Category Archives: News

New Dates for Last Changemaker Bootcamp of 2013

Thank you all for the tremendous interest and support regarding Changemaker Bootcamp these last few weeks! I’ve learned a lot through the process of officially launching this project, and as always, I plan on sharing those lessons here.

The first lesson: Don’t schedule a bootcamp right before Labor Day! Several people expressed interest in participating but could not make the dates. As a result, I am rescheduling the dates of the next Bootcamp to Tuesdays, 3-5pm, from September 17 through October 22, 2013 (pending confirmation on the location).

The shift also means that this will be the last bootcamp of 2013, and so if you’d like to participate this year, this is the one to enroll in. Application deadline is Tuesday, September 10, 2013, so don’t wait to apply!

Finally, as I posted previously, I’m also starting to explore a pilot bootcamp for organizations or networks. If you’re interested in exploring this for your organization, please email me at or call 415-513-5385.

Bootcamp as an Alternative to Organizational Consulting

If you read Changemaker Bootcamp’s “Big Picture,” you may have noticed that I contrast the bootcamp model to hiring a consultant. As someone who worked as a consultant for over a decade, I am well-aware of the benefits and limitations of consulting. A good consultant can have a transformative effect on the right organization at the right time. In my experience, most organizations that look to hire consultants are not at this stage. In many ways, I designed Changemaker Bootcamp to offer a better model.

I wrote about this in more detail on my personal blog, where I used strategic planning as an example. Most organizations — especially nonprofits — view strategic planning as a process to develop a plan, and they often look to consultants to guide them through the process. The reality is that developing a strategy is the process of asking and exploring the right questions. All of us are capable of doing it, it’s just that some of us have more practice at it than others. But practice is something that everyone can and should do.

Developing this particular capacity through practice rather than hiring a consultant to lead you through a process has a number of benefits. First, most consultants don’t have a lot of practice at developing effective strategies themselves. There’s no accountability or feedback mechanisms, and so consultants can get away with being bad at their craft, and organizations can get away with continuing to spend money on consultants regardless of results.

Second, the real point of strategic planning isn’t to develop a strategy. The point is to act strategically. A good consultant can help you do that, but what they are essentially doing in those situations is hand-holding you through the process. They are essentially acting as very expensive personal trainers, who are also doing a lot of other extraneous things, because that is what people expect consultants to do. A personal trainer can be a great way to get fit, but there are a whole lot of cheaper alternatives.

In most situations, a bootcamp would have a far greater bang-for-the-buck than hiring a consultant. It applies to helping groups act more strategically, work more collaboratively, be more adaptive, and learn collectively and continuously.

Want to Try This?

At least that’s what I believe. And so now I want to start testing this. I’d like to do a “group bootcamp” with a cohort from the same organization or network. I hope to do a 12-week pilot. The exact timing and pricing would depend on the size of the group. These experiments would run in parallel to the current Changemaker Bootcamp.

It also does not need to be a place-based group. I have told many people that this model can be done over the Internet. Instead of just talking about it, I’d be happy to demonstrate it.

If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities, email me at

Apply to Participate in Changemaker Bootcamp!

I’m starting another round of Changemaker Bootcamp in a few weeks, and I’m looking for participants! It will be once a week (Wednesdays from 10am-12pm) for six weeks (June 12-July 17, 2013) in San Francisco. I’m accepting applications now, and I’ll be limiting participation to eight people.

Why apply? Changemaker Bootcamp is an opportunity to practice the skills you need to transform groups, be it your organization, your community, or the world at large, regardless of your position in that group.

Changemaker Bootcamp is learning by doing, not through teaching. You will be spending two hours a week (plus homework) actually practicing a set of critical skills with other great changemakers and getting real-time feedback.

Changemaker Bootcamp is also a place to think strategically about the work that you’re already doing. You come to Bootcamp with a real project in mind, and you’ll be given the opportunity to think more strategically about your project and to apply the skills you practice immediately toward your project.

Read the About page for more about this process and about me.

Who should apply? Eventually, I plan on opening this up to changemakers of all types, but for now, I’m looking for people who are:

  • Working in an organization (large or small)
  • Not part of the top-level leadership team (e.g. no C-level leaders or executive directors).

How much does it cost? You decide! Seriously!

This is still an experiment for me, and I don’t want to commit to a pricing model yet. However, it’s also clear that this is providing a lot of value to participants, even in its rough form, and I think it’s important for participants to put skin in the game. (You can see what my previous participants, Anna and Marie, had to say about their experiences.)

So here’s how this will work. If you apply and are accepted, I will ask you to tell me how much you’ll be paying. It needs to be at least a dollar, and you will need to pay it up-front. I will agree to whatever price you name without judgment, whether it’s $1 or $1,000.

I’m looking for great participants who are passionate about the world and who will work hard and enthusiastically over the course of six weeks. Whatever you decide to pay will be the right amount.

How do I apply? Fill out this form. You can also click on the Apply! link at the top of this page.

I will review applications as they come in and cut off the process when I get eight enrollees or by Friday, June 7, 2013, whichever comes first.

Thank you, and as always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments below!