Here’s everything you need to know about the Lebanon Growth Accelerator sprint phase; and by everything, we mean everything!
A sprint, by definition, is a short program that helps people accomplish substantially more during that time than they would be able to otherwise, lasting anywhere between 3-10 days, though they can be as short as 1 fun and intense day.
It’s loosely adapted what’s known as “The Design Sprint” which is a combination of Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile approach; based on a series of steps and techniques that help enterprises solve their product! In a nutshell, it’s a way for teams to spend a fixed amount of time on core venture development using today’s best practices in a coherent, integrated fashion.
In Bloom’s standard programs there are two main objectives of the Sprint:
- To help teams learn new skills and make progress on their enterprise.
- To help us learn more about the teams during our selection process for the Accelerator.
We’ve found that we learn more about the people and projects through a short Sprint program than is ever possible through an application process and interviews. This is how:
The Sprint allows us to assess the strengths of enterprises, as we are looking for entrepreneurs who can overcome the obstacles necessary to build a great business. This phase of the program helps us to get to know and understand why teams have an unfair advantage over all the other candidates. If you’re part of a Sprint, we want you to highlight your strengths and be upfront about your weaknesses.
Table of Content
What to expect from the Sprint Process?
Selection from Open House to Sprint
The basic criteria for participation in the sprint are:
The application content gives us a clear understanding of the relevance of the enterprise. We assess their video submission, websites and project descriptions for indications of relevance to the theme of the accelerator.
As the accelerator is run virtually, we want to ensure teams are enthusiastic about a virtual experience and understand the process. Hence, we organize a compatibility meetup connecting teams with mentors and each other on Zoom!
Teams need to commit to working on their projects daily! We use our compatibility meetup and the accompanying feedback form to check out which teams are able to commit.
Sprint Session Objectives
Below are some of the frameworks and tools that we use during the sprint session to help the enterprises progress on their goals and improve at least one aspect of their enterprise during the sprint session.
1. The 1% better worksheet
The idea is to take all of the million things that you could possibly do for your enterprise and to pick ONE thing to work on today that will have the highest impact on your progress. It allows teams to commit to working on their projects daily!
Start by listing 3-4 things that are working well for you and your enterprise, then generate 5-10 ideas on how to improve those things that are working well for you.
Every day for two weeks, fill it out and choose the ONE experiment you intend to explore before your meeting with the mentors.
2. The elevator pitch using the golden circle framework
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Simon Sinek, the genius behind The Golden Circle.
According to him, most people communicate by starting with the “what” they do aspect and eventually work their way back to talk about “how” and “why” they do what they do.
However, companies that are universally identified as unique and successful, (think Apple or Google) communicate with an “inside-out” type of thinking.
To use the Golden Circle for your enterprise, just answer three simple questions:
- Why – Why are you doing what you are doing? For example, why are you in business, why did you develop your product or service?
- How – How will this help your readers? For example, what problems are you solving for your readers, what challenges are you helping them overcome?
- What – What are you offering? For example, what is your product or service, what are the features and benefits of it?
3. Goal setting: what are your goals for the duration of the accelerator
We provide the enterprises with a framework that allows them to specify their objectives for the upcoming period of time that they will spend with us during the accelerator (usually a quarter of the year). Accompanied by measurable key results, these objectives are assigned to specific team members for accountability, and are further broken down into specific initiatives and key activities. We recommend that enterprises work on at least one objective (up to three) for the duration of the accelerator. Furthermore, we advise them to relate their objectives to a specific ECAT category (keep reading for more information about that!)
4. ECAT assessment and result
The Enterprise Capacity Assessment Tool (ECAT) is a framework we created based on the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) originally developed by McKinsey to help non-profits assess their operational capacity and identify strengths and areas for improvement.
The tool was adapted and further developed for enterprises (hence the E from ECAT!) It’s a standard survey meant to be completed by key people within the enterprise. The initial short version of the ECAT is comprised of 40 questions divided into 11 organization categories:
- Learning and Innovation
- Enterprise Social Responsibility
- Product and Service Delivery
- Community Engagement and Communication
- Organizational Infrastructure
- Leadership and Staff
- Revenues and Financial Sustainability
- Financial Management
- Legal and Compliance
- Security, Risk and Resilience.
