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12 Principles to Build a Better World

Embrace the Challenge

Embrace the Challenge

12 mini-lessons and accompaniment activities sent to your inbox

Get a synopsis of 12 hard-edged skills Acumen has learned from nearly 20 years of working with effective leaders who have broken boundaries and improved how the poor, the vulnerable, and the earth are treated.

Redefining Success
Moral Imagination
Listen to Voices Unheard
Practice Courage
Holding Values in Tension
Avoid the Conformity Trap
Use Markets Don't be Seduced by Them
Partner with Humility & Audacity
Accompany Each Other
Tell Stories that Matter
Embrace the Beautiful Struggle

Find the others

A real-time online workshop that will change the way you show up

Course Description

In this workshop, you'll access the most important principles Acumen has learned from more than 20 years working with leaders who are breaking boundaries and to improve how the poor, the vulnerable and the earth are treated.

There is no action too small, and there's no time like right now.

You don't need to be a social entrepreneur, nonprofit guru or an activist to benefit from this course. Because the work belongs to all of us.

The workshop features a dozen video lessons inspired by Jacqueline's new book, and it focuses on peer-to-peer discussions and actions you can take with your team. You can engage in the workshop over the course of two months, or learn from the videos in just a few hours.

Course Syllabus

Learning Tools

5 reading guides

5 workshop guides to structure your own human-centered design project

7 videos featuring Tim Brown, David Kelley, Patrice Martin of IDEO, and more

Supplemental resources

Introduction to Human-Centered Design

Introduction and the Beginner’s Mind

Icebreaker: Visual Telephone

Discussion: Introduction to Human-Centered Design

Activity: Mini Design Challenge to Design a Better Commute

Inspiration Phase

Activity: Choose Your Design Challenge

Discussion: Team Knowledge and Key Assumptions

Activity: Plan Your Research

Activity: Build an Interview Guide

Activity: Conduct Your Research

Ideation Phase

Discussion: Share Stories and Learnings from User Research

Activity: Cluster Insights into Themes

Activity: Create Insights Statements

Activity: Create ‘How Might We’ Questions

Prototyping Phase

Activity: Brainstorm

Activity: Select Your Best Ideas

Activity: Gut Check

Activity: Create a Storyboard

Discussion: Determine What to Prototype

Activity: Start Prototyping

Activity: Test Your Prototype and Get Feedback

Implementation Phase

Activity: Create an Action Plan

Activity: Create a Pitch

Activity: Share Your Solution


Discussion: Moving Forward

Download Syllabus (PDF)
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Proven, Powerful, and Inspiring

A real-time online workshop that will change the way you show up

The world needs your help, now more than ever. Many of our institutions have run their course, but we've not imagined what to replace them with. Change not only is possible, but the need for change is urgent. But how to start and what to do?

This is a moment for each of us to show up and lead. The work has never been more important.

The good news is that the world is ready to redefine success. More and more of us understand that the skills of the last century aren't enough to tackle the complex problems we face today. In fact, needed is a new set of skills if we are to build truly inclusive, sustainable solutions.

We can't wait for some mystical leader to show up. It's up to us and the time is now.

For organizations and for individuals

A real-time online workshop that will change the way you show up

Join Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen, along with hundreds of other social entrepreneurs, change agents and leaders in a collaborative workshop that will help you make a difference.

We are surrounded by unsustainable levels of inequality, divisiveness and injustice, at the same time that we're grappling with global climate crisis. The institutions and systems we have today can only get us so far, and some of them are part of the problem.

It is a moment for each and every one of us to lean into. Because this work will take all of us and it has never been more urgent.

For the last 20 years, Acumen has been working with individuals who have tackled some of the toughest issues of our time. As the pioneers in social entrepreneurship, they are effectively turning ideas into reality in ways that put humanity and not profits at the center of their work.

You'll learn to apply those principles to your own social change journey;

Fair Warning

This won’t be passive. In this email series, you’ll be asked to take action, be courageous, hold tensions, connect and engage with others, and... just start.