January 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This is not a post about Drew Brees.
Brees is certainly the most valuable player in the NFL, and, I think, the most valuable person in the New Orleans at the moment. This is a post about another kind of MVP – minimum viable product.
This MVP is a concept we learned about in 4.0 Schools’ Innovator School. MVP is a popular practice among web application and software designers. The idea is that developers should issue the most rudimentary product (minimum viable) out to their users as early as possible, then iterate and improve the product through usage and feedback. Many of the products that many of us use regularly, like dropbox, started as MVPs.
In my effort to apply lessons learned from outside industries to education development and school design, I am ready to share some of my current MVPs on this blog, and over time I intend to share them all with you for feedback.
Let’s start with the reaction to my [name of school] post from last week. It spawned some great comments on this site and in facebook comments. Thank you all for your comments. They were helpful. My friend Jenna Stauffer, co-founder of Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, California, offered some very sage advice in her comments:
One other thought: don’t over think it. Go with your gut. In 10 years, when your school’s logo is on all kinds of stuff and you have alumni that say, “Oh yeah, I went to ***. I loved that school,” what will matter is how it makes people feel. But P.S. don’t pick “beta.”
There are two take aways here: 1) what the school does is much more important that what it is called and 2) betaSchool is a terrible name. Both jive with what other folks said.
With those two points in mind, I’m going to go ahead and stick with The Caisson…for now. I am starting to spread the word about the school in the New Orleans community, and The Caisson narrowly beat out “Science and Letters.” So now when I contact community organizations and source potential board members, I provide them a one pager on the school that refers to the school as The Caisson (you can read that document here: Board Search.The Caisson). In addition to that first board-search document , I have some other components to my MVP.
Like a logo:
A mission statement:
The Caisson develops students to be intellectually curious, socially responsible and purpose-driven citizens in a learning environment that is diverse, rigorous and dynamic.
And even a vision statement, which envisions the future the organization is helping to create:
The Caisson envisions a time when New Orleans is the world’s premier location for public education. New Orleans schools will prepare students from all backgrounds for a professional career and college of their choice and all members of the New Orleans community will contribute to life’s learning – resulting in increased economic development and a higher quality of life for all.
As always, I welcome your input and feedback.
One of the practices I hope we employ as a school staff is a growth mindset. That is, I think we can and must always get better. Everything we all do is only a draft, just an MVP waiting for someone to iterate upon it. Even Drew Brees has an opportunity to improve – even during an MVP season.