Ariana Sierzputowski FS

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Spring 2019, Class Site
Class wiki


Week 1

[The Business Ownership Revolution with Marjorie Kelly]

  • organizing an economy around life instead of wall street
  • went public made all risk
  • ownership design is at the root of company behavior
  • ownership design is the root of the economy and our global crisis
  • community life family life employee wellbeing ecological wellbeing
  • system structure is the source of system behavior
  • ownership: purpose, membership, governance

[TED talk by Niki Okuk on worker ownership]

  • community based economies, owned by many people and not one
  • worker owned business
  • union worker ownership
  • worker cooperatives

[Doug Rushkoff, How to be “Team Human” in the digital future]

  • “the future changed from this thing we create together in the present to something we bet on in a zero-sum winner-takes-all competition”
  • no longer valued for creativity, now data
  • talking about how technology dehumanizes us and our interactions with one another
  • community
  • where are the solutions/examples on how to become team human?

Week 2

–Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world, Stephen Metcalf, The Guardian. -Handout: Joshua Vial, “More People Working on Stuff that Matters”, pages 18-32 from Working Better Together -Handout: Alanna Irving, “Full Circle Leadership”, pages 132-141 from Working Better Together (upload a scan of your map to your wiki).

[Kate Raworth talk from Regenerative Futures]

[Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world, Stephen Metcalf, The Guardian]

[Joshua Vial, “More People Working on Stuff that Matters”, pages 18-32 from Working Better Together]

[Alanna Irving, “Full Circle Leadership”, pages 132-141 from Working Better Together.]

Week 3

In a World of Systems

  • A feedback loop that is self-correcting is called a balancing feedback loop
  • Delay is part of the system - important forces in systems
  • Water in the tank is an example of a “stock” quantity that can grow over time as a result of in-flow or decrease from out-flow
  • Feedback loop with anger in car jam scenario is an example of a reinforcing feedback loop, gaining strength at each cycle
  • Now that the man in the traffic jam knows what's going on and has info to plan with he is able to: relax, imagine new additions to the system to aid the issue
  • Fish system set up to deplete itself
  • Everything is interconnected through complex interwoven systems, both physically and socially

Enough With Problem Solving, Let's Start Creating

  • Design thinking: “through direct engagement and listening, [designers] build empathic relationships in order to identify and define problems faced by a target group of “users.” The design team then rapidly ideates, prototypes and tests possible solutions to identify the best one for the group.” This method is effective when working with stakeholders in order to identify and target issues, then problem-solve in order to reach the desired outcome.
  • Acknowledging that we are not living in a vacuum and recognizing a “system-wide failure of the status quo that begs for a radical reinvention of how we relate to each other and the world”
  • Design thinking is only addressing a small set of specific pre-defined issues, which is unrealistic in its expectations for outcomes because it does not recognize the wider systems of the world we live in
    • Limits possibilities and creative solutions
    • We are kept in a reactionary mode with this method of problem-solving, only addressing whatever issue is in front of us and discarding what we deem unnecessary
    • ”This actually ends up reinforcing the systems that rule (and are ruining) our world, since the underlying structures, and the worldviews they are built upon, remain unchanged.”
  • To mitigate this, we need methodologies that help us, at a foundational level, focus on our core values, hopes, desires, and human needs, thereby creating structures that support those the manifestation of those dreams in tangible and creative ways
  • We need a framework that helps us to imagine new possibilities and create a global system where both humans and the planet can thrive
  • ”Creative and generative thinking without a predetermined problem or destination” this is what artists do well
  • Art that is made from open-ended inquiry driven by imagination and creativity is a crucial missing piece to the puzzle of recreating a more equitable, just, and sustainable world
  • Artistic approaches must be integrated in a multidisciplinary way in order to transform society
    • ”Design thinking offers guidance for how the knowledge, methods, and skills of one sector can be applied broadly, across seemingly disparate areas.”
  • An example: Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses
    • Founded in 1993 in Houston, based on the community’s needs, hopes, dreams, as a guide to generate creativity and new programs that addressed those needs, hopes, dreams, etc.
    • Fostered a vibrant and creatively generative community
  • Artists and collectives doing this type of work create these new structures and systems based on human-centered values and needs
  • There is still a ways to go in terms of how society views art and artists and their role in the world, along with those limiting beliefs being internalized by artists themselves. There needs to be more of this work done and more education around the profound possibilities that are available when creativity and talents are applied across disciplines and sectors
  • ”We live in an era when public and business policy is often driven by profit and greed instead of the health of individuals, the communities we live in, and our planet—leading to one economic and environmental crisis after the other. Though we are rightly compelled to resist, we must also work to harness our creativity to imagine new paths forward and build a future that is equitable, inclusive, sustainable and artistic.”

