Acumen Presents: Scott Sonenshein on Resourcefulness
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Acumen Presents: Scott Sonenshein on Resourcefulness

Unlock the Power of Doing More With Less from a Rice University Business Professor and Bestselling Author
Best Seller
4.4 (65 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
429 students enrolled
Last updated 8/2017
English [Auto-generated]
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 11 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Shift from a chasing mindset to a stretching mindset
  • Reimagine what is necessary to achieve your goals, and begin to see the value of your constraints
  • Practice implementing a stretch mindset in your daily life—at work and at home
  • Apply a stretching mindset to key issues facing social entrepreneurs including constrained funding, limited resources, and environmental/circumstantial changes
View Curriculum
  • This course is open to anyone who wants to learn how to become more resourceful. There are no prerequisites.

Social entrepreneurs exist in environments of scarcity—they’re consistently strapped for time and funding, and yet are trying to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, like homelessness, healthcare, and energy access for the poor.  What if they could unlock new mindsets and skills to learn how to leverage their constraints and achieve greater impact with less?

In this course, Scott Sonenshein—author of Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, and professor of business at Rice University—will use engaging stories and research to teach social entrepreneurs how they can stretch what they have and succeed using the science of resourcefulness.

Scott will present his framework about the key pillars of a stretch mindset along with business case studies and practical exercises that you can use to practice applying a “stretch” mindset in your life and organization. Specifically you will define a "Stretching Challenge" that you're facing in your own life or work and use each of the course exercises and lessons to reconceptualize it while uncovering new or hidden resources that can lead to breakthrough solutions. This course is ideal for anyone facing constraints and obstacles in their life or organization, or who wants to consider their opportunities and resources in a new, more optimistic light.

Who is the target audience?
  • Social entrepreneurs, nonprofit employees, or anyone who wants to make meaningful change while facing resource constraints
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Curriculum For This Course
40 Lectures
Introduction to the Course
7 Lectures 11:09

Scott welcomes you to the course and explains what will be covered.

Preview 01:33

Introduce yourself to the course community and reflect on what you hope to learn.

EXERCISE: Frame Your Stretching Challenge

In this lecture, Scott will define stretching and why it is important to understand and incorporate this concept into our daily lives.

Why Stretching Matters

In this lecture, Scott will describe who can benefit from a stretching mindset. 

Preview 00:58

Scott will share how his experience in Silicon Valley and academic research led to his interest in stretching and resourcefulness.

How Silicon Valley Sparked an Interest in Stretching

In this lecture, Scott will explain the common misconceptions that more resources equates to better results.

Preview 01:47

In this lecture, Scott will use a real world example to showcase the differences between a chaser and a stretcher.

The Story of a Chaser and a Stretcher
Avoiding a Chasing Mindset
2 Lectures 04:33

In this lecture, Scott will describe the concept of chasing and why it is detrimental.

Preview 02:44

In this lecture, Scott will share how the story of exemplifies the downfalls of chasing.

A Story of Chasing
The Stretching Mindset
13 Lectures 18:25

In this lesson, Scott will introduce you to the four key mindsets that characterize stretchers.

Preview 00:47

In this lesson, Scott will conceptualize the first key mindset, psychological ownership, and illustrate it using real life stories.

Psychological Ownership

In this lesson, Scott will demonstrate how you can develop and practice psychological ownership habitually in your daily life and at work.

Practical Exercise: Psychological Ownership

In this exercise, you'll reflect on how to apply the concept of psychological ownership to your own project or business to unlock better results.

EXERCISE: Psychological Ownership

In this lecture, Scott will define frugality as the act of prioritizing long-term objectives over short-term pleasures. He will introduce the philosophy from CEO of Fastenal as an example of this mindset. 


In this lecture, Scott will recommend you begin exercising frugality starting in your own home. 

Practical Exercise: Shop Your Closet

In this exercise, you'll learn to look around your "closets" or existing environment and see if you can find the resources and supplies you need among the stuff you already have.

