On May 4-5, 2018, we successfully closed the first pilot of our MasterClass. Out of the 12 candidates who started in September 2017, only 8 made it to the end. We are proud that the MasterClass Team turned our learning center in Bandarawela, Sri Lanka turned into a Hub for Entrepreneurship. Throughout the program, we made 5 important learnings for our MasterClass 2 starting in January 2019.
In September 2017, 12 alumni of our Capability Program set out onto their learning journey as entrepreneurs. Their vision: to turn our learning centers into hubs for entrepreneurship. Eight months later, eight of them met for their closing module at Boldern. On their journey, they lived through a real rollercoaster ride: following the promising kick off module, , many team members felt the lack of a joint vision. The subsequent phase of virtual teamwork proved to be very difficult and ended up in an ad-hoc module in Basel in November. While one part of the team continued with their work on a handbook for courses at the learning centers, the other part followed the idea of an online app linking entrepreneurs with potential investors. Both ideas seemed to be too big to be followed by one team in the time given for the program. As a result, only three team members pitched their idea for an on-site pilot to investors in February. And they won! Three weeks later, they found themselves in Bandarawela accompanying entrepreneurs onto their way to turn their business idea into reality. Two of them received investment and the learning center will now start to integrate entrepreneurship courses in its curriculum as of September 2018.
The team lived through many ups and downs in the last 8 months. Each candidate learnt a lot. And so did BOOKBRIDGE. For our MasterClass 2 starting in January 2019, we take the following lessons learnt from our pilot program:
- Agree on the business challenge prior to start of the program
In our MasterClass pilot, each candidate joined the program with a different business challenge in mind. This was mainly due to the fact that we co-created the business challenge with all candidates until start of the program. However, not everyone could participate in each meeting. In our MasterClass 2, we defined a business challenge upfront so that each candidate joins for the same reason.
- Offer modular structure following our Capability Program
Our MasterClass Pilot only had a kick off and debrief module defined. We imagined that the team would define by themselves when and where certain modules should take place. However, planning proved to be very difficult once the program had started. Not everyone could participate in all modules. In our MasterClass 2, we pre-define the duration and location of our modules.
- Go on-site early and make it mandatory for everyone
Everyone joined our MasterClass Pilot to go on-site. However, due to difficulties in aligning on the vision and the modules, only 3 out of 12 candidates went in the end. The on-site module also happened comparably late in the process. In our MasterClass 2, candidates go on-site four weeks after the kick off and we make it mandatory for everyone.
- Involve business coach throughout the program
The business coach in our MasterClass Pilot was available upon request of the candidates. We expected them to make the decision when they needed a coach and when not. However, it turned out that the coach was missing in important moments of the team process. Hence, the business coach will accompany our MasterClass 2 Team in a structured manner as in our Capability Program. Individual leadership coaching is available upon request.
- Check availability and commitment of each candidate prior to admission
Some candidates joined our MasterClass 1 with very limited time available. The difficult team dynamics made it even more difficult for team members to fully participate in the program. In our MasterClass 2, we will thoroughly check the availability and commitment of each candidate.
We are grateful for all these learnings. The adventure of our MasterClass continues and we are excited to see another team of bridgebuilders starting in January 2019. Some MasterClass 1 candidates decided to act as investors in the next MasterClass 2. We are grateful for this commitment. Stay tuned on how their rollercoaster ride will look like.