2019 Venture Skill Workshops

Action Workshops are an integral part of the Action Forum experience. Each year there are three different types of workshops offered: Peer Consultancies, Group Collaborations, and Venture Skill Workshops. These sessions are often hands-on, interactive, and collaborative. Venture Skill Workshops are each designed to offer tangible lessons to challenge participants to think about the unique impact they can have.

Read the full description for each Venture Skill Workship below by clicking on the session title. 

Business Model Canvas: Creating your One-Page Business Plan

Every organization, even a non-profit, needs a business model. The business model canvas is a lean start-up approach that distills the key components of your venture into clear parts, such as key partners, activities, resources, customer relationships, and cost structures. Come learn how this tool can strategically and visually breakdown what you want to do and how you are going to do it.


Corporate Board Leadership: Dismantling Boundaries for Inclusion and Diversity

Building a diverse and inclusive board goes far beyond political correctness – it is essential for a company’s success. What are the barriers that prevent diversity and inclusivity in a company’s boardroom? What obstacles do certain leaders, who wish to serve on a for-profit board, face? How can you use your role as a Board member to push for challenging, yet necessary conversations about power, gender, race, etc? How do we ensure boards are reflective of the values we wish to embody and impart? This session is intended to provoke thought and conversation about board diversity and inclusion - whether you are building a board or serving on one.


Design Thinking for Culture: Building Adaptive, Resilient Organizations

You may already have experience with design thinking, so you know that working like a designer can be transformative. Have you thought about the promise of applying design thinking methods to your organization’s design and creative culture? In both for-profits and nonprofits, the way we work together matters now more than ever. But as the nature of organizational systems evolves from hierarchical models rooted in the Industrial Age to emergent ones accelerated by the Digital Age, what does it mean for us? How might we use design thinking to create adaptive, resilient organizations, aligned through purpose & culture? In this hands-on session, we’ll apply design methodologies and approaches to explore what’s possible.


Finding your Life’s Work: How your Venture can Kickstart the Work of your Life

The Japanese believe that finding your ikigai, or your “reason for being," can help you figure out what to do with your life. How can we use this concept of ikigai to gain greater meaning and purpose? Knowing yourself–your skills, passions, networks and resources–and identifying your ikigai are keys to finding personal balance and creating meaningful organizations and companies. Join us to embark on AGLN’s self-reflection tools–used in Aspen’s Challenge of Leadership Seminar – to help find your actionable “sweet spot” and identify ideas for impact.


From Deficit to Asset: Using Asset Framing for Equity

If there was evidence that you were limiting your impact, undermining the case for equity, and possibly smearing those you seek to help, would you do something about it? In your quest to “fix social problems”, you might be highlighting “deficits” to spur action. Ironically, this engenders negative feelings, associations and responses toward the groups most affected by those problems. Come learn about an alternative method, called Asset-Framing, to this deficit-framed approach. This interactive workshop uses discovery-based learning to share knowledge from leading-edge global and national authorities on cognition, racial narrative, and engagement. Join us to learn how you can shift the narrative from deficit to asset.


Leading for Growth: Lessons from the Frontlines of Scaling Up

The innovation process involves two steps: the ideation stage and the journey to scale. Most entrepreneurs are equipped for the first; far fewer are prepared for the latter. As your organization scales, what are the roadblocks or challenges you face? How do you, as a leader, adapt to changing needs, responsibilities, and tensions? This session will focus on challenges and opportunities that leaders face while scaling their venture: from financing to mission creep to organizational culture change. The Aspen Institute’s Braddock Scholars will facilitate the discussion with personal anecdotes and a guided discussion.


Measuring What Matters: An Introduction to Social Impact Evaluation

“But how do you know your organization is really making a difference?” You may sense your venture has a meaningful social impact, but how can you respond to this question with clear evidence?  As evaluating social impact has become increasingly important for mission-driven organizations and their funders, many struggle with how to understand their impact. Evaluation doesn't have to be expensive or daunting. Smart and simple tools can help guide your learning and shape your strategy in the process. This workshop will provide an introduction to some tools and methods to help demystify evaluation.


Mobilizing As One: Individual Action, Collective Power

Creating large-scale change relies on cooperation and collaboration. Yet our ability to act collectively is still relatively underdeveloped. What leads to effective collaboration? How do you get people on the same page? What leadership capabilities do you need in a world that demands collective action? Come learn about which of the 8 different leader/follower archetypes will work best for you to lead your organization to greater impact.


Storytelling for Change: How to Tell Your Best Story

Stories are an essential part of how we think, feel, remember, imagine, relate, and connect. They make complex data accessible, engage new audiences, and enable leaders, like you, to inspire and create meaningful change. How can we use the art of the storytelling to translate multifaceted issues?  How can the stories we tell help us build trust and catalyze action? Come learn how to tell compelling stories to propel your venture forward.


The Power of Stories for Collective Action: From the Hero's Journey to Magic Gifts

How do we bring the power of stories to mobilize movements and accelerate collective action? How does a literary arc propagate ideas for impact? You can use narrative tools and concepts to articulate a unique worldview, while capturing the hearts and minds of your partners, collaborators, and clients. Through a unique framework that takes you through 4 key elements of a story, this session will equip you with an arsenal of tools that you can implement to communicate, inspire, and align efforts around a shared vision.


Using Your Business as a Force for Good: The B Corporation Mindset

There is a new economic and moral imperative for business leadership in the 21st century. Measuring and managing your social and environmental performances aren’t just the right things to do – it’s a better way to do business. This workshop is intended to help you understand how your business can lead and engage with the movement – from utilizing assessment tools to measure and manage your company’s impact, to certifying as a B Corp; from adopting stakeholder governance for your business, to engaging with capital markets and policymakers to ensure authentic corporate leadership. Come learn how over 60,000 businesses across the world are putting the B Corporation mindset to work.


Investing for Opportunity: Closing the Diversity Gap in Entrepreneurship

How can we activate investments to expand opportunity for underrepresented entrepreneurs? Increasingly, venture capital is purposefully incorporating an impact thesis within investment strategies and portfolios to try to close the massive funding and opportunity gap for those entrepreneurs often left out, such as women, people of color and veterans. What tools or guidance exists to help investors incorporate inclusivity lenses into their investment processes and strategies? How might you get started, if you wanted to intentionally shape your own investment portfolio to harness this massive market opportunity? Come learn the latest strategies, tools and vehicles – both good for business and for equaling the playing field.