The Patterns of Fragmentation and Integration

Think of a student whose parents are incarcerated and who has bounced around multiple group and foster homes. He gets placed with a family member for awhile who makes sure he has a positive education experience and good physical & mental care. That caregiver falls ill and he has to move back to his hometown. His records— academic and health— do not follow him and he is put in classes that he had already passed and quickly gets disengaged and drops out. He gets into trouble and is sentenced to 18 months in juvie. 

Think of a teacher who is dedicated to creating new experiences for her students. She wants to prioritize outdoor learning but is based in New York City where there are only a few comfortable months to explore outside. Her plans are stifled by constraints and leaders and she doesn’t see a path forward. There is a culture of perfection that doesn’t support an adaptive mindset. However, she persists and shifts her lens from outside learning to outside of the box learning. She took her students to Mars by putting all clocks on Mars time, having projects for students to explore different aspects of the planet, and inviting experts to guide their space adventure.

These stories are the imperative for the Integration Design Consortium(IDC). In the first, the fragmentation of the services led to a young person to fall through the cracks. The second highlights an educator providing great educational experiences despite her environment both weather and school. In both cases, more integrated systems could combat isolation and distrust.

How might we move up the intervention points for young people struggling with their education? How might we create an ecosystem that is resilient, supportive, and brings together the many services that touch young people’s lives?


For the past year, BIF has been leading the Learning Agenda for the Integration Design Consortium—  a new approach to integrating our education system that brings together five design team to create new, innovative approaches within education. The teams— 2Revolutions, Bellwether, Education First, FSG, and The Teachers Guild— are working from the classroom to the statehouse to create a more integrated, equitable education system.

The IDC exists to (1) build greater understanding of the approaches and conditions that enable integration in the education sector (2) codify stories, tools, and resources to amplify the impact of the participating design teams and the education field as a whole, and (3) catalyze interest in the issue of fragmentation more broadly. Ultimately, we seek to create compelling models that employ an integrated approach — as opposed to fragmented point-solutions. Greater integration is needed if we are to create transformational, equitable change in the field of education.

But what does fragmentation actually look like? What does integration feel like? And how might we better understand the conditions that must be put in place for us to move towards further integration?

At the second convening of the IDC, we set out to identify the key levers to integration based on the teams’ project experiences. These real-world examples provided a break down of the aspects that are most vital to creating a poor or an excellent state of integration. These dimensions became a foundation for our conversations and a way to observe how systems that project teams are working on are changing over time, ideally towards further integration.

Check out this video representation of our learnings and connect with us on Twitter @TheBIF to let us know what fragmentation looks like in your context. For more on the IDC, visit our site at

The first iteration of these findings can be found in this document: Patterns Of Fragmentation And Integration. 

What’s Business Models Got to Do With It?

At most education events, other attendees will see our nametags and say ‘Business Innovation Factory? What’s up with that?!’ There are examples of new and exciting business models all around us that are bringing us enhanced experiences and increased value—from TV streaming to writing to senators from your phone. However, our education field has not seen as many transformational models or practices at the scale and impact that students desperately need.

There are major issues facing our K-12 education landscape— lack of student engagement, a teaching force that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the students, and fragmented policies and practices that make meaningful change difficult to achieve. On a systemic level, we have a lot of work to do to create the multitude of new approaches needed for a robust 21st-century education ecosystem. We need a new way of addressing education in the US — from cradle to lifelong learning. 

At the Business Innovation Factory, we answer that call to action by creating the conditions for the research and design of next practices and new business models. In education, we help leaders create new business models that tackle complex, systemic issues through human-centered design and rapid prototyping. BIF’s Student Experience Lab starts from the perspective of teachers and students and uses those insights and partnerships to create conceptual designs and prototypes that we can test in the real world.

Last month BIF’s Cheif Market Maker Eli MacLaren and Student Experience Lab Manager Jessica Brown sat down with the team at New Profit’s Reimagine Learning team for their monthly ‘Voices from the Field’ webinar series.

