OEN Sponsorship Process – Days 1-3

The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) helps entrepreneurs start up and scale up by connecting them to peers and mentors, startup funding opportunities, and hands-on training.

They are going through a big transition, as long-time Executive Director Linda Weston retired after 17 years of service to OEN and the entrepreneurial community in Oregon. New Executive Director Maggie Finnerty was looking to re-evaluate processes and responsibilities after taking over officially in January, and Lean Portland team reached out at the right time.

We had an initial meeting with OEN in early January, and setup recurring meetings with them every Monday for 2-3 hours per session.

Day 1

We met with the staff on January 23rd to map out their process to bring on corporate and event sponsors. The process was identified as a focus area, and one that needed more structure and understanding. They felt there was some opportunities to make it better, and it is an important process for the health of their nonprofit organization.

We first started with an exercise to define their purpose, to make sure everyone was on the same page. We discussed what type of clients are ideal, and if they were planning to continue with that audience, or shift in a different direction.

For training, Kjell did an excellent job of introducing the following concepts, and tying them back to the work they did:

  • Flow
  • Kaizen
  • A3
  • PDCA
  • 8 forms of waste
  • Takt time (sponsors needed per week)
  • Batching vs single piece flow (i.e. updating website)
  • 5S

We completed a current state process map, and identified some opportunities to pursue in future meetings.

For homework, we assigned 5S activity for each staff member in their office.

Day 2

Some initial 5S activity was completed, but it will take a few weeks to get through all the steps.

We broke into two groups for most of the meeting. Group 1 looked at the financial system (Quickbooks), and setup an online account to make it easier to access. Group 2 talked about the back-end website system, and how it could be used for invoicing and other functionality.

As a team, we reviewed the sponsorship process from Day 1, and discussed triggers that need to be in place when new sponsors come on board, and who would be responsible for these new steps. We also clarified some membership and sponsorship timelines and benefits.

Day 3

Discussions on invoicing options were reviewed, and further actions were identified to pursue, to see if there is a way to minimize the number of systems.

Progress was made on documenting current state photos for office organization. The team is considering blocking out a half or full day in order to make dramatic progress on their 5S efforts. This will allow them to remove unused storage space, and possibly change the layout of the office to take better advantage of the space.

Tip sheets were also drafted, in order to be used as a reference for other employees, and will continue to be updated over time with new additions and feedback. In addition, troubleshooting guides were developed for common technical problems on the website that are sent in via email or called in.

We also created a simple kanban board, to make sure everyone understood the number of projects going on, and how this could be used going forward. The team discussed how to identify each swim lane, by person or by project. We decided to use the swim lanes by project, and color code the sticky notes by person. Kanban boards will also be created for major projects. Wall space was identified to post the boards for review. There are multiple options for using electronic kanban boards (and similar systems have been used in the past), but we decided to start with a manual paper system to get used to the process.


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