I was fortunate to begin my career in career development in the national headquarters of Employment and Immigration Canada (now Employment and Social Development Canada) working for D. Stuart Conger. Stu was a ‘social inventor” who saw the civil service as the ‘last frontier for entrepreneurship.’ Stu challenged me to invent CHOICES and encouraged me when I was sure I was in over my head. We succeeded, beyond either of our dreams, and Stu remained my mentor for the rest of his life.
The not-for-profit research and development model I followed with CHOICES under Stu’s guidance has served me well in subsequent projects.
Begin with a concept or early prototype of something you believe could be a game-changer in helping youth, whatever their background or circumstance, and be among the best of its kind in the world.
Engage the federal government in a convening role with early-term funding to cover travel, accommodations, development, evaluation, etc.
Convene the best minds you can persuade to volunteer from the most relevant organizations nationally (and perhaps beyond) to collaborate in developing an enhanced national pilot prototype.
Select pilot sites competitively and engage the winners as voluntary co-development partners. No cost is incurred by pilot sites but expectations are crystal clear in terms of fidelity and feedback.
Pilot concurrently in all regions of the country with excellent training and ongoing support. Encourage local decision-makers and influencers, and the media, to visit pilot sites.
Make further enhancements based on pilot feedback then launch with fanfare at a cost that assures ongoing sustainability.
In all likelihood, no sales force is required. Project partners, collaborators, and volunteers are the primary stakeholders in assuring deployment to scale with fidelity in their region.
If appropriate, royalties from adaptations by foreign governments will help fund ongoing infrastructure and research and development.