T Lab, Tipping Point’s R+D team, tests new pathways out of poverty by prototyping ideas in partnership with non-profit organizations and the Bay Area communities they serve.

T Lab, Tipping Point’s R+D team, tests new pathways out of poverty by prototyping ideas in partnership with non-profit organizations and the Bay Area communities they serve.

Research and Development Projects

2017-Present
Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration for Transition-Aged Youth
In partnership with: Fresh Lifelines for Youth

2017-Present
Child Care Solutions for Parents Working Non-Traditional Hours
In partnership with: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

2014-2017
Community-Based Innovation to Affordable Child Care
In partnership with: Gma Village

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2015-2016
Closing the Opportunity Divide for Young Adults
In partnership with: Year Up

Learn about the project:

The Current State of R+D

The Current State of R+D

In 2016, a thousand of the world’s largest companies spent a combined $680 billion on the research and development of new technology, products and services. In the non-profit sector, we spent virtually nothing.

Even the language we use to describe our operating models in the private and non-profit sectors displays our different perspectives. In the private sector, the term infrastructure is used to describe essential business costs. But in the nonprofit sector, we use the terms overhead or administrative expenses—categories that are highly scrutinized.

Although we expect non-profits to tackle and solve massive social problems, rarely do we offer them the resources or autonomy to do so. At Tipping Point, we aspire to change this narrative and help re-write the rules.

How We Operate

T Lab’s iterative process tests hypotheses through structured experiments using human-centered design and behavioral science methodologies.

1 Define the Challenge

Conduct secondary research and scope a plan

2 Frame the Opportunity

Perform qualitative research with the community.

3 Test Ideas

Design and build prototypes for the community to use.

4 Integrate Insights

Validate or refute hypothesis and share new knowledge with the field

The Pilot: How We Got Here

The Pilot: How We Got Here

In 2013, we built out an R+D space in our office and identified three gaps in the Tipping Point portfolio – childcare, early childhood education and prisoner reentry. We recruited professionals with backgrounds in a range of fields like engineering, policy, social work, architecture, and the arts. They were divided into teams and given six months to tackle our key challenges.

  • Year 1 led to Little Scholars, a preschool on a bus concept that resulted in Aspire Public Schools developing a quality preschool option for families in the Bay Area.
  • Year 2 launched to Gma Village, a web-based application that connects parents to caregivers in West Oakland.
  • Year 3 piloted the idea of holding probation meetings with youth in neutral, inspiring public places such as the Exploratorium or the Bay ferry, as opposed to the sterile and often institutionalized settings of most county offices.