CPPR’s Incubation Process supports employees to make their ideas happen

Innovation is nothing new at CPPR but there is now a formalized Incubation Process in place to support all staff as they dream big and grapple with that new idea or problem they have been mulling over for months or years.

CPPR believes in supporting ideas and collective action that builds a better world for children and families. CPPR’s mission paired with an ongoing commitment to recognize and cultivate the talent of its employees paved the way for the birth of the Incubation Process. In the Incubation Process, all employees have the opportunity to work through a formal approach designed to generate and support new solutions.

With the support from consultants at Orange Sparkle Ball (OSB), two Launch n’ Learn sessions formally kicked off Incubation at CPPR, where staff learned how to approach a problem using the framework of problem statements, shape their ideas into solutions, and then refine their solution with a test, a minimum viable product (MVP), which is designed to develop quick feedback. The Center has committed $10,000 to fund selected MVPs as part of a formal incubation cohort. It is the goal to run two cohorts each year, giving staff the opportunity to test out ideas that may need financial resources. Employees also had access to several office hour sessions with OSB consultants and members of the CPPR Incubation team to receive personal coaching to further refine their MVPs.

With solutions like DAISEY, IRIS, Our Tomorrows and Lemonade for Life, CPPR knows how innovation often begins by simply asking “what if?” or “what can we do now?” and how quickly that questioning can concentrate into a new venture that makes an impact. The Incubation Process translates the generative nature of ideas into a structured process that shapes an idea from its origin into something that can be implemented and tested. Whether it’s a new product that targets a continuing problem or a process that analyzes a project’s key stages, the Incubation Process provides actionable first steps to encourage employees to raise their questions, follow their instincts, apply their ideas into action, and not be discouraged by failure.

“CPPR staff have always been powered by their ideas and desire to help solve real-world problems,” said Assistant Director Sara Gardner. “Adding a formal incubation process—the twice-a-year cohorts and a year-round set of incubation tools—is a way to invest in those strengths and give them further resources and support. It’s an exciting opportunity to accelerate our impact, both as individuals and as a center.”

All employees at CPPR are vital in moving CPPR’s mission forward, and the Incubation language and tools create a formal process that meets the diverse range of skills, interests, and experiences employees bring to the Center. The Incubation supports and resources were designed in consideration for all employees—not only to those interested in going through twice-a-year cohort—which provides a structure for employees to incubate ideas on their own and have a shared language for when they collaborate with each other.

“The tools of the Incubation Process have opened and challenged my thinking of how problems are solved,” said Ashley Lafond, administrative associate and Incubation Pitch Crew volunteer. “I tend to go broader in my thinking, that a solution needs to be total and meet the global issue of a problem, and Incubation introduced how scaling solutions to chip away at a problem is a valuable place to start. And as a Pitch Crew volunteer, I have the opportunity to see how people are using incubation tools to think outside the box, which I find useful to my day-to-day administrative role and connecting my work to the Center’s mission.”

Incubation candidates are currently preparing to present their MVPs on Pitch Day, Oct. 29, to the Incubation Pitch Crew, fellow CPPR staff who have volunteered to assess and determine which incubation projects will receive funding.

An example of Ventures Mindset at work.