Tag Archives: residency_notes

Res 2

Here’s another haiku:

Oh! Graduate school!

Oh windtunnel of learning!

Just bought hotpockets.

And here’s top-line takeaways from second residency:


Discussed market sizing and targeting, which is a process of choosing large market segments and whittling down to the ones best suited to your product. It’s easy to whittle your way right out of profitability, so this is an important step in exploring any business strategy.  Also a discussion of greenwashing. Green authenticity is specific, differentiates company from the competition, is backed up by hard data, and takes a holistic view of the organization’s impact.

Products and Services

We presented our sustainability assessments, and I got the following impression:

Total Beauty– is good for designing a product, but is too general once you have specifics.

Lifecycle Analysis – is good for an evolved product, but too research intensive to inform decisions early on. It also ignores systemic and social factors, which was frustrating to several teams.

We went on to discuss user research, which takes place in two phases: observational research is all about understanding customer needs, not about a product and evaluative research is about seeing how well your solution works. There are a wide variety of mechanisms for both, ranging from passive, highly subjective observation to active, highly quantitative measures. Some interesting ways to identify user needs include looking for “Lead Users”, people experiencing a problem who innovate to solve it somehow. Those innovations are usually highly revealing.


We focused on Net Present values as applied to bonds and stocks. We discussed how stock price can be seen as a function of expected NPV, and examined how NPV can be used in conjunction with financial forecasting.

Strategic Management

We focused the day on scenario planning, developing scenarios to test strategies for our POL partners. The core process included:

  1. Identifying a focal question for our scenarios. (Ie “What is the future of agricultural productivity and the global food market?”)
  2. Brainstorming and refining forces which impact that issue (Ie. natural gas prices, water legislation and availability, pollinator dieoff etc.)
  3. Using those focal issues to draft axes of change and create a matrix of possible futures (Ie “Radical water legislation and skyrocketing energy prices, radical water legislation and semistable energy prices, existing water legislation and skyrocketing energy prices….”)
  4. Brainstorm headlines from each possible future, and use them to construct a story.

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