Measuring Social Return for Investors, Lecture by Kim Smith / New Schools Venture Fund (2003)

Video Lectures

Displaying all 13 video lectures.
Lecture 1
Hybrids: Entrepreneurs Must Lead People from Radically Different Sectors
Play Video
Hybrids: Entrepreneurs Must Lead People from Radically Different Sectors

Kim Smith, co-founder and CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, is a leader in a hybrid environment between business people and educators, who speak different languages and come from different frameworks. A hybrid in this context includes the public sector, non-public sector and business sector. It is difficult to manage a group that comes from such diverse backgrounds, says Smith. A lot of technology companies have to deal with the same sort of dynamic between technologists and business people.
Lecture 2
Founding of Teach for America: Entrepreneurs Envision What Others Say is Impossible
Play Video
Founding of Teach for America: Entrepreneurs Envision What Others Say is Impossible

Smith talks about how a series of experiences prepare an entrepreneur to found a new venture. Entrepreneurship is about solving a problem in a better way and finding a way to make it happen, despite everyone telling you it cannot be done, she says. People did not believe Teach for America would work, but Smith and founder Wendy Kopp realized people weren't becoming teachers because they weren't being recruited and the process to get certified was too bureaucratic. They created a model in Teach for America that solved these problems, and were successful, she adds.
Lecture 3
A Theory of Change = Business Model + Strategy
Play Video
A Theory of Change = Business Model + Strategy

Smith explains that a theory of change in the social sector is roughly equivalent to a combination of the business model and strategy in the for-profit world. You need to identify a change and have a hypothesis about how to make it happen, she says. This is more complex in the social sector because, in additional to market forces, you have to deal with regulatory forces, emotional forces, social forces, and political forces, she adds. A set of core beliefs are usually taken for granted in the business world, but in the social sector they need to be established. She believes the core beliefs are the basis of the theory of change and help you decide what to do--otherwise you could end up trying to change too much. Though there is always a need elsewhere, a social venture can only take on what falls into its focused mission.
Lecture 4
Focus
Play Video
Focus

Smith talks about how focus is crucial for entrepreneurial leadership. It is impossible to do everything so the core beliefs of the venture provide the necessary direction. It is sometimes hard to turn down a project that will help the people you are trying to serve, but a good leader knows what he is able to take on and what he must leave for someone else, she explains. It is important to recognize that change in education is not as easy as moving a policy lever, and therefore entrepreneurs are critical for spurring the desired change.
Lecture 5
Hybrid Leaders
Play Video
Hybrid Leaders

Smith talks about how hybrid leaders are crucial problem solvers because they are able to think outside the box. It is very difficult to have no ideas and instigate change if you have spent your entire career in the same sector. Creativity comes out of this diversity in experience and background.
Lecture 6
Education: Shift From Culture of Compliance to Culture of Performance
Play Video
Education: Shift From Culture of Compliance to Culture of Performance

There is a current shift in K-12 education from a culture of compliance, says Smith. Compliance is not a high enough standard and should not be accepted. Unfortunately, the culture shift to a new standard is uncomfortable since the old system is so engrained.
Lecture 7
Venture Philanthropy
Play Video
Venture Philanthropy

Smith explains that venture philanthropy means investing in ventures that lead to greater changes in the overall system to improve education for kids. The entrepreneur is a part of a much larger system and the aim is to leverage the investments to provide the greatest possible impact. This strategy has led to three key activities at New Schools: the creation of a network to generate more hybrid leaders and inform policy makers, a charter accelerator fund to create charter schools, and a performance accelerator fund to help schools become performance-oriented.
Lecture 8
New School Venture Fund History and Operations
Play Video
New School Venture Fund History and Operations

New School Ventures is a non-profit public charity with the sole purpose of creating better opportunities for children who are not currently being served by public education, says Smith. They are unique in that they feel it is important to be able to invest in both for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs, depending on the situation. Any returns are folded back into the fund and reused.
Lecture 9
New School Portfolio
Play Video
New School Portfolio

In five years, New Schools has given 10,000 kids access to new schools, says Smith. Public charter schools provide an alternative to government-run schools by giving the school much more flexibility while maintaining accountability. She believes this flexibility encourages innovation and increased performance. Other portfolio items include:



1) Teachscape - an online teacher-training program, which uses a video case method of instruction



2) Successforall - a non-profit literacy program spun out of John Hopkins



3) Carnegie Learning - a for-profit literacy program competitor.
Lecture 10
Strategic Investment Analysis Via a Hybrid Partner Group
Play Video
Strategic Investment Analysis Via a Hybrid Partner Group

Smith believes that since their monetary values are not large in comparison to the size of the education industry, investments must be leveraged to get maximum effect. New School's helps to leverage their investments by bringing together a partner group that includes venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and educators, who each bring different strengths and views to the venture.
Lecture 11
Leadership, Communication, and Facilitation Skills
Play Video
Leadership, Communication, and Facilitation Skills

Smith says that John Doerr, renowned venture capitalist at KPCB, attributes his success to his ability to communicate and facilitate, above his technological expertise. Technical knowledge is useless if you cannot motivate people to do something with it, she adds.




Transcript



In fact, it reminds me of one thing I wanted to point out about leadership. I asked John Doerr once we were in a meeting and he's a fantastic facilitator. It was a board meeting and afterward I asked him what he thought was more responsible for his success. Is it technological expertise? And he's a patent holder and he has great technological expertise. Or his ability to communicate and facilitate? And he said, "Hands down. Communicate and facilitate." Because absent that, it wouldn't really matter what he knew technologically if he couldn't get other people to be motivated to do something about it. It's not that he wouldn't have an impact. He'd still have an impact, but it would be limited to what he could do. By being a facilitator and a communicator, he suddenly could mobilize thousands of other people to try to do that same thing. So I just want to emphasize that it's an important skills that to develop even if it doesn't come naturally because the person who's going to facilitate that board meeting is going to get people to do things their way.

Lecture 12
Taking Risks
Play Video
Taking Risks

John Kennedy said that there is risk and cost to a program of action, but it is far less than the long-range risks and costs that come from comfortable inaction, says Smith. Though it may seem scary to make changes and safe to do nothing, it is not true. A leader's job is to be passionate, figure out what needs to be done, and then be willing to take the necessary risks to make it happen, she notes.

 
Lecture 13
Achieving Profits Through Customer Focus
Play Video
Achieving Profits Through Customer Focus

Smith poses the question: How can companies be profitable in the education sector? She discusses how education is more recession-proof than other industries and how newer schools have shifted their program focus to non-profit.