[Francesca Pick, “Welcome to the age of participation”, pages 62-80]

Week 4

Three Artists Who Think Outside The Box

  • Rick Lowe: paintings addressing violence and poverty he saw in Houston, especially in historically black neighborhoods
  • High school student in 1990 at his studio asked him “He wanted to know why, rather than making work that represented the daily reality of the inhabitants of the Third Ward, Lowe didn’t try to instead affect that reality.”
  • “The question spoke to the fundamental problem of political art, which had traditionally stayed inside the studio or gallery rather than becoming an active presence in the lives of the people it was meant to champion.”
  • Inspired to think more expansively about their own art: what is its purpose? how should it be seen? where should it live?
  • German artist Joseph Beuys 1970 “social sculpture” engaged form of political art, spectators become the participants
  • Deloyd T. Parker, director of Self-Help for African People Through Education
  • 1993 these people and their ideas influenced Lowe along with James Bettison, Jesse Lott, Bert Samples and George Smith to purchase 22 abandoned wooden shotgun houses in the Third Ward, one of the primary neighborhoods where Lowe’s paintings had been been representative of
  • The houses were tenant farmer shacks from the 1930s
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation helped fund this and volunteers from institutions like the Menil Foundation assisted Lowe in mobilizing people across Houston to restore the neighborhood
  • These 22 homes now are the center of Project Row Houses, “one of the most original and ambitious works of art of the past century.”
  • 8 are studio and exhibition spaces, 7 are for the Young Mothers Residential Program hosting single women finishing school
  • “Crucial to Lowe’s design is that no one group of inhabitants is separate from the other: The young mothers in residence are encouraged, as much as the artists, to find a vision for themselves. And along with the surrounding community, they form the audience for the visiting artists’ work. Since the project’s inception, art has become a presence in the everyday lives of the very individuals whose concerns Lowe had been challenged long ago to meet — and a model for a kind of 21st-century artistic activism.”
  • Lowe, Gates and Bradford have collectively worked together over the years to create political or “social practice” art in which they are actively involved in underserved neighborhoods
  • “Initiating projects such as theirs requires the very practical skills of a policymaker, a preservationist or an organizer.“
  • “When working with neighbors, homes and livelihoods, however, practicality prevails. A bigger difference between ‘‘social practice’’ and its conceptual precedents is the trio’s focus on the urban community — and, for Lowe and Gates, the old, culturally rich black neighborhood whose heritage is imperiled.”
  • In 2007, Gates created a fictional mentor named Shoji Yamaguchi with the story that he’d escaped Hiroshima for Mississippi, where he began to fuse African-American and Asian pottery techniques. He hosted soul-food dinners in honor of Yamaguchi: “Arts patrons underwrote the dinners and people paid hundreds for Yamaguchi’s wares — only to discover they had been punked. Yamaguchi never existed; the pieces had actually been designed by Gates himself. Until he created the Yamaguchi fiction, Gates had been unable to sell them for more than $25. By mimicking the art world, he had slyly exposed the profound racial fault lines beneath it.”
  • Gates: “I started to recognize that if there was not direct intervention by normal people, black space in the United States would not be saved…It would simply spiral down, without a whole lot of investment from outside.” This was directly influenced by the stock market crash in 07-08
  • He used the money he earned from selling his art to purchase local properties (The Dorchester Projects) focused on creating black arts institutions: turned the empty house next to his own into a library of 14,000 volumes purchased from the local Prairie Avenue Bookshop, which was in the process of closing down; bought out the record crates from the closing Dr. Wax record store and created the Listening House with those records in a former candy store; created a screening room for black cinema
  • He wants to “mimic the kinds of power structures that have the capacity to transform a community” like Lowe
  • Restored a moldering, neo-Classical ruin and former bank into the Stony Island Arts Bank, hosting the collections and works of culturally influential black creators such as John H. Johnson
  • Bradford, out of his personal experiences, aimed to bridge the gap between his old neighborhood and modern art institutions, asking “What if an art center didn’t require a bus trip? What if art was of the neighborhood, and not outside it?”
  • He recently opened Art + Practice Foundation, co-founded with art collector and philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton and neighborhood activist (and his partner) Allan DiCastro
  • It occupies several local buildings with a 4000-sq-ft exhibition space at the center that not only offers a space for museum-quality art exhibits but also offers job training and mental health services to the neighborhood’s foster youth
  • “Indeed, perhaps the most striking thing about these three artists’ projects is their ability to see both art and community afresh — to apply their artistic vision to social structures themselves.”
  • “‘All my life I’ve been asking questions about how spaces can be better than they are, and what individuals can do alongside systems, governmental systems or whatever, to have an impact in a place.’’ The combination of ambition and modesty remains a unique aspect of social practice art; interestingly, the artists are wary of describing themselves as part of a unified movement, an idea they find at once too grand and too simplifying.”
  • Taking a practical mindset into it is key
  • Don’t just try to understand theory behind what’s happening, expand the amount of people taking art back to their neighborhoods

