The Experimentation Process

The Challenge

Traditional funding paradigms are hindering the innovative work of some of our greatest movement-building organizations. Future Forward is an innovation challenge exploring how resources might be generated differently to enable Forward Together—and the social justice field at large—to evolve sustainably, with agency and autonomy, toward a future in which all families can thrive. We are documenting the process and our progress in a shared space so we can all learn together. While Forward Together is the focus of this innovation challenge, one of the reasons we are working transparently is that we hope the lessons learned in Future Forward can be applied through the social justice field at large.

The Process

In the May 2015 innovation challenge kickoff we generated 15 ideas we believe may help move Forward Together towards sustainability, agency, and autonomy. Now we commence the experimentation phase.

The goal of the experimentation phase is to rapidly test these and other ideas that may emerge, and to quickly build up our learning about how we may or may not generate resources in a different way. Experiments that fail are a hallmark of success assuming that we learn from these experiments, adapt, and keep testing.

By the end of this two-month experimentation phase, we don’t expect to have found the “right idea”, but instead to have built a rhythm around experimentation with a community of stakeholders interested in innovating around this challenge together, and to have sufficiently advanced our understanding of how to utilize rapid experimentation around this complex issue to understand what resources would be necessary to create breakthrough innovations. You can learn more about our theories of innovation and experimentation here.


We will be running this experiment phase throughout the summer, and want to complete three iterative experiment cycles (as outlined above) on at least one idea by the end of September. Come September, we’ll schedule a debrief to share what we’re learning about the experimentative process, what we’ve learned about potential innovations to address the resourcing challenging, and how best to continue experimenting around this complex challenge in a sustained way.

The Tools

We’ve created a series of templates to support rapid experimentation. Consider these templates your tools to run an iterative, experiment cycle on your own; the infrastructure that will support our community using experimentation methods to tackle this complex issue. These are all second iteration templates based on what we learned in the Future Forward kick-off meeting. True to our theories of innovation and experimentation, we will adapt these templates based on what we learn, so please, don’t hesitate to share feedback on your experience with anyone on the Future Forward team.


Are you interested in jumping in and joining us? Fantastic. We believe the core challenge at the heart of this work is far too complex for any one of us to understand; the more people thinking and learning with us around these challenges the better chance we have of unlocking new solutions. There are a few places to plug-in.

  • Right here on the Blog! We will be sharing regular updates on our progress. Subscribe if you’d like to stay abreast.
  • Get our blog posts delivered to your inbox.

  • If you want to keep tabs and potentially help with more of the day to day experimentation, join our Facebook Group. This is where we’ll be sharing status updates and progress reports, inspiration and ideas.
  • If you’d like to participate in an existing experiment, you can review the experiments here and get in touch with the leaders.
  • If you’d like to run an experiment, these templates are designed for any of us to take the lead. All we ask is that you keep us abreast of your progress through the Experiment Dashboard and the Facebook Group. Contact Yee Won Chong ( or Rebecca Petzel ( for help launching a rapid-fire experiment.