Agile 101, FOCUS Framework, and Coffee with the Cohort: ISA Weeks 1 and 2

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[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][text_output]With the countdown clock ticking down the seconds until Launch Day, the ISA 2016 Cohort is acutely aware of just how fast the 90 days fly.

The first week of the ISA was filled with intense training sessions to teach teams how to maximize the brief time. Taking lessons learned from the previous two cohorts, this iteration of the ISA will focus on more efficient mentoring, scheduling, and customer discovery.

On the second day of the program, the ISA brought in expert, Nicole Forsythe, for a full day training session on Agile. Using an Agile methodology helps teams increase their productivity by enhancing prioritization and reflection – consequently limiting indecision. It allows teams to plan their business while learning from their progress.

“We had never been exposed to this type of methodology before, and we think it’s going to have a compounding effect going forward.”

Streamweaver COO Wes Merrill

On the following day the cohort focused on customer discovery with a full day workshop led by the creator of the FOCUS Framework, Justin Wilcox. His training focused on helping teams with customer discovery, and it resonated well with the cohort. Most teams are looking for their “Early Adopters,” the people who will be the first to buy their final product. Justin’s workshop helped teams identify who these early adopters are, learn how to talk to them, and how to create solutions (i.e. products) that actually solve their problems.

“Customer discovery interviews give a better idea of what problem we’re trying to solve as opposed to our own ideas about the problem.”

Hang CTO Austin Benson

“Justin Wilcox’s training solved the marketing mystery for me.”

Written CEO Emily Carlson

In the upcoming weeks, the cohort will put their takeaways from these training into practice. While doing so, the ISA will introduce several significant improvements over prior years:

  1. Mentoring this year will be run differently to maximize effectiveness for the teams and mentors. Previously, almost 20 hours per week were scheduled for mentor meetings for each team leaving the teams with little time to put the knowledge gained from their mentors into practice. This year, Coffee with the Cohort, a twice a week event lasting 3 hours in total, replaces those 20 hours.
  2. During Coffee with the Cohort mentors and teams alike will have the chance to pitch their needs and abilities to the full group. Following this, mentors and teams set up individual meetings to continue the discussions fueled by coffee and creativity. The ISA mentor network provides the industry knowledge, experience, and connections – critical factors for startup teams’ long-term success.

“I loved meeting the investors and mentors. Seeing successful entrepreneurs in our community was very inspiring. Being able to have them as a resource is huge.”

Written Vice President of Sales & Research and Development Meegan Hoffmeister

In just one week the ISA 2016 Cohort has already made incredible progress on accelerating their businesses. To see more of their individual successes and growth, subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on social media.

AMP’d Cycles: www.ampdcycles.com (coming soon!)
Smart bicycles creating a safer experience for cyclists.

Streamweaver: @GetStreamweaver http://streamweaver.co/
Influencer marketing platform for e-sports.

Written: @writtenapparel http://www.writtenapparel.com
Creating a globally respected and desired fashion brand from Iowa.

Girls With Ideas: @girlswithideas http://www.girlswithideas.com
Leadership development program for young females.

Asset Rover: @AssetRover http://assetrover.com
Real estate investing simplified.

Hang: @jointhenoww http://www.jointhenow.com/
A mobile app that increases awareness of gatherings, hangouts, and local events to help users be more present in their lives and communities.

Corporate Innovation Team: Quickscore
Rapid test scoring for assessments with data analysis.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]