How Cooperation Jackson Is Transforming the Poorest State in the US

  • Cooperation Jackson is an organization that promotes economic justice
  • Created out of the need to transform the poorest state in America, Mississippi, more specifically the capital & largest city in the state, Jackson
  • Cooperation Jackson is “a network of interconnected yet independent institutions including an incubator and training center, a cooperative bank, and a federation of established cooperatives.” Collectively, they explore cooperatives’ potential for transforming local communities
  • Teaches the importance of worker cooperatives and how to create one
  • Hosted the Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference, which aimed to establish the foundation for transforming Jackson into a center for economic democracy - this attracted international attention. They were able to train over 100 Jackson residents in the basics of how to begin a worker cooperative. The conference vastly expanded their network, which provided many opportunities & local, regional, national, and international support
  • Kali Akuno, Coordinator of Cooperation Jackson
  • Cooperation Jackson was founded on the vision of the Jackson-Kush Plan, a combination of influences from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the New Afrikan People’s Organization, where the two groups began developing a long-term strategy to transform Jackson & Mississippi “Cooperation Jackson is the manifestation of the solidarity economy aspect of that transformative vision.”
  • A primary objective is to have 10% of the jobs in Jackson be directly in relation to the federation of worker cooperatives that they are creating; also to have a larger percentage of Jackson’s GNP to come from their organization
  • The organization has been very well-received by the community, though many campaign contributors to the new mayor are oppositional to the organization and the vision of justice and equity they put forward
  • ”…the arms that are open to us are far more powerful than the few detractors when they act as a unified front. But, the detractors presently control much of the economy of the city and region, so we have a fight on our hands.”
  • The fundamental importance of creating worker-owned cooperatives in Jackson is laying the foundation for the development of economic democracy, which will produce wealth equity, necessary for the improvement of the poverty and living conditions and life chances of the majority of Jackson residents
  • Originally designed to work with the late-Mayor Chokwe Lumumba administration to incubate, educate, and help finance startup costs for new cooperatives, after his passing, they have had to kickstart their development and sustained growth without the institutional support of the municipal government
  • ”We firmly believe that we can become the Mondragon of the South, and the U.S. for that matter, because of our strong social base in the community and our connection to the vibrant social movements in the city. Our connection with these forces provides us with many opportunities that do not exist in other cities in the U.S. Further, we believe that our geographic location provides us with a lot of opportunities to do extended regional, national, and international cooperative trade.”
  • Since the financial crisis of 07-10: “more forces within the cooperative movement are becoming more in-tune and intertwined with the local and global movements for social justice, particularly the struggle to eliminate the gross wealth inequities that exist in the world today. Our experience in Jackson is centered on strong social movements being the driving engine for economic transformation and government reform.”
  • They aim to reach a significant economic scale and scope within the city and greater region
  • Advice: starting a similar organization will take years to decades to create the conditions they have created in Jackson. The work is not instantaneous. Put socially-just principles at the forefront of everything you do. This will help you reach vast amounts of people essential for creating something truly transformative
  • They launched the Sustainable Communities Initiative, their first major business, which seeks to create a community land trust and community development corporation to help them launch several of their cooperatives such as a construction coop, recycling coop, urban farming coop, childcare coop & arts and culture coop.
  • ”We firmly believe that social conditions throughout the United States are ripe for the construction of economic democracy and we hope and encourage everyone to get involved in this fight with us wherever you are.”

"Creative Placemaking: How to Do It Well” by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus

  • Markusen & Gadwa Nicodemus wrote a white paper commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) about creative placemaking. Over a period of six months, they surveyed successful forerunners while identifying keys to success and common obstacles. They surveyed a diverse array of communities (older, industrial, inner cities; younger, low-density cities; rural towns; Native American reservations).
  • They crafted a definition of creative placemaking with the goal of being broad enough to fit all of those communities. They emphasized three main features: “strategic action by cross-sector partners, a place-based orientation, and a core of arts and cultural activities.”
  • Definition: “In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, nonprofit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local businesses viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.”
    • Partnerships: Essential and Challenging
  • Cross-Sector partnerships fundamental to creative placemaking
  • Features of good partnering: they are made, not born. Your vision and persistent search for the right partner pays off. Successful initiators selectively choose partners with complementary skills
  • Challenges: coalition building, courting public will, navigating imbalances in power, skills & resources
  • To overcome challenges: each partner must understand and take seriously the other’s priorities, acknowledge the skills and resources you do not have, patiently teach and share with the other what you bring to the table, you must learn to tolerate “personal rough edges” or deal with them diplomatically, input from diverse community constituencies affected by the initiative must be incorporated
  • Organizational time and resources can be challenging as well
    • Designing around Distinctiveness and Local Patronage
  • It’s important to build on the uniqueness of a place and its community practices
  • Place local and regional community participation at the center of your operation, actively engage community members
    • Roles for Community Development Bankers
  • Community development banks is key in creative placemaking
  • Can assist create and manage things like arts-dedicated residential, presentation and commercial space with minimal displacement
  • Can fund artist homeownership
  • Helps to ensure success by counseling clients about local regulations & future maintenance and programming costs to assist with viability beyond the initial startup
    • Evaluating Creative Placemaking Outcomes
  • Evaluation and performance metrics charting impacts on artists, the area arts community, local businesses, residents, quality of life, civic engagement, return on the dollar, and opportunity cost
    • Improving the Model
  • Importance of the intrinsic contributions of arts and culture as equal with instrumental contributions
  • Importance of equity
  • Appropriate financing
  • More innovation in regards to the tailoring of parameters to specific community circumstances

Regional Data Research

(1) If your enterprise wanted to locate in the community (among the 4 we are analyzing) which had the greatest number of High School Graduates and Some College education combined in 2017, which community would you pick?


(2) If your location decision is to be based on the most favorable population trend in the category of the Number of High School Graduates, which community would you select?

Montpelier, as it has had an increase in high school graduates since 2015.

(3) Which community had the highest growth rate for the period 2010-2017 in the Graduate or Professional degree category?

Burlington has had the highest growth over this period for graduate or professional degrees.

(4) Which community had the greatest decline in Graduate/Professional median wages? In your opinion, why might your company choose to locate there?

Montpelier had the greatest decline in Graduate/Professional median wages. My company may choose to locate there because the population 25 years and older, though having faced a major hit around 2012, has steadily recovered since then and this is our target customer age demographic. The overall median household income has increased from 2010-2017.

(5) Which community has the least disparity between men and women in Graduate/Professional degrees? Why do you think that smaller disparity exists in the community you identified?

Generally Montpelier has had the least disparity between men and women in Graduate/Professional degrees. The overall median wages for this group has declined, so it’s unlikely this disparity exists because of better wages. However, the wage gap for Graduate/professional degrees has been steadily closing in.

Using visioning and preferred future work as a guide, articulate ideas for a new enterprise, business or organization. What do you want (vision)? What is it? What does it do? Who is it for?


