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What A Difference A Year Makes

Posted By Kaskaskia College _, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Getting into the final stretch of our second Coleman Foundation & ECIA year, I would like to share some of the differences between year one and year two. On a recent commute, this summary came to mind:

Year 1 Effectuation Efforts- First I learned the principles and then I taught them

Year 2 Effectuation Efforts- I made big strides in understanding the principles and have become a much better teacher

In Year Two, we still value our checklist and pursue our goals but our mindset is different- we are much more open to the journey and the experiences encountered. As a result, our rewards are larger and our effectual sustainability is more assured.

Sara Whiffen of Insights Ignited helped me to develop professionally and I would like to share some lessons learned & things that really gave our projects better direction:

1. "The future is unknowable but it is creatable" is a concept that draws in co-creators. It enabled us to convince others that we can operate on similar footing to that of famous entrepreneurs.

2. "Begin with where you are" removes the non-productive comparisons and allows progress to get underway. Yes, there are healthy comparisons to be made... just drop the coveting & the envy thoughts.

3. Design answers to "what is in it for me- WIIFM" before every group and listener. This is how to move beyond polite listeners and to attract co-creators. Remember to always ask for involvement.

4. Every interaction is good. It is impossible to predict which ones are going to help you and how they will help... "You are part of my crazy quilt."

5. When strengthening your internal team, get to the point where you can frame discussions by saying "Now we do 'X', in an effectual world we would do ______________."

6. Don't scare entrepreneurs away with information overload. You still want them to jump in and try.

At Kaskaskia College, our president of fourteen years retires at the end of the month- the signer of our PFEP. It will be up to our Institute for Entrepreneurial Success to enthuse and inform our new President Dr. Penny Quinn about NACCE, the Coleman Foundation and our effectuation journey. We are confident about accomplishing our mission!

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  effectuation  entrepreneurial mindset  entrepreneurship  insights ignited  Kaskaskia College  PFEP 

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Turning Oranges into Lemonade: A Lesson in the Entrepreneurial Method

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Friday, April 24, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 24, 2015

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited (Effectuation expert for the Coleman ECIA Community of Practice)

Email: sara.whiffen@insightsignited.com

Lilly Pulitzer’s perky patterns incited a mad rush at Target stores this week. Customers were in a frenzy to acquire the bright colors and floral designs that are the hallmark of the preppy brand.  The brand evokes feelings of country clubs and lazy summer lemonade days.  But its creation is rooted in orange juice.

As the story goes, long before Lilly Pulitzer was a brand, she was a wealthy socialite.  Raised in high society New York, she married and moved to Florida where her husband owned a large orange grove. 

Wanting to help with the family business, she would often push a small cart of fresh oranges through a local park.  Dressed in her cool summer whites, she would sell fresh orange juice to passers-by.   Peeling and squeezing the oranges by hand left her with sticky fingers and stained clothing.  Conscious of her appearance, this was just not acceptable to her. 

Inspiration struck one day as she glanced at a set of curtains in her home and thought that the loud, colorful pattern of their 1960s style would surely disguise those persistent orange stains.  She went to a fabric store, purchased a similar design, and fashioned from it a simple shift dress.

Wearing this in the park while pushing her cart, she stood out among the crisp white outfits worn by others.  Her look began to attract as much attention as her fresh orange juice.  Customers began asking for not just a glass of juice, but inquiring as to where they too could purchase a similar dress.  After hearing more and more of these inquiries, she began to make some of the dresses for others.  Her popularity grew and she was able to build an entire brand line from this small start. 

The effectual lemonade principal is clear here.  Her business at the time was selling orange juice.  She did not aspire to grow a fashion brand.  But she was open to trying new things and believed in her ability to solve problems in a way that would work to her advantage.  And when life gave her lemons – or orange juice – she embraced them fully and made her own lemonade.  

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurial mindset  entrepreneurship  insights ignited  lilly pulitzer  NACCE  target 

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Let's Talk Effectuation with Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

There's More to Affordable Risk in Higher Ed. 

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

Sara.whiffen@insightsignited.com

When we talk about Affordable Risk in the context of our colleges it becomes clear that there are a set of special risks that exist in the organizational context that are unique to higher education. We asked Sara Whiffen, Effectuation consultant to the NACCE Coleman Foundation Grant Community of Practice to share her perspectives on this topic and here are her top 5 special risks.

1.   Bureaucratic risk- How much are you willing to go off plan?

2.   Cultural risk- Is there a lack of universal understanding about effectuation? Are you culturally disassociated- do you feel like the odd man out?

3.   Reputation risk- The risk of being too far out of the norm- swimming upstream.

4.   Failure risk- Being branded as the failure- it is inherent in entrepreneurship, but not so with institutions.

5.   Solopreneur risk- The idea that as the manager of an entrepreneurship program you have the sole responsibility for entrepreneurship- “lone wolf” doesn’t work it requires shared creation.

