Leadership magazine May/June 2018 V47 No. 5 | Page 36

Using a startup model for school change At the Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship, using a curriculum that focuses on business startup models has better involved students and the community and made staff more willing to change when needed and look for opportunities. When we set out to create the Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship in the Fresno Unified School District, the idea was to rethink an entire school through an entrepreneurial lens. Though I had been selected as the principal of the school, my own experience with entre- preneurship had been limited. As we devel- oped a program and curriculum for our stu- dents, we thought that if we were going to have students develop ideas through these entrepre- neurial systems, as a school staff we should cre- ate our school through the same models. What we didn’t expect was that adopting these systems would make us a better school, that thinking like an entrepreneur could make us better leaders and that these entre- preneurial processes could help any school or district change for the better. Startup models Because of the nature of startup com- panies, they follow unique business mod- els that allow them to innovate and grow quickly. We applied multiple models to our school, like the Lean Startup, the Business Model Canvas, and Design Thinking. In a nutshell, these startup models have found that it is better to start a business, enterprise or project and learn along the way, than to 36 Leadership spend time endlessly planning things out. Chances are the plan is wrong anyway, or something about the plan is going to be wrong, and the longer you invest time and money in planning, the further away you are from figuring out what changes need to be made. You can’t find out how well some- thing is going to work until you get it into the hands of customers or users and get real data. Some of the features of these models are a departure from traditional business pro- cesses. Gone are 50-page business plans and in their place are one page Business Model Canvases. This gives a quick one-page over- view of available resources and the large-scale plan to move a business or project forward. Instead of endless hypothesizing, the Lean Startup Model encourages entrepre- neurs to develop a minimum viable product (MVP). This is a quick to-market, imperfect first product that allows for real customer feedback and immediately uncovers flaws in the design of the product or mission. This quick data allows for a quick pivot and change of direction before too much has been invested and built. These are models of constant building, measurement, learning, changing, redesigning and retesting. By Brett Taylor