The most important part of creating a new organization is establishing its culture. This is especially true for a school that’s trying not feel like ‘school.’ School comes loaded with so much baggage, especially for the secondary years — and creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and irreverence for established ways of doing things are not known to leap out of that baggage. School create rules; entrepreneurs are rule-breakers

Startups have their own flavors of culture that nothing in education schools or degree programs prepares you for. We can share our advice and toolkit but the most important thing you can do if you’re launching an entrepreneurship program at your school is:


As many as you can. As often as you can.

Set up Google Hangouts or Skype calls so your students can talk to members of startup teams. Create opportunities for your students to beta test or review their products. Invite them into your school.

Start with the products your students use, especially educational technology products that haven’t scaled up yet. They love to hear from their users.  They want relationships with teachers and students. If you’re innovative in your use, they may create use studies about you. They may even create videos about you.


Students need to learn to feel comfortable thinking of themselves as founders — as launchers of teams who take on real world problems — and they can only do that if they have multiple touches with the freedom (and privilege) of that mindset. Once or twice or three times is not enough: they need that contact to be as constant as you can enable it because many students will take some time to get over the ‘who, me? I can’t do that’ syndrome. 

The school’s job is to help them overcome that hurdle: to help them imagine that yes, they can do that. They can be that. They can impact the world. 

Build this mindset in staff, students, and families. 

And don’t forget the dash of irreverence.


At IncSchool we have design values, core values, and community expectations, all of which are a fundamental part of our culture. You can find them in our Culture Toolkit.

But if we had to choose one word that propels us, it would be ‘iterate!’ Iterate comes from the Latin ‘itero’ meaning to do again. If it’s working, do it again. If it’s not working, do it again -- meaning, redesign it. All problems are design challenges that call for iteration. If they’re radical design challenges, they may call for a pivot.

It’s worth it to read Startup Lingo Dictionaries. This one is actually fun.

You can find the details of how we build and grow Culture under Toolkits.

My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. 

- Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple