Openness and collaboration are two of the most important values we stand for at Thought For Food (TFF), and are fundamental to our “next generation innovation” mindset and approach.
This ethos guides our decisions every day — from how we organize our TFF Challenge and TFF Global Summit, to how we interact and work with our global community and partners, to how we operate as a team internally. We never stop sharing and collaborating.
We believe these values will ensure organizations thrive in the future. And, for this reason, we have decided to take some bold steps over the next few months, which we hope will take our program to the next level.
To start, we will be integrating many more open-source and open-data partners, frameworks, and opportunities for all of us who care about making a positive impact in food and nutrition security. You’ll be hearing much more about these exciting developments — starting today.
We are open-sourcing our 12-week TFF Bootcamp curriculum!
Up until now, our TFF Bootcamp — which is conducted partially online and partially in-person — was only available to the 10 teams selected as TFF Challenge Finalists. Now, we are making our curriculum freely available to our broader TFF community of next generation innovators in 130 countries, so that more people can access valuable tools and resources to transform their ideas into impact.
What is open source?
Open Source is loosely defined as making some form of content freely available, and free for redistribution and modification. You’ll mainly see this definition used in conversations about technology, particularly software. But it can also apply to other industries — education comes to mind.
There are a few institutions leading the open-source way. Wikipedia and The Mozilla Foundation may be the most well known. Both aim to keep the internet free and open — and, as Mozilla acquires companies, we’re keeping an eye on this space. In the case of open-sourced educational material, MIT OpenCourseWare and Wikiversity are two strong examples we take inspiration from.
The TFF Bootcamp
Our TFF Bootcamp is a defining asset of our TFF Challenge program, and has helped turn hundred of ideas from around the world into viable startups. We’ve spent years bringing together the right partners, building the right relationships and defining what the needs are of disruptive early-stage projects in the Food & Ag space so that we can deliver a top-notch pre-accelerator program.
Our journey started back in 2013. At that time, we reached out to our good friends at Startup Pirates, a world-class pre-accelerator firm in Portugal. Their startup program and coaches are among the best on the market, and we decided to work closely with them to develop and implement a program to train our TFF Finalists in key skills such as lean business methodology and the business model canvas.
This year, we have decided to bring this program in-house so that we can keep up with our global community’s specific needs. We have adapted the TFF Bootcamp curriculum by integrating even more of the best business fundamentals and building blocks available for early-stage Food & Ag projects.
Our 12-week TFF Bootcamp program follows a free Udacity course called How to Build a Startup by The Lean Launchpad team. Kathleen Mullaney and Steve Blank, entrepreneurial veterans and professors from Silicon Valley, lead participants through a lean methodology lecture series highlighting the business model canvas, value proposition, customer development and revenue streams. We have added our own activities to get TFF’s next generation innovators out and speaking with stakeholders within the first few weeks. And, we’re making ourselves available for team’s questions and to share ideas and feedback.
Of course, being selected as a TFF Challenge Finalist still brings special perks! These teams have preferred access to TFF’s network of expert mentors and our growing consortium of pipeline and perk partners. Finalists also participate in weekly 1-to-1 video calls with the TFF Core Team to discuss their project’s developments, and work with us to build prototypes and implement their business plans. Based on these inputs, we tailor the TFF Bootcamp activities week-by-week to meet each Finalist team’s specific requirements. They get a more customized experience.
Our Finalists also get the added bonus of attending our in-person TFF Pitch training, taking place the week leading up to the TFF Summit. Here, they work with expert coaches and designers to polish their pitch and pitch deck so they are sure to shine on-stage at the TFF Summit — and are well-prepared for any other pitch opportunities they have in the future.
The future is open
In addition to now being able to access the TFF Bootcamp resources, all teams who register for the TFF Challenge this year and every year ahead can also freely use our Design Lab, a robust online tool that coaches the teams in design thinking — a proven innovation methodology used by the world’s leading entrepreneurs.
This is next generation innovation in action — and we are thrilled to see what’s to come! Already, several of our university partners have made our TFF curriculum a requirement for courses, some corporates have used our tools in innovation training and retreats and, of course, many startups have created incredible businesses off the back of them.
Now, we’re calling on you to take what we’ve created and build on it!
Please let us know what you are creating with what we have started. We can’t wait to push the food & ag industry forward together to become the best it can be!
Stay tuned for more news about our open-source next steps. Coming soon!