Applying lessons learned to a new program with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Silicon Valley Next (SVN) program is impacting the sector even beyond its primary focus of investing in the 12 Fellows of 2020. For Consulting Within Reach, the founder and designer of SVN, the program has served as a key laboratory for a number of key innovations, especially in the design and facilitation of remote leadership cohorts.

We believe these learnings were a major factor in our recent selection by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to design and facilitate their cohort program for 35 of their grantees in San Mateo County. Executive leaders from these agencies will be organized into three cohorts, each meeting monthly from September to the end of 2020. Like SVN, this program will be conducted remotely.

Remote cohorts require a special set of design principles. These include the need for a highly varied set of modalities, creative use of breakout rooms, careful pacing, integrating “offline” coaching, and much more. The onset of COVID forced CWR to rapidly and successfully innovate on these design principles for SVN. We are grateful to receive the opportunity to disseminate these insights more broadly in the sector through this CZI program.

This has been a challenging year for everyone – and the challenges seem to keep coming! But we are even more convinced than ever that these very challenges would also catalyze much needed innovation. Thank you to all the SVN Fellows and funders for partnering with us in this exciting endeavor.