Headstream’s mission to create a positive and inclusive youth digital wellness ecosystem starts with access. This is why we recently launched Headstream Learning Lab (HLL) – a community-building and social-learning platform with open and unlimited access to practices, tools, and resources that support youth innovations in digital health, ed-tech, and social tech sectors. Our first two courses offered, Youth Co-Creation and Impact Measurement and Management, are tailored for any entrepreneur, innovator, or organization focused on youth digital wellness.
Previously, only entrepreneurs and teenagers participating in a Headstream program had access to our impact measurement and youth co-creation curriculum. Over the past three years, Headstream has conducted hundreds of interviews with early-stage innovators in the youth digital wellness space and observed a surge in innovations developed during the pandemic to address the urgent digital needs of young people. However, we learned that many early-stage innovators in the youth digital wellness space felt that the pandemic had forced them to work in isolation, creating additional obstacles to scaling their innovations, like finding resources and partners. Responding to the demand from the broader Headstream community, we launched HLL to break down these silos and enable entrepreneurs to learn from and collaborate with each other without the constraints of a structured program.
We took this feedback and used it to distill the unique aspects of Headstream’s curriculum and codified them into accessible, go-at-your-own-pace courses to make these resources available to the public. The goal of sharing these courses is to peel back the curtain on our curriculum with a larger audience beyond the Headstream Accelerator and Youth Programs. Through the impact of Headstream’s 2022 Accelerator Cohort, we know that these curriculum resources can make a positive difference in how these innovations grow. We learned from our last cohort that impact measurement and youth co-creation were the most relevant topics for their innovations and the hardest resources to find. Now, we want to amplify that impact with more entrepreneurs in the field and the organizations that serve them.
The Headstream Learning Lab courses can drive innovation by teaching entrepreneurs how to test new approaches and ideas and to be more responsive to the needs of their innovation. There are several business benefits for taking these courses to incorporate youth co-creation and impact measurement into your work, including:
- Accountability: These courses can help innovations be accountable to their stakeholders, including donors, funders, and most importantly, the young people they serve. By demonstrating their impact and commitment to youth co-creation, innovations can show that they are using resources effectively to make a meaningful and tangible difference in the world.
- Iteration and Improvement: These courses provide examples and evidence so that entrepreneurs can learn from best practices and use these learnings to continuously improve their youth wellness approaches and initiatives.
- Scaling: As innovations scale, building a robust impact measurement and youth co-creation structure is crucial for sustainable growth. It shows funders and potential partners that you are tracking the progress of users and beneficiaries, iterating based on their feedback, which can build more momentum for innovation with external audiences.
Headstream believes that this new digital world, though complex, has all the right ingredients to enable health and well-being. Regardless of your level of expertise, these courses are adapted to your specific needs and can give you actionable insights to apply to your work through case studies, surveys, tools, and an online community where you can ask questions. Headstream Learning Lab is valuable if you identify with any of the following:
- Entrepreneurs developing a new product who would like to incorporate youth co-creation and impact measurement in their design process.
- Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) that want to adapt or pull from this curriculum for their own incubators, accelerators, and other initiatives.
- Anyone working for a startup or organization that is focused on creating equitable digital solutions that support youth well-being.
HLL gives entrepreneurs resources and networks that they might not have otherwise – providing entrepreneurs with the access, knowledge, and skills they need to start and grow their innovations. HLL is also free. Starting and maintaining your innovation can be expensive, and paying for education and training can be costly. Free education can help to reduce the financial barriers to entry for entrepreneurs that need these resources but cannot take on the additional financial burden. HLL can also provide entrepreneurs with exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, which can inspire greater creativity – giving entrepreneurs a space and resources to build with others in their field. This can help entrepreneurs to develop new products and services, as well as find new and better ways to solve problems.
The goal of Headstream’s Learning Lab is to help to level the playing field for entrepreneurs to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to successfully scale their youth digital wellness innovations. The more collective understanding entrepreneurs, companies, and organizations have about how to positively impact digital youth wellbeing, the closer all stakeholders can get to making digital experiences healthier and empowering for young people. We welcome ESOs and changemakers in the space to explore the HLL platform and share it with your communities.