The ECAT process involves four distinct steps: 1) selecting the respondents within an organization, 2) conducting the survey, 3) aligning over the capacity scores and the level of consensus between the different results, and 4) developing a work plan to address the key areas that need improvement.
5. Budgeting: how are you going to use the funds allocated for the accelerator?
We provide the enterprises with a budgeting tool to help them think about how they will allocate their funds to the accelerator program. This allows them to think strategically about their objectives and their goals given the exercises that they’ve done earlier. Funds are allocated to specific categories to help us align the overall budgets and work on economies of scale.
6. Preparing for the demo day, the 5-slide pitch deck template
It’s time to give a short summary of the company, the business plan and the vision, through a 5-10 slide presentation called a pitch deck! It also serves very different purposes, from trying to get a meeting with a new investor, to presenting on stage, and each one of them should follow a different structure.
A demo day presentation, for example, should be very visual and contain very little text as the entrepreneur is going to do all the talking. A deck is probably the first look people will get of your product, so make sure to wow them early on with the content and design! We provide the enterprises with a deck template that they can adapt with their branding and content accordingly.
Selection from Sprint to Accelerator
Accelerator Judges Mechanism
The program is designed to find high-impact, high-potential ventures. The overall goal is to help participants grow a successful enterprise. To ensure total fairness, we have a 2-step process:
- Sprint Demo Day Judges
- For the second phase of the program, the Sprint phase, judges make their decisions on whether a team advances based on the team’s pitches during the online Demo Day.
- We enlist the services of expert volunteer “Judges” who are independent and objective, with no conflicts of interest.
- These judges review team pitches and make determinations on each team’s potential for long term success based upon the judge’s experience and the quality of the team’s pitch during the course of the demo day.
- Judging will take place during the online Demo Day on Zoom.
- The link to submit scores will be shared with all judges prior to the Demo Day event.
- If there are too many teams to pitch and get scored by one group, the pitch day could be split into multiple simultaneous sessions, with up to 10 teams in a breakout session and with a separate judging panel per breakout room. Representatives from each breakout session’s judging panel will be part of the Accelerator Selection Panel.
- Teams will also be invited to share feedback on all the pitches, though the scoring for these will be calculated separately.
- Accelerator Selection Panel
- Primarily a subset of the Sprint Demo Day Judges
- The feedback from the Sprint Demo Day Judges will be summarized and shared with the Accelerator Selection Panel, which will do a final review and selection in the days following the Sprint Demo Day.
Accelerator Selection Panel Mechanism
We enlist the services of a panel of experts from the internal and partner team along with a few additional domain experts who are independent and with no conflicts of interest.
During the Sprint phase, the Accelerator Selection Panel makes their decisions on whether a team advances based on the team’s judging scores from the online Demo Day that happens on April 7th, 2020.
These judges review the leaderboard and make determinations on each team’s potential for long term success based upon the judge’s experience and the scores of the teams for each of the selection criteria.
Selection will take place in the days after the online Demo Day.
Accelerator Selection Criteria
The principles for selection are measured with the following assessments:
The team has a large say in their advancement to the next stage based on the amount of effort they put in during the Sprint.
This is measured via their daily check-ins and checkouts on the PW leaderboard.
Individual successes are seen through the lens of the community succeeding. We encourage people to support others in the program, since this improves learning within the program, plus it will help improve the overall impact of the cohort teams.
To assess community contribution and cohesion we measure how much teams are participating on the platform and in the program, both with their own posts and supporting others.
Results and Impact:
The judges and selection panel use their expert judgment to assess the potential impact of each team, and the potential impact of participation in the program.
The partner, internal team, and a small group of domain experts assess the teams, their theory of change, and their solution. The goal is to determine both the impact of the solution presented and the likelihood of achieving that impact, in making a positive impact on education and lifelong learning.