I’ve given The Learning Locker a lot of time and thought this weekend. What is the goal of this venture? To serve teachers, and minimize what they spend out of pocket.
It’s that simple. And it IS simple to kick this off on a one-off basis. I already have the support I need to open a location here in San Antonio, and probably keep it afloat. And that might be enough – although I don’t think it is.
What intrigues me about this idea is the franchising aspect – building a non-profit from nothing into an entity that is easily (and cheaply) replicated — not just in the US, but globally. Ambitious? Sure. Crazy? Maybe. But I can’t help feeling that the only true measure of success for this venture is to make it viral – to make it an “easy disease for people to catch”. To make opening a Learning Locker location damn near as easy as opening an account at the library.
So what is important to focus on to achieve this? The legalities (not easy when you are talking multiple states and or countries). The legal foundation for the franchise needs to be solid, yet adaptable. It needs to be fairly cookie cutter, but also adaptable to local needs.
It needs to be decentralized, with a lot of local power, but focused with the benefit of a national driving organization.
It needs more local sponsorship than national, I think. Local sponsorship makes everything more personal, more meaningful, and therefore, I think, more sustainable. I’ve looked into getting national sponsorship and “dishing out” funding to local organizations, but I think this is the wrong tactic. I think a much better plan is to build a national foundation that supports a local organization – allowing them to raise funds, obtain sponsors, etc – with as little direct influence from the “National Branch” as possible.
Anyway, just sharing my current thoughts on this project as it continues to evolve. I did receive some responses from the companies I emailed at the end of last week – I’ll share some of their opinions on TUE or WED, after I get time to get clarifying questions answered.