The Living Room, Inc. is a C corporation located in Bennington, VT. The Living Room aims to foster a community of like-minded artists and individuals dedicated to social change. The Living Room will do so by offering co-working spaces for artists as well as immersive installation art, events, film screenings, panels for community discussions, and more. By offering unique, never-before-seen, interactive installations, we will entice a loyal customer base as our events will be ever-evolving and changing, they will be incentivized to return. In the future, we are looking to become a B corporation to show our dedication to our core values.

Using a building for gallery/installation space, office space, a community workspace for artists, renting out the space for creatives and art-based companies for workspace, generally to foster a good community. The art has social purpose. Films, documentaries, photography series, any art medium. Would love immersive installation art pieces. Including oral history, supporting marginalized groups with a platform to express their truth. Tied into activism, including legislative activism and the art would not only informpeople, humanize the issues, and hopefully foster compassion, but also transcend the space and move out into the world to bring tangible change.


My sister and I recently soft-launched our astrology consultant services called The Seeing Stars where we provide in-depth birth chart analysis to foster our clients’ personal growth. As an extension of our astrology brand we want to start a seeing stars cannabis dispensary lounge and cafe. We will have astrology related events and the cafe will have astrology themed wellness blends and treats. We'd like to start this in Portland, OR. We would be looking to have a worker-owned co-op, hiring people who were charged with cannabis-related crimes prior to legalization in Oregon. A cannabis dispensary cafe/lounge layout is popular in Europe and it's likely to reach the US as legalization progresses. There was recently one opened in California.

Week 5

MVP: Quickly Validate your Start-Up

  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) “way of narrowing down your idea into the smallest amount of stuff online that validates your assumptions”
  • helps you understand what exactly people are responding to/enjoying about what you’re offering because it’s narrowed down rather than offering many things and wondering which part it is the consumer likes
  • check what your users want before getting too far ahead and producing

as a ____ i need ____ so i can ____

ex: as a: lazy cat owner i need: monthly food box so i can: not leave the house

  • we want a series of decisions that tie together to an outcome

start of UX (user) flow: -decision from pt of view of the user to interact with the brand -wtf? (price? how it works?) -kind of ____ (ex. cat?: age? size? temperament?) -blog -plan (weekly, monthly, yearly) -health (indoor, organic, vegan) -shipping (metro, international, priority, drone) -account (new, log in, guest, fb/li/tw, github) -email (confirm, coupon code, referral, support) -food box!

  • go through the flow and decide what users won’t care about, certain parts that make people happy, parts that are on brand
  • your brand is what your users tell other people it is
  • gets narrowed down to:

-decision -wtf? (price) -plan (monthly) -health -email (confirm) -food box!

  • checks our assumptions against those of importance

"The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries - BOOK SUMMARY

  • help startups allocate their resources more effectively
  • startups are about testing & learning faster than your competitors
  • don’t assume you know what the market wants
  • rinse & repeat type of cycle: build a product, measure customers’ reactions, learn if your idea has been validated OR if you need to adapt. THEN: repeat the cycle until your customers need a clear signal that your product fits a market need
  • Design the test: consider 2-3 key assumptions you’re making that will determine your success. find ways to test them
  • Build your MVP: after designing the test, build your mvp. just includes the critical features your product needs to yield results
  • Measure Reactions: collect data, come up with a baseline of metrics before analyzing. be clear about what success and failure look like.
  • Assess what you learned: Pivot or Persevere. Persevere if your assumptions are confirmed, focus on refining the product. Pivot if one of your key assumptions is wrong. You may have to change your idea or focus on a different customer segment.
  • Start the cycle over again

