During periods of great transition, like the one we are experiencing as public education moves from a system based on processes and bureaucratic rules and procedures to one based largely on clear and increasingly well-measured outcomes and impact for students, there is an important need for new providers to bring innovative solutions and services that enable the new way of operating.
This kind of ambitious change requires innovations along many dimensions – new ideas, new processes, new platforms, and new tools – in order to enable large numbers of professionals to behave in entirely new and more effective ways.
Sometimes entrepreneurs identify visionary new ways to provide these tools and services but need help to find resources like funding and talent or to refine their strategy. At other times, a gap analysis will show there are clear needs in the field going unmet. In these cases, we will consider putting significant resources to bear on the process of incubating new organizations to meet these needs. Typically, we will do an incubation in collaboration with one or more funders in the field, and sometimes we will bring on board an Entrepreneur in Residence to launch an incubation. Our incubation work is opportunistic – based on our assessment of needs in the field – and nimble. Our approach is based largely on the experience of our co-founder and CEO, who has initiated and led many incubations in the field of education reform, as well as lessons she learned from her NewSchools co-founders John Doerr and Brook Byers (from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), who themselves have incubated many new companies.
Incubations are a special form of entrepreneurial organization building. They require a rare combination of skills and resources that cut across the Bellwether Education Partners business lines:
- thought leadership – to identify needs or gaps,
- strategy development – to indentify and design solutions,
- talent networks – to identify and recruit entrepreneurial leaders and teams to build these new ventures, and
- leadership development to support these leaders and ventures as they launch and grow.
The Bellwether team is uniquely qualified to pursue incubations in the field of education reform.