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Spoon University Chapter Launch Program

Re-thinking the way we launch new chapters on college campuses through service and systems thinking

Timeline: 3 months
Role: Project lead, service designer, researcher
Collaborators: Sarah Adler (CTO)


Challenge

Spoon University was looking to scale their chapter launch program from 50 to 100+ founders per semester. However, the existing program was too disorganized to scale— it suffered from internal miscommunication, lack of data and an inefficient use of the community managers' time.

 

Solution

A cohort-structured launch program guides founders through weekly objectives leading up to launch. The service re-design included a new strategy-driven marketing system, vetting process, video training tools—all optimized through digital automation and clear user flows.

    The Key Results

    keyresults

     

    00. Process

     
    process
     

    01. Service Audit

    I began my research with an audit of the entire chapter launch process, interviewing 5 student founders and the Spoon community team. The extent of program documentation I began with is pictured below. So I drew from my personal experiences of launching chapters to define major pain points.

     There was no real documentation of the launch process when I first joined the team. This was the result of a 2-hour conversation with the community team trying to outline the existing process.

    There was no real documentation of the launch process when I first joined the team. This was the result of a 2-hour conversation with the community team trying to outline the existing process.

     

    02. Identifying the Problem

    From my personal experience with chapter launches, the core issue was clear.

    Each founder goes through the launch program individually. This overwhelmed the community manager with 50+ conversation lines, while students were limited to weekly conversations with just the community manager.

    PROBLEM.jpg
     

    03. Defining Design Principles

    From the numerous pain points, I synthesized the program objectives into 6 design principles. Each principle addresses a student or community manager's core needs.

    designprinciples.jpg
     

    04. Ideation

    Brainstorming multiple storyboards of the program structure helped clarify the details. 

    Namely, it helped define the overall cadence, the user's emotional journey and task list, and the technical product and materials we needed.

     

     Mapping out potential program structure and user journeys.

    Mapping out potential program structure and user journeys.

     We spent a lot of time holed up in this room building the program schedule.

    We spent a lot of time holed up in this room building the program schedule.

    Mapping everything against the winter semester calendar ensured the program schedule had key metrics and milestones built in to evaluate risk.

    Defining program stages alongside cohort schedules.

     

    newchapterlaunchprogram
     

    A collaboration-driven cohort program that maximizes digital automation, empowers founders with the right tools and support, and builds a greater sense of community.

       

      Our Approach

      We tackled the holistic customer journey, from first awareness of the brand to official launch of a new chapter. The re-design fundamentally changed the launch program in nearly every stage.

      Today, I'm going to walk you through some of my work through two parts:

      Screenshot 2018-04-14 22.37.28.png
       
       
       
      one.jpg

      RECRUITING

       

      Through new features in our proprietary product, Secret Sauce, and digital tools like Facebook ads and Typeform, we built a smarter, scalable marketing funnel.

       

      Old Service Blueprint

       
      Recruiting Journey.jpg
       

      The Problem: Individualized recruitment is inefficient and uninformed

      • The entire process is time-consuming.
      • (a) There is no significant marketing strategy.
      • (b) There is no management system to track lead retention and conversion.
      • (c) We waste time on repetitive info sessions that could be grouped. Students don't meet other students.
       
       
       

      New Service Blueprint

      Recruiting Journey 2.0.jpg
       
      ad.jpg

      Marketing strategy:

      • Use one digital location to prioritize online marketing, instead of manually recruiting students.
      • Gather data to prioritize platforms and test marketing campaigns
      • Leads land in one digital location and are led through a pre-set sign-up journey
       
      BuildInterestAfter.jpg

      Confirming interest:

      • Register leads in our back-end system with accurate timestamp
      • Can measure drop-off between expressing interest and info session sign up
      • Automated email reminders for info sessions take load off community manager
       
      Info Sessions.jpg

      Grouped info sessions:

      • Prompt students to sign up for pre-scheduled group info sessions to maximize efficiency.
      • Group hangouts provide a preview of the community and helps students feel less intimidated.
       
       
      two.jpg

      LAUNCHING

       
       

      The biggest issue we faced while launching chapters was again the individual support we provided to founders. In addition, the program was organized into stages, but there was no methodology or structure for coaching founders through each stage. The entire process was extremely expertise-based.

       
       
       

      Switching to a Cohort Structure

      Grouping founders together into cohorts or "teams" created a more manageable organizational structure. This way the community manager would spend less time connecting with the same number of people, and founders could connect with other founders.

       
       
      OrgChart Copy.jpg
       
       
       
      Screenshot 2018-03-11 15.33.48.png

      Stage progress with weekly check-ins:

      • Allows each team to go through the chapter launch process together.
      • Creates mini support groups who share challenges, successes, and the same timeline.
      • Community manager now uses decks to guide the conversation and demo tactics.
       
       
       
       Team Slack channels helped founders feel like they weren't alone in the process.

      Team Slack channels helped founders feel like they weren't alone in the process.

      Communication through Slack:

      • Slack channels for each team and the founder class of Winter 2016.
      • Eliminated repeat conversations and sped up communication.
      • Plus, it allowed us to...
        • Publicly celebrate chapter launches
        • Share tips, reminders and questions
        • Survey the founders in real-time
       
       

      IMPACT OVERVIEW.jpg

       
       

      What Did I Learn From This Project?

      • Lowering the barrier to entry also lowered the quality of founders.
      • Because cohorts formed throughout the semester, we needed to understand time as the first variable in our tests. Because we didn't realize the importance of time, we tested for group size and launch requirements. 
      • I would like to have done much more user research and understood the emotional journey for users. However, I think we made the right decision to prioritize our operations and internal team—this was the foundation we needed before we could tackle anything else.