In this webinar we:

  1. Unpacked and explored the imperative for business model innovation
  2. Shared a proven design methodology to create business models capable of scale
  3. Took a deep dive into a case study that shows our methodology in action
  4. Shared the conditions leaders have created to amplify their innovation agendas

Check it out below!


Join us in transforming education.

Integration Nation: Insights from the IDC

“We are in a time of great innovation.. and a time of great divides.” It sounds like the beginning of a great hero’s story, and in a way it is.

Our education landscape is at a crossroads. Too many students— often those who are marginalized based on race, ability, class etc.— are being left out or pushed out of the classroom. In response, we have created ambitious goals that seek to redesign our system— but often we aren’t fundamentally changing how we work or collaborate in order to reach these goals. As Eli MacLaren, BIF’s Chief Market Maker, mentioned in her recent blog post, the education system is fragmented by design and if we aren’t intentional it will stay that way.

One cohort working to change that is the Integration Design Consortium (IDC), a group brought together by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and facilitated by the Business Innovation Factory. The IDC exists to enable greater integration within education in order to increase equitable outcomes for students.

(Full panel discussion with the IDC)

This podcast is moderated by Eli and features: Molly McMahon from the Teachers Guild, Hailly Korman from Bellwether Education Partners, Alissa Peltzmann from Education First, Todd Kern from 2Revolutions, and David Garfunkel from FSG. Throughout the discussion, folks hit on important challenges, curiosities, and considerations for the education field. Our calls to action are clear:

  • Innovate and integrate in service of a more equitable education system — [and know that innovation is only valuable as it affects things that matter in the lives of kids]
  • Solve the toughest problems and hold ourselves accountable to results
  • Iterate quickly and intentionally
  • Embody a human-centered approach to problem-solving that prep our students to solve the complex problems of tomorrow

(Insights from Molly McMahon with the Teachers Guild)

(Insights from Todd Kern from 2Revolutions)

This story is full of complex challenges, a willingness to do things differently, and shared responsibility and urgency. We look forward to sharing the progress and ongoing learnings from this work. Let us know what resonates with your work!

Join Us in Transforming Education Together

BIF Welcomes Global Legal Services Provider Epiq as New Member

PROVIDENCE – April 24, 2018 –  The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) is pleased to announce its newest member Epiq, a global leader in the legal services, to enable transformational next practices and new business models to reimagine the customer experience.

As members, Epiq will have access to the BIF network of institutional business model innovators and unique approach to developing next practices and new business models, utilizing BIF’s Design Methodology and over 14 years of experience in the innovation space.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Epiq as a Corporate Member in BIF’s innovation community and to begin working together to integrate customer-centered business model innovation into Epiq’s product innovation roadmap. Epiq shares BIF’s passion for transforming customer experience by continually exploring new ways to create, deliver, and capture value. Epiq’s commitment to innovation will enable it to strengthen its market leadership position in providing differentiated technology and data-enabled legal services” said BIF Founder and Chief Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

“Our approach to innovation includes product innovation, process innovation, and business model innovation,” said Cliff Dutton, chief innovation officer. “We are working with BIF to bring best and next practices in client-centric business model innovation to our product innovation roadmap.”

Utilizing BIF’s innovation expertise, Epiq will be focused on building a client-centric business model innovation into their product innovation roadmap, connecting leaders with a proven methodological approach to becoming market makers, unleashing new customer and commercial value by imagining, designing, prototyping, and commercializing transformational data products, services, and new business models.


About Epiq

Epiq, a global leader in the legal services industry, takes on large-scale, increasingly complex tasks for corporate counsel, law firms, and business professionals with efficiency, clarity, and confidence. Clients rely on Epiq to streamline the administration of business operations, class action and mass tort, court reporting, eDiscovery, regulatory, compliance, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. Epiq subject-matter experts and technologies create efficiency through expertise and deliver confidence to high-performing clients around the world. Learn more at


Start Your BIF Membership Today

BIF Welcomes the Alliance for Innovation & Transformation as its Newest Member

Providence, RI (April 23, 2018) —  The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) is pleased to welcome our newest Member, the Alliance for Innovation & Transformation (AFIT), a learning network of 50 community colleges and higher ed organizations committed to transforming student experience and outcomes.