Do you see this on your campus? Can you think of other affordable risks you see in the organizational environment? Chime in on the effectuation conversation.

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  economic development  effectuation  entrepreneurial mindset  entrepreneurship  higher education  insights ignited  NACCE 

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Let's Talk Effectuation with Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, March 23, 2015
Updated: Monday, March 23, 2015

 

What is Affordable Loss?

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

sara.whiffen@insightsignited.com 

 

We asked our Coleman ECIA Community of Practice Effectuation Expert Sara Whiffen to weigh in on a good definition of the Affordable Loss principle and how it relates to community colleges as we teach and advise prospective and current entrepreneurs. Here's what Sara had to say.


  • Affordable loss is what you are willing to lose to make the idea successful.
  • What it is not—it is not expected return. It is not a forecasted upside.
  • Most importantly, it is not a desire to lose money.

It’s not saying that you’re going to throw it away or intentionally lose money. Instead, it’s saying that if you have to lose it, it won’t bankrupt you. It’s the recognition that innovation is based on experimentation and failures that lead to successes.


Affordable loss is the safety net in response to “true” uncertainty. Making decisions in the presence of uncertainty is the essence of entrepreneurship – economists tell us this. There is known. Unknown. And Unknowable risk. Affordable loss is how you can venture into the Unknowable territory. To truly be innovative you have to go there. Affordable loss serves as your safety net in this.

 

It sets you up for more options in the future. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. 

 

Stay tuned because in Sara's next blog she will share the perspective of affordable loss as it relates to the intrapreneur within the community college.

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  effectuation  entrepreneurship  Insights Ignited  NACCE 

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Let's Talk Effectuation with Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Thursday, February 26, 2015

The numbers behind Effectuation- How do we show progress in the Entrepreneurial College?

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

Email: sara.whiffen@insightsignited.com

 

Consider evaluating your effectual activities in three primary buckets:

    1. Actions  -- Things I did
    2. Activities – How others got involved
    3. Impact – What the outcomes were

Use Qualitative Tracking:

Marketing as a discipline has faced similar challenges (Brand awareness, Customer loyalty, Customer Relationships).

 

What can we learn from them? 

1.     Process:  Define; Measure; Report; Refine

2.     What’s the effectual equivalent of Customer Relationships, Stakeholders, Presales?·      

 

Are there other ideas?  Try tracking mindset change

 

Try framing Qualitative Measurement using the 5 Principles of Effectuation:

1.     Bird in Hand- Did you discover / use any previously slack assets?  Identify things borrowed / recycled rather than purchased.

2.     Affordable Loss- How did you manage to a minimal investment until you saw the idea take root? 

3.     Crazy Quilt- What actions have you taken to nurture co-creative relationships? What ways did you foster for people to create connections? How was a diverse population exposed to your process, so as to increase resources and co-creation opportunities?  What did your stakeholders bring to the project?  Have you made any new relationships?  Engaged any new stakeholders?  Who and what do they bring to the project? 

4.     Lemonade- What did you put in place to remain flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise? Did you make any changes to the plan based on new information / partners / resources? 

5.     Pilot in Plane-  What positive externalities did you receive from this worldview? Are people on your team thinking effectually?  Do they feel more confident /optimistic / more in control?   

 

Let’s not forget the Quantitative tracking:

1.     Bird in Hand-  How were costs reduced by using existing resources? 

2.     Affordable Loss-  Manage to a “spending” or “investment” budget of no more than…$x. 

3.     Crazy Quilt-   Stakeholders – how many are participating?  Are any of these new to your group?  Note:  This is not about getting the most.  But about growing awareness of the co-creation principle through consideration.  How many stakeholders invested more this time than previously? How many stakeholders brought new voices to the table? Percentage increase in number of stakeholders. Number of new areas entered with partners.  Number of students engaged.  Number of community members engaged.

4.     Lemonade-  Dollars saved due to unanticipated acts.  Positive outcomes due to unanticipated acts

5.     Pilot in Plane-  Percentage of time you / your team spend “effectuating”.  Percentage decrease in costs to experiment. Percentage of new ideas tried.  Number of failures (If you’re not failing, you’re not trying – and you’re not learning). Percentage of people impacted / reached by the new idea (remember to define “impacted” at beginning of project). Use these to set a baseline and then look for changes over time.  

 

We Measure and Track- But then what? 

1.     Publicize·      

  • Integrate with existing reporting.  
  • Create a separate effectual dashboard or highlights report.
  • Tell your stories.

2.     Recognize

  • See successes – reward them
  • Acknowledge failures – learn from them

3.     Reorganize

  • Resistance?  Bring the discussion to what you’re really trying to accomplish and allow the input to shape future iterations.    

 

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurial mindset  entrepreneurship  insights ignited  NACCE 

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