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ACUMEN Free online courses

Deadlines: 3 November / 10 November / 17 November, 2014

Free +Acumen course: Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework developed by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The Adaptive Leadership course is designed to help individuals and organizations through consequential change in times of uncertainty when there are no clear answers. It teaches leaders to identify and tackle systemic change through a process of confronting the status quo and identifying technical and adaptive challenges.

This course will introduce you to several key tools of Adaptive Leadership and show how you can apply these tools within your organization or community life to drive lasting impact. As part of the course, you will bring a current challenge you are up against. Presumably, you will describe something from your work life, but it could also be from your personal, civic or community life. You will work to make progress by: Discovering a sense of your own leadership capacity and building more effective skills for impacting change Understanding the differences between the technical and adaptive elements of your challenge Defining your key stakeholders and how to mobilize them to address the challenge Practicing a courageous conversation in preparation for addressing your challenge You will emerge from the course with a more clearly defined challenge, ideas for how to mobilize your stakeholders, and a toolkit to better address future adaptive challenges. 

You can apply for Adaptive Leadership course HERE by 3 November, 2014. The duration of the course is set to be from 4 November to 16 December, 2014.

Free +Acumen course: Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis

What does social impact mean? How does Acumen assess social impact when considering potential investments? How can you apply the same concepts elsewhere? One of the most common questions we get is how we measure our impact. Is it just the number of lives impacted? How do we know if the goods and services our companies provide are improving lives? When do social and financial goals coincide, and when do they deviate? These questions are core to our work to create a world beyond poverty. Together with Acumen’s Impact Team, we’ve developed this introductory course to help you understand how we analyze impact in our portfolio and how you can apply the same building blocks to any socially-focused company or organization that you are personally excited about. We believe this course will be especially insightful for those interested in impact investing, but it is by no means limited to that audience. Whether you are a philanthropist, a professional in the nonprofit, impact investing or social entrepreneurship field, or if you just want to “do good” in a better way, this course is for you.

You can apply for the Making Sense of Social Impact course HERE by 10 November, 2014. The duration of the course is set to be from 11 November to 30 December, 2014.

Free +Acumen course: Financial Sustainability: The numbers side of social enterprise

Having a clear line of sight on how your social enterprise will reach a profit level required for scaling is a critical part of being a successful social enterprise and achieving the goal of broad social impact and transformation. It’s an issue important at all stages of a new enterprise’s birth and growth (i.e. Blueprint, Validate, Prepare, Scale up phase). Because of this, +Acumen have teamed up with Dr. Erik Simanis to develop this introductory course on financial modeling for start-up social enterprises. Erik has more than a decade of hands-on experience leading and advising social enterprises and major corporations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The course will show you how to think about and build a basic financial model from the ground up, starting from a single “business unit”—a stand-alone profit-center (like a branch, sales office, or individual franchise) that is replicated when you scale. The course will then explain how to connect the business-unit financials with the “home-office” and its associated costs—these are the supporting operations and administrative structures that have to be put in place in order to scale a business. This approach helps ensure that your product or service can be realistically commercialized, and that the business model is built for scalability from the start.

By the end of this four-module course, you will: Understand how to estimate the reach and size of your business unit (i.e., “bound” the business unit) Understand how to estimate the cost structure of the business unit, as well as the home-office-level operations and associated costs that come with scaling Understand how to calculate the necessary price point and gross margin for a profitable and scalable enterprise

You can apply for the Financial Sustainability course HERE by 17 November, 2014. The course duration is set to be from 18 November to 16 January, 2014.

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