Design for Action, By Tim Brown and Roger Martin, Harvard Business Review, 2015

  • Design tools have been adapted into a distinct new discipline: design thinking
  • ”But as the complexity of the design process increases, a new hurdle arises: the acceptance of what we might call “the designed artifact”—whether product, user experience, strategy, or complex system—by stakeholders…with very complex artifacts, the design of their “intervention”—their introduction and integration into the status quo—is even more critical to success than the design of the artifacts themselves.”
  • The more complex & less tangible the designed artifact is, the less possible it is to ignore potential effects
  • Consider both the design of the artifact & the design of the intervention that creates/integrates it
  • Intervention design grown from iterative prototyping - the design-oriented approach popularized by IDEO understood users on a deeper and ethnographic level more than the typical quantitative and statistical
  • IDEO rapid prototyping: reengage with users sooner with a very low-resolution prototype for early feedback, repeat process in short cycles to steadily improve the product until the users were happy with it.
  • Iterative rapid-cycle prototyping improved the artifact & obtained funding and organizational commitment to bring it to market
  • Iterative interaction with the decision maker: early on asking the responsible executive “We think this is the problem we need to solve; to what extent does that match your view?” then strategy designers respond “Here are the possibilities we want to explore, given the problem definition we agreed on; to what extent are they the possibilities you imagine? Are we missing some, and are any we’re considering nonstarters for you?” then designers return again with “We plan to do these analyses on the possibilities that we’ve agreed are worth exploring; to what extent are they analyses that you would want done, and are we missing any?”
    • The direction proposed has gradually won commitment this way through its creation process
  • Again, the thoughtful design of the artifacts is equally as important as the introduction of the artifacts into the status quo
  • ”The principles of this approach are clear and consistent. Intervention is a multistep process—consisting of many small steps, not a few big ones. Along the entire journey interactions with the users of a complex artifact are essential to weeding out bad designs and building confidence in the success of good ones.”

What is Strategy?, Michael Porter, HBR

Idea in brief:

  • Operational effectiveness: performing better, faster, or with fewer inputs and defects than competitors
  • Productivity frontier: maximum value a company can offer at a given cost with the best available technology, skills & management techniques. The productivity frontier moves outward while lowering costs and improving value
  • Competitive convergence: the more benchmarking competitors do/the more indistinguishable they become
  • Strategic positioning: achieving sustainable competitive advantage by preserving the distinct and unique qualities about your company; performing different activities from competitors or performing similar activities in different ways

Idea in practice - Three key principles:

1. Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities - strategic position comes from 3 sources:

  • Serving few needs of many customers
  • Serving broad needs of few customers
  • Serving broad needs of many customers in a narrow market

2. Strategy requires you to make trade-offs in competing, choosing what not to do. Gains will be achieved in one area at the expense of another area 3. Strategy involves creating "fit" among a company's activities. The fit involves how a company's activities interact and reinforce one another. It drives competitive advantage and sustainability - activities that mutually reinforce one another make it harder for competitors to imitate.

  • Employees should be guided on how to deepen strategic position as opposed to broadening or compromising it, how to extend the unique qualities and strengthening the fit. Discipline, setting limits, and direct communication are required in order to decide which target group of customers/needs to serve. Strategy & leadership are inextricably linked.

Operational Effectiveness is Not Strategy

  • flexible & quickly responsive to competitive and market changes
  • benchmark consistently to maintain best practice
  • outsource aggressively for efficiency
  • focus on a few core competencies
  • "hypercompetition is a self-inflicted wound, not the inevitable outcome of a changing paradigm of competition."
  • root of the problem: failure to differentiate operational effectiveness & strategy (both are essential to superior performance)
  • Operational Effectiveness: Necessary but Not Sufficient
  • must preserve the difference within your company to outperform rivals, deliver greater value or create comparable value at a lower cost or both - delivering greater value allows you to charge higher avg unit prices while greater efficiency gives lower avg unit costs
  • Operational Effectiveness (OE): performing similar activities better than competitors. Includes efficiency. Practices that allow the company to utilize its inputs better. Strategic positioning: performing different activities from competitors or performing similar ones in different ways

Further revision and sharpening of your enterprise idea

The Seeing Stars ~ Lounge & Cafe

  • Astrology-themed cannabis dispensary, lounge & cafe
  • Wellness blends & baked goods at cafe, adaptogenic blends, cafe split menu (sativa: stimulants like coffee; indica: herbal teas)
  • Hosting astrology, tarot, wellness/spiritual events
  • Worker-owned co-op
  • Hiring people who were previously incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes prior to legalization
  • Portland, OR

Week 6

Develop Your Value Proposition Canvas

  • Who is your customer?
    • Young urban professionals age 21-35

Customer example:

