parts in total. Your project deliverable will be (a) a video presentation no greater than seven minutes in length addressing points (1), (3), and (4) below, combined with (b) the emails (as a PDF file) described in point (2) below. All deliverables will due by 11:59PM EST on OCT 18, uploaded to Collab.

Advisory Board (10 points)

(1) Please identify five individuals that you feel could make meaningful contributions to Northshea as members of the company's advisory board, and provide the reasoning for your selection of each of these individuals. You might use general searches on the internet, LinkedIn, or other sources to identify these individuals. 5 points

(2) Please also compose a brief email (i.e., not greater than one page of text) that Charity might send to each of these individuals — meaning, five emails — providing introductory background on Northshea, the reason for the inquiry, and an invitation to connect and speak further. 5 points

Theory of Change (10 points)

(3) Please outline Northshea's Theory of Change, including the key inputs and outputs of the organization, as well as the desired impact outcomes—both direct and immediate ("first order") as well as indirect or spillover ("second order"). 5 points

(4) Provide evidence that supports a link could exist between Northshea's key inputs/outputs and the key, desired impact outcomes. Also provide a project design through which Northshea could confirm or deny the company is, in fact, achieving the impacts they would like to achieve. 5 points

Sprint #2: Funding Partners, Metrics, and Business Model

For our second sprint, our client will be DataClassroom. The company provides teachers the opportunity to integrate next generation data-skills seamlessly with the learning experiences they are already creating..

The project has three main components: Identifying potential funding partners, outlining a cohesive business model, and defining the metrics the team should measure. You deliverable will be (a) a video presentation no greater than seven minutes in length addressing the points below. This deliverable is due by 11:59PM EST on NOV 15, uploaded to Collab.

Funding Partners & Metrics

(1) Please identify three high-potential funding partners—whether grant-making organizations (e.g., foundations, government entities, etc.) or investment funds (e.g., venture capital)—that would be highly interested in and a fit for DataClassroom. Please provide your reasoning/evidence for the selection of each of these organizations. (five points)

(2) Define and describe the key metrics each of these funding partners would want DataClassroom to measure, and how the company might capture these metrics. (five points)

Value / Impact Proposition

(3) Identify and explain the value proposition(s) DataClassroom offers to its key customer segments (i.e., teachers, schools, and school districts). In other words, why would/are these segments willing to pay for DataClassroom's platform? Provide what evidence/analysis you can to support your position.(five points)

(4) Identify and explain the impact proposition(s) the company offers to key beneficiaries of the service (i.e., students). In other words, what impacts could access to and experience with DataClassroom's service have upon students? Please quantify this potential impact in three ways, one of which is a specific dollar value on a per student basis. Please provide your reasoning and evidence/analysis. (five points)

Sprint #3: Growth Strategy and Overall Impact

Your deliverable for our final sprint will be a written brief, five to seven pages in length with up to five additional pages for appendix materials. The project will have two main components: (1) outlining a growth strategy for the company, including your reasoning behind this strategy, and (2) estimating the overall impact — as social return on investment — the organization might wave were this growth strategy to succeed, including your evidence/analysis behind this estimate. This deliverable is due by 4:59PM EST on DEC 11, submitted as a PDF file, and uploaded to Collab.

You can choose any of the three companies we have connected with this semester—Northshea, DataClassroom, or Sunny Day Fund—as your client.

Growth Strategy

(1) Identify 2 new Customer Segments that you feel the company could/should pursue. Please include not only your reasoning/evidence behind the argument that each of these new segments would want and are a fit for the company's product/service, but also your estimate of the number of customers and the total dollar value of each of these segment (given the number of customers).

(2) Identify 2-3 new Partnerships the client comapny should form in order to best serve either its existing customer segments or one (or more) of the new segments you identified in part (1). Please provide your reasoning for why these partnerships are a fit for the company and how the companies would work together. In other words, don't just identify partners. Also outline as specifically as you can how these partners would work with the client, and how/why this partnership would drive growth.

(3) Using a spreadsheet, in table form, help us to "see" how the projected growth resulting from the partnership you describe leads to both (a) greater revenue for the company and (b) greater impact from the company over the next five years. Please take into account prior and new customer segments as you project this future. You will, essentially, be presenting the revenue streams (per client segment) and key impacts (as quantifiable metrics).

So everyone is on the same playing field as far as formatting, here are the basic specs:

  • One-inch margins all around (i.e., left, right, top, bottom)

  • Font should be Helvetica or Arial

  • Font size should be eleven

  • Line spacing should be 1.5