EXERCISE: Closet Audit

In this lecture, Scott will characterize the final key mindset, trash to treasure, and examine how entrepreneurs like Jenny Dawson adopted this thinking to create a successful business model. 

From Trash to Treasure

In this lecture, Scott will discuss how you can integrate the mentality of finding silver linings in daily situations.

Practical Exercise: Keep a Benefits Diary

In this exercise, you'll learn to keep a benefits diary to uncover new use cases for things you encounter in your daily life.

EXERCISE: Benefits Diary

In this lecture, Scott will describe how embracing constraints can be beneficial and will share the story of artist Phil Hansen.


In this lecture, Scott will urge you to begin the practice of embracing constraints, starting with simply asking for fewer resources to accomplish something. 

Practical Exercise: Just Say No

In this exercise, you'll identify areas of your life where you could actually free up more creative energy by turning down additional resources.

EXERCISE: Practice Saying No to More
The Skills of Stretching
13 Lectures 24:07

In this lecture, Scott will introduce why knowing a little about a lot can be beneficial for everyone. 

Skill #1: Knowing a Little About a Lot

In this lecture, Scott will suggest ways you can diversify your knowledge.

Practical Exercise: Go Explore

In this exercise, you'll think through how you can apply diverse experiences and perspectives to your Stretching Challenge.

EXERCISE: Go Explore

In this lecture, Scott will explain how not having everything precisely planned can be advantageous. 

Skill #2: Perform Better Without a Script

In this lecture, Scott will recommend practical changes you can take to start replying less on a script in your daily routines. 

Preview 03:21

In this exercise, you'll go about a task without a script and then reflect on the process.

EXERCISE: Develop a Backwards-Looking Plan

In this lecture, Scott will explain how changing your expectations can drastically alter how we approach resources around us. He uses the story of Madame CJ Walker, the first black woman millionaire in the U.S., as an example of this skill.

Skill #3: We Are What We Expect

In this lecture, Scott will share strategies you can use to uncover hidden resources and instruct you on how to reconsider their potential.

Practical Exercise: Find a Sleeping Beauty

In this exercise, you'll learn to find things around you that can be used in new ways.

EXERCISE: Find a Sleeping Beauty

In this lecture, Scott will explain the power of unlikely combinations.

Skill #4: The Power of Unlikely Combinations

In this lecture, Scott will encourage you to dismantle resources and consider the various hidden utilities each part may offer, using a candle as an example.

Practical Exercise: Break Down a Resource Into Its Component Parts

In this exercise, you'll look at an object from your environment, break it down into its component parts, and uncover new use cases.

EXERCISE: Resource Breakdown

In this lecture, Scott will emphasize the crucial balance you must develop between novelty and usefulness when considering unlikely combinations.

Novelty and Usefulness
Case Studies for Social Enterprises
5 Lectures 08:10

In this example, learn about fostering the mindsets and skills of stretching when faced with funding scarcity. Understand how seemingly dire situations can be averted with the right approach.

Case Study 1: Stretching When Funding is Scarce

In this lecture, Scott counsels an entrepreneur on how she can stretch and improvise when supplies and resources are scarce.

Case Study 2: Stretching When Supplies are Scarce

In this lecture, Scott counsels a government work on how he can deal with external forces and factors that limit his access to resources.

Case Study 3: Stretching When the External Environment Changes

In this exercise, you'll reflect on the case studies and come up with ways you can use stretching in your own life.

EXERCISE Apply Stretching to Your Own Life

This quiz will test your stretch and help you find out if you are a Stretcher in Training, Rising Stretcher, or Super Stretcher.

Take the Quiz to See if You're a Stretcher
About the Instructor
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Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $110 million in 102 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company's Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies. 

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Scott Sonenshein
4.4 Average rating
65 Reviews
429 Students
1 Course
Author of "Stretch" & Business Professor at Rice University

Scott Sonenshein is the author of Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined and the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University. His award winning research, teaching, and consulting has helped Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industries such as technology, healthcare, retail, education, banking, manufacturing, and non-profits. He holds a PhD in management and organizations from the University of Michigan.