    • 25
    • Portland metro area
    • Bachelors degree
    • 30k+/year
    • They live with roommates who don’t like smoking and don’t want smoking in the house so they need a safe environment to relax and find a like-minded community
  • What jobs does your customer need to complete?
    • Relieve stress
    • Community Grantharlow (talk) 14:41, 3 April 2019 (UTC)what are you doing o give it a sense of community?
    • If they buy a product at a regular dispensary they may not have a place to use it
  • What “pains” does your customer have?
    • Shame/have to hide it at home
    • Risk getting in trouble with police or getting kicked out of your apartment/house
    • People who don’t drink/feel comfortable hanging out in bars
  • What gains would your customer desire?
    • fostering a sense of community (spiritual/new age events & pop-ups)
    • a safe & fun place to consume product bought from the dispensary
    • increased sense of wellbeing
    • convenient & could save money through things like joint + snack deals
  • What product or service do you plan to offer?
    • variety of joints, organic flower, some edibles
    • regular cafe food & baked goods & drinks (Wellness blends, adaptogenic blends)
    • provide a place to purchase product and smoke, get food and a drink, enjoy a lounge space
    • spiritual/new age community events
    • gives tourists a place as well
  • What pain relievers will your product/service offer?
    • offering a welcoming community in a public space to dispel shame
    • a space place that is legal where there is no risk of getting fined or kicked out of your housing
    • an alternative to bars as a drinking-based social environment
  • What gains will your product/service create?
    • a fun, safe, social, accepting and open community of like-minded people provides an increased sense of wellbeing
    • convenience factor of having all of these services offered in one spot

Define Your Business and Impact Assumptions

  • target customer:


  • problem my customer wants to solve:

no place to purchase & consume cannabis safely & legally, let alone a place to get food & beverage very conveniently at the same time

  • my customer’s needs can be solved with:

a legal cannabis cafe/lounge

  • my customer can’t solve this today because:

no cafe/lounges exist yet in oregon

  • the measurable change my customer wants to achieve:

having a physical public location to smoke without having to worry about getting fined or coming into conflict with other people

  • primary customer acquisition:

social media marketing, local papers, advertising in partnered dispensaries

  • earliest adopter will be:

cannabis enthusiasts

  • make money by:

direct in-house sales of cannabis products, branded merchandise, food & drink; membership/subscription for customer loyalty discounts and exclusive offers; event fees

  • primary competition will be:

potentially others who will be doing the same cannabis cafe/lounge model

  • beat my competitors with:

a superior space & experience, offer good combo deals, excellent customer service

  • biggest risk to financial viability:

inexperience with the food industry & cannabis industry

  • biggest risk to achieving impact:

poor marketing strategy leading to not enough exposure/visibility in the marketplace

  • assumptions if proven wrong would cause this business to fail:

that there isn’t a market for this

The Business Model Canvas

  • key partners: organic cannabis producer, coffee producer, food
  • key activities: branding the business, identifying and hiring the right employees, training the staff, developing good relationships with key partners, securing necessary resources
  • key resources: capital, equipment for a full kitchen and coffee shop, cannabis, coffee, and food producers, a space to rent, licensing,
  • value propositions: cafe experience, place to hang out w friends, quality food, coffee, and cannabis
  • customer relationships: good customer service, open communication between customers and employees to help educate, support, and consult on how to use the product
  • channels: physical channel, reach our customers through social media & word of mouth
  • customer segments: 21-35, portland metro area
  • cost structure: rent of the shop, beverage of food purchase, marketing, equipment (i.e. coffee machine, lighters), branding costs, staff salaries
  • revenue streams: membership/subscription for customer loyalty discounts and exclusive offers, in-house sales of cannabis products, branded merchandise, food&drink, event fees

Research Links

Week 7

if we offer a loyalty rewards program then 25% more customers will become repeat customers

if we build out a cool, inviting space then 500 customers will want to spend their time there

Malachcampbell (talk) Just curious about what "500 customers" entails... 500 customers per day? Per month?

if we offer combination deals for cafe drinks/food & cannabis products then 25% more customers will be enticed to consume both services rather than just one

who do you want to learn from?