AFIT’s mission is to lead systemic change in higher education by providing learning, development, and networking opportunities focused on customer-driven value. AFIT and its members recognize the imperative to not just improve incrementally but to transform the higher education experience.  

“AFIT is a great addition to our innovation community,” said BIF Founder and Chief Catalyst, Saul Kaplan. “Community college is a lynchpin for needed transformational change in our national higher education system. It is the perfect bridge for so many between K-12, higher ed, and the workplace. We’re excited for this opportunity to engage AFIT members to help make transforming higher ed safer and easier to manage.”  

This year’s AFIT strategic theme is business model innovation and BIF has been selected as the Lead Learning Partner for the Annual AFIT Summer Institute planned for this August in Kansas City. AFIT members attending the Summer Institute will embark on an innovation journey to imagine, design, prototype and test entirely new business models and next practices to transform student experience and outcomes and to create sustainable futures for their higher ed institutions.

At the AFIT Summer Institute, BIF will guide over 250 participants through our Business Model Design Process giving them tangible tools and skills to take back home on their campuses to explore and test next practices and transformational new business models. The teams will also explore the conditions necessary for their innovation strategies to be successful at scale. In AFIT’s own words, no longer will “‘take no action’ or ‘move forward with incremental change’ mindsets sustain operations; innovation and organizational transformation must become a priority.”

We have already started working on a project with six AFIT community colleges that signed up and dedicated the time and expertise of their presidents and leadership teams to become “early adopters” of BIF’s Business Model Design Process. These community colleges are being guided by BIF’s Methodology to prototype and test next practices and new business models relevant to their own context. Each team is adopting a student experience lens as a foundation for design to help them reimagine how their community college might transform how they create, deliver, and capture value.

Here at BIF, our Student Experience Lab (SXL), is focused on the imperative for business model innovation in education, from pre-K to higher ed to workforce development. Our national higher ed system was designed for a different era and hasn’t innovated its business model fast enough, leaving a growing number of students behind.

As BIF Members, AFIT will access our network of institutional business model innovators in education, health care, and public services to take advantage of opportunities to connect to a steady flow of business model design ideas, practices, and tools.

We’re honored to welcome AFIT as a BIF Member and to catalyze transformational change for higher ed institutions in its learning network. We look forward to sharing what we learn with the broader BIF community.  

Make sure to follow along on Twitter (@BIFsxl) for updates on our collaboration! And if becoming a BIF Member sounds intriguing, find more information here. We’d love to talk.

Start Your BIF Membership Today

We’re Hiring: Experience Designer

BIF makes business model transformation safer and easier to manage for institutional leaders. We do this for businesses and in complex social systems in healthcare, education, and public sectors.

As an Experience Designer at BIF, you will work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that focuses on understanding real user problems & business opportunities, designing, building, prototyping, testing, and iterating to create scalable solutions that address our clients’ most pressing problems. Members of the BIF Experience Design team will be focused on driving impact and creating genuine value for clients and internal users.

As an Experience Designer you will:

  • Work in multi-disciplinary teams to create user-centered experiences and solutions, while balancing business goals and technical implications
  • Use design-led thinking to communicate how a solution can satisfy user needs, business goals, technical constraints, and other project requirements
  • Lead secondary research efforts to build foundational knowledge in lab domain areas
  • Contribute to and/or lead ethnographic fieldwork efforts (start to finish) which generate powerful observations and insights
  • Help synthesize data and translate observations and insights into transformational ideas for new solutions and approaches
  • Create interactive prototypes at various levels of fidelity to showcase user experience and solutions
  • Craft and articulate a compelling story that helps people connect with the work
  • Have exposure to a broad array of client needs and industries

As an Experience Designer you will be expected to:

