The Lean Lab is an innovation laboratory for K-12 public education focused in Kansas City. Through ongoing community events, workshops and an incubator fellowship program, The Lean Lab offers training in innovation frameworks to help educators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders develop early-stage solutions for challenges in education.

Since its launch in 2014, The Lean Lab has hosted an annual four-week, immersive summer program designed to accelerate change in Kansas City public education. Fellows receive training in innovation frameworks, such as Lean Startup and Design Thinking, and work to build viable solutions—products, services, and school designs—to address key challenges in Kansas City education. The program culminates with Demo Day, where fellows pitch their solutions to the broader community.

As the 4.0 Schools’ Community Catalyst in Kansas City, the Lean Lab will lead Startup Weekend Education events, as well as facilitate 4.0 Schools’ Essentials program. Startup Weekend Education is a 54-hour “hackathon” to give educators and others a launch pad to pitch ideas then rapidly prototype a product or school design with other participants within a single weekend. Essentials an intensive, three-day workshop where aspiring entrepreneurs are taught to precisely define the problem they are trying to solve, identify the assumptions embedded in their solution, and develop the skills and a concrete plan to test these assumptions.