A 100-Day innovation cycle to save lives and improve homeless systems

What is a Sprint Cycle?

ORIGINS OF THE SPRINT

In the Fall of 2018, a small group of local partners got together to raise funds to bring a consultant with expertise in building collaboratives to end homelessness to Eau Claire. The purpose was to assess Eau Claire’s readiness to build such a collaborative.


As a result of that initial visit, and working as broader, cross-sector Team, we moved on to ”phase two” of our work with our consultant: launching an Action Lab and Sprint Cycle in April 2019. Building upon decades of good work done by our homeless and housing services partners, from April through July, we worked together to innovate and scale solutions to end homelessness. 


View the Leadership Team  and  Design Team  members for this Eau Claire Sprint

[See below for a description of Team Roles]


WHAT'S THE FOCUS OF THIS FIRST SPRINT?

This first 100-day Sprint focused on Eau Claire’s highest need homeless individuals—those who have a disability and have been homeless for more than a year (and often many years).  Using a proven model of rapid cycle innovation and data-driven performance management, or goal focused on significantly accelerating the move from the street or emergency shelter into stable, supportive housing for our most vulnerable neighbors. This will not only save lives, but public dollars as well. Ending homelessness through the provision of supportive housing is much less expensive than maintaining homelessness through myriad crisis systems.


HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS?

The Sprint structure challenges us to radically re-vision what’s possible and to solve complex problems through collaboration, iterative problem-solving, and a bias toward action over processing and planning. 


Phase One of this work (October 22nd – 26th) was focused on system assessment and promotion of the critical community and partner mindset shift: from the well-intended approach/goal of managing homelessness to an understanding that it is possible to end homelessness (and learn about how).


Phase Two—the Action Lab and Sprint Cycle—focused on beginning the necessary practice shifts: working as a cross-sector team (with one collective, measurable, time-bound goal) to design, test, and implement specific solutions. The purpose of this project is to use action-based problem-solving to introduce and galvanize a new way for local partners to: work together as a collaborative, multi-sector team; design and prototype system solutions; and establish critical data feedback loops for performance management. 


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WHEN IS THE SPRINT HAPPENING?

ACTION LAB

Action Lab was held on April 8th and 9th. During the two-day Action Lab, a Design Team focused on: collaborative team building; diagnosing system problems; redesigning systems and processes, setting one clear, measurable, time-bound, and ambitious 100-day goal.  Urgency unleashes creativity and innovation


THE SPRINT

Day One of the 100-day Sprint started immediately after the Action Lab, on April 10th. During the Sprint, the team engaged in: iterative problem-solving; tested prototypes; tracked performance (developmental vs. summative evaluation), a made course corrections as needed. After the Sprint, on September 11th, we will convene a Momentum Lab, where we will take stock of successes/barriers, lock in the gains, and map out the next improvement and innovation steps. 


THE TEAMS

During the Sprint, the Design Team was supported by a Leadership Team (see below for description of each team). The Design and Leadership team members were enlisted for this Sprint only. If Eau Claire pursues another Sprint Cycle, others will be recruited to those teams.

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DESIGN AND LEADERSHIP TEAMS

ROLE OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAM

(20 - 25 members)

A critical and ongoing role for the Leadership Team is to “clear the path” in a way that allows the Design Team to implement and “pressure test” a new, better, system design during the Sprint cycle. This includes each Leadership Team member using his or her influence (political, professional, personal) to:

· get buy-in for the project from other key leaders and community members

· make policy changes that will streamline housing processes and remove barriers

· secure commitments of new resources (units, services) that will help the Team achieve its goal

· redeploy existing resources and/or staff to enable implementation and testing of the prototype

· empower, create, and protect space for the Design Team to unleash creativity and innovation


Typical types of members include: local government leaders/champions, local philanthropic leaders, and other highly-respected community leaders/boosters. 


View the List of Leadership Team Members for this Eau Claire Sprint


ROLE OF THE DESIGN TEAM

(15 - 20 members)

For the Design Team, you’ll want a mix of front line staff (i.e., people who know the day-to-day homeless system very well, such as a case manager or outreach worker) and program staff/leaders who run critical systems, have detailed knowledge of data and resources, and are innovative thinkers. 


The Design Team will participate in an intensive two-day Action Lab, where they will diagnose system weaknesses and gaps, design a new system prototype, set ambitious and specific goals, generate a detailed work plan, and implement and test the prototype as they pursue the goal over 100 days. On Day Two of the Action Lab, the Design Team will choose a Team Leader, to manage and coordinate the team through the Sprint cycle.


View the List of Design Team Members for this Eau Claire Sprint