  • Activate user insights and opportunities through a lens of business strategy
  • Combine fluency in qualitative research methods and data analysis with an ability to move beyond research as outcome, to research as input to real-world solutions
  • Explore new and novel approaches to research and its application in BIF’s lab work
  • Have experience with or be open to working within the human-centered design process
  • Be prepared to lead conversations having to do with “what to do and why” as well as the “how” of implementation
  • Possess an entrepreneurial mindset and work comfortably with ambiguous problems in a dynamic environment
  • Work collaboratively or independently as needed
  • Have excellent writing and communication skills
  • Be willing to travel

This is a full-time position in Providence, R.I., salary range starts at $40,000 for Experience Designer, $55,000 for Senior Experience Designer, based on your skill and experience. If this sounds like you, please send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample. All materials should be sent to

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

We are a lean team, which will provide you opportunities to present directly to our senior leaders. Your impact will be felt immediately!



BIF Welcomes the Joe Andruzzi Foundation

We’re pleased to announce our newest BIF Member, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. JAF inspires us all by helping to alleviate the financial burden for cancer patients and their families throughout New England.


“As the Joe Andruzzi Foundation enters its tenth year, we are thrilled to become members of the extended BIF community,” said Joe Andruzzi, President and Co-Founder of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. “Our entire organization is looking forward to tapping into the extensive resources offered within a BIF membership as we strengthen a strategy and business model that will help carry the Foundation’s mission into its next decade of operation.”

As a Member, JAF will gain access to BIF’s innovation experience, community, and unique approach to developing next practices and new business models through BIF’s Design Methodology. With a growing financial burden placed upon patients, JAF and BIF will work together to explore and test new ways of addressing rising and oftentimes unexpected medical costs to alleviate the burden facing patients and their families, building on the organizations 10 years of experience.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. JAF shares BIF’s core human-centered values and strategic focus on transforming healthcare” said BIF Founder and Chief Catalyst Saul Kaplan. “The financial toxicity of cancer is increasing and is as important to manage as the toxicity of cancer treatments. BIF is excited to help JAF explore new transformational models that rise to the level of the financial problem that families impacted by cancer face.”

Founded by former New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen in 2008, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation grew from Joe’s own successful battle with cancer and serves as a means to provide financial assistance to cancer patients and their families so they can focus on recovery – not bills. It also funds research at Boston Children’s Hospital, building on the Andruzzis’ longstanding commitment to cutting-edge pediatric brain cancer research.

If you’d like to get involved or lend your support to the organization, please visit:

You can hear more on Joe’s story from the #BIF2017 Summit below:


When Transformation Feels Intimidating, Membership Can Help

Membership is the first step in shifting the conversation towards what is safe, practical, and possible. It’s a low-threshold way to catalyze your innovation agenda and an easy initial engagement with BIF.

Start Your BIF Membership Today

Congrats to #BIF2017 Storyteller Alan Webber!

BIF is overjoyed to share in the news of longtime supporter and BIF storyteller Alan Webber’s election as Mayor of Santa Fe!

Since the start of the BIF summit, we’ve heard from over 500 innovators across every sector and discipline who have inspired both audience and fellow storytellers alike to shift their lens, to think differently, and to take action in order to transform the world. Alan Webber’s story is no exception.

Taking to the #BIF2017 stage, Webber shared his journey from the co-founder of Fast Company magazine, to the rise of entrepreneurship, to where we are now in a  politically driven climate – and a hint of where he might be heading.

Encouraging the audience to create meaningful change through civic engagement, his ask of the audience? To run for office. To step up and make a show of support and show of voice to make a difference. The answer-back? “Run Alan, Run!”

At BIF, we believe in the power of storytelling. The power to create change. To connect, inspire, and transform. We’re thrilled to share a part in Alan’s story and be witnessing the next chapter in his, truly exemplifying what it means to inspire us all and be a changemaker.