- average customers

- contractors & interior designers

- environmental specialist?

- cannabis industry insiders

what do you want to learn?

- what the capacity should be, the flow of the space, seating, most functional and stylistic use of the space, how to build an aspirational space, what type of spacial designs are most inviting/people respond best to

- what kind of air purification/filtration system do we need for legal requirements?

- what types of drink/food/cannabis combinations would people enjoy the most?

- what kind of discounts and rewards would customers find most valuable and would make them want to join the loyalty program?

how will you get to them?

- look at our own connections in our network

- reach out to people via DMs for those in the cannabis industry

- cold calls


who is my target customer?

- cannabis enthusiasts

do i know anyone who fits this category?

- yes

who do i know that could introduce me to someone new?

- friends

who will i approach first?

- friends

who might be my early adopters?

- cannabis influencers

do i know anyone who fits this category?

- not personally

who do i know that could introduce me to someone new?

- instagram

who will i approach first?

- @ladiesofparadise

who might be my critical stakeholders?

- cannabis producers

- Tea Bar

- Smalltime Roasters

- food partners

- contractors/interior designers

do i know anyone who fits this category?

- yes

who do i know that could introduce me to someone new?

- instagram - social network

who will i approach first?

- Smalltime Roasters


1. How much would you want to pay for a loyalty membership? What offers would you like to see included in that membership?

Malachcampbell (talk) I think another important point to get at is whether loyalty membership programs are appealing to people. Yes, many places offer them, but, speaking from experience, I never pay them any mind, or know how they function for that matter. Is it based on tips or merely how many times you frequent the place? Are they successful in creating "repeat customers"?

2. What kind of food & beverages would you most enjoy pairing with cannabis?

3. What is most important to you when you are choosing a cafe to hang out in? What qualities about these spaces have you found to feel most inviting?

4. What would your biggest concerns be about being a customer at a weed lounge/cafe?

5. What events would you like to see offered?

6. What is your favorite method of smoking?

7. What neighborhoods do you like hanging out in the best?

8. How much do you spend on cannabis a month?

9. How much do you spend on coffee/tea/cafe food a month?

10. How do you decide which brand of cannabis to buy from?


a. my hypothesis

if we offer a loyalty rewards program then 25% more of our instagram followers will become repeat customers

b. a feature that could capture that hypothesis (what could i build or do?)

promote on social media (instagram) and educate the consumer about the perks

c. the question i need to answer:

did our posts work? did it convert them into loyalty members?

d. the experiment i will run:

build up the hype by teasing the launch of the loyalty program, then creating a cute and colorful on-brand instagram story & post about the loyalty program at its launch date

e. what success will look like: (what are my pass/fail metrics)

how many people clicked through the link signed up? what was the conversion rate?


a. my hypothesis

if we build out a cool, inviting space then 500 customers will want to spend their time there

b. a feature that could capture that hypothesis (what could i build or do?)

have the space built

c. the question i need to answer:

how many customers dine & smoke-in?

d. the experiment i will run:

create an aspirational space striking the right balance between comfortable but not too comfortable where people linger too much. count the number of dine/smoke-in customers vs. take-away.

e. what success will look like: (what are my pass/fail metrics)

reach 500 within a month


a. my hypothesis

if we offer combination deals for cafe drinks/food & cannabis products then 25% more customers will be enticed to consume both services rather than just one

b. a feature that could capture that hypothesis (what could i build or do?)

offer three different combo options: beverage & cannabis, food & cannabis, beverage & food & cannabis

c. the question i need to answer:

is this a more effective way of getting our customers to consume all of the products we offer at once?

d. the experiment i will run:

offer & promote the combination deals. compare numbers between first month without combination deals and next month with combination deals: how many people purchased cannabis & cafe item(s) vs. just one? then, how many people purchased a combination deal vs. just one product?

e. what success will look like: (what are my pass/fail metrics)

25% more customers purchased more than one product after introducing combination deals.


MVP Design

my key features to test:

- promote on social media (instagram) and educate the consumer about the perks

- have the space built

- offer three different combo options: beverage & cannabis, food & cannabis, beverage & food & cannabis

Week 8

Google Drive Page