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.
Introduce yourself to the course community and reflect on what you hope to learn.
In this lecture, Scott will define stretching and why it is important to understand and incorporate this concept into our daily lives.
In this lecture, Scott will describe who can benefit from a stretching mindset.
Scott will share how his experience in Silicon Valley and academic research led to his interest in stretching and resourcefulness.
In this lecture, Scott will explain the common misconceptions that more resources equates to better results.
In this lecture, Scott will use a real world example to showcase the differences between a chaser and a stretcher.
In this lesson, Scott will introduce you to the four key mindsets that characterize stretchers.
In this lesson, Scott will conceptualize the first key mindset, psychological ownership, and illustrate it using real life stories.
In this lesson, Scott will demonstrate how you can develop and practice psychological ownership habitually in your daily life and at work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this lecture, Scott will discuss how you can integrate the mentality of finding silver linings in daily situations.
In this exercise, you'll learn to keep a benefits diary to uncover new use cases for things you encounter in your daily life.
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.
In this exercise, you'll identify areas of your life where you could actually free up more creative energy by turning down additional resources.
In this lecture, Scott will introduce why knowing a little about a lot can be beneficial for everyone.
In this lecture, Scott will suggest ways you can diversify your knowledge.
In this exercise, you'll think through how you can apply diverse experiences and perspectives to your Stretching Challenge.
In this lecture, Scott will explain how not having everything precisely planned can be advantageous.
In this lecture, Scott will recommend practical changes you can take to start replying less on a script in your daily routines.
In this exercise, you'll go about a task without a script and then reflect on the process.
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.
In this lecture, Scott will share strategies you can use to uncover hidden resources and instruct you on how to reconsider their potential.
In this exercise, you'll learn to find things around you that can be used in new ways.
In this lecture, Scott will explain 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.
In this exercise, you'll look at an object from your environment, break it down into its component parts, and uncover new use cases.
In this lecture, Scott will emphasize the crucial balance you must develop between novelty and usefulness when considering unlikely combinations.
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.
In this lecture, Scott counsels an entrepreneur on how she can stretch and improvise when supplies and resources 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.
In this exercise, you'll reflect on the case studies and come up with ways you can use stretching in 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.
Acumen is a non-profit 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 $108 million in 99 companies across Africa, Latin America and South Asia and was named one of Fast Company's Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies in 2015. We also run +Acumen, a global learning community for social change-makers. Be an effective force for change with Acumen's online courses and chapters.
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.