“Once in awhile you encounter a gathering that says it’s about ideas, and, well, it’s about ideas and more. It’s about a way of sharing ideas that is friendly. Honest. Comfortable. Unassuming. It’s about a way of bringing people together so they actually get to engage with each other. It’s about a mindset that is genuine. Which only happens because the people who stand behind the conference are genuine. And honestly interested in the right stuff, the real stuff, the stuff that matters. And that’s what makes BIF matter for me.”

Alan Webber, Founding Editor at Fast Company and Mayor-Elect of Santa Fe

Start Your Summit Journey. Register Today.

Teachers 4 Equity

The Student Experience Lab partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage teachers in creating and leading local communities of practice focused on issues of equity and closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

Discourse on race and student success has largely revolved around measures of academic performance; however, the achievement gaps noted across racial and cultural lines are indicators of deeper problems: a lack of racial consciousness and the presence of systemic racism.

The current U.S. public school system is built on the beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes valued by white culture. With schools becoming increasingly racially diverse, it is imperative to eliminate the practices and cultural messages that are detrimental to the well-being of students of color and their ability to thrive academically.

Problems stemming from systemic racism often manifest on the classroom level. Racial and cultural disconnects between teachers and administrators and students often lead to miscommunication, disengagement, and disproportionate penalization.

This led us to ask:

How might we transform the values, norms, and practice of the classroom?

How might we activate teachers to change not only what is taught, but how it is taught, how teachers and students engage, and how school communities learn and grow together?


BIF is proud to present the work of this year-long endeavor to help education leaders explore, test, and scale next practices and new models, tackling complex, systemic issues through human-centered design and rapid prototyping.

Read More


Is Your CEO Serious About Innovation?

I used to think that if I just yakked long and loud enough, I could convince CEOs to embrace transformational innovation.

It took me 25 years as a road warrior consultant, author, and accidental government bureaucrat to realize that proselytizing doesn’t work. If leaders don’t want to change, all the consulting jargon and fancy PowerPoints in the world won’t convince them to.

In those situations, no matter what lofty rhetoric the CEO uses in public or at company retreats about “creating an innovation culture” and encouraging everyone to think outside of the box, the best result you can hope for are incremental innovations to improve the performance of today’s business model. You never get transformational new business models — and you always get frustrated if you were hoping for bolder change. If you want transformational innovation, you have to find leaders who want transformational change and are receptive to organizing differently for tweaks than for transformation. After learning this lesson the hard way over many years, I no longer try to convince CEOs who don’t want to change and instead try to find those CEO’s who do.

Here’s my list of 10 questions you can ask a CEO to tell if they are really serious about transformational innovation:

  1. Do you agree transformational innovation goes beyond breakthrough products to include business model innovation — entirely new ways to create, deliver and capture value?
  2. Will your employees tell me that failure is a career-limiting move, or that the company celebrates experimentation?
  3. How much time do you spend strengthening and protecting the current business model, versus designing the next one?
  4. Do you have clear and discrete objectives for both incremental and transformational innovation? Do you organize differently for each?
  5. Does your organization invest in R&D for new business models as it does for new products, services, and technologies?
  6. Are you prepared to have your organization disrupt itself? How do you see that playing out?
  7. Do internal ideas and projects that threaten to cannibalize the current business model get squashed — or nurtured?
  8. Do you have a process for allocating resources for transformational innovation projects that lie outside of the control of business units?
  9. Do executives with responsibility for exploring transformational business models report to you, or to another line executive responsible for today’s business?
  10. Are you willing to create a sandbox to explore transformational business models? Would you carve out a part of your current business/market to serve as an ongoing real-world innovation lab?

A few words of advice about using these questions in the real world: tread lightly, since no CEO likes to be put on the spot and drilled with a laundry list of questions. Pick a few of the ten to put into your own words to help you discern whether the company you work for or are thinking about working for (or with), has a leader who shares your appetite for transformational innovation. Better to know what kind of environment you’re going into in advance than to learn painful lessons later.



My friend and Boston Globe innovation columnist, Scott Kirsner, has an interesting online platform for corporate innovation executives. You will want to check out and subscribe to Innovation Leader where you will find lots of food for innovation thought and where this post originally appeared.