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

Learn about the project:Phase 1: DiscoveryPhase 2: Prototyping• Phase 3: Micro-pilot 2017-Present Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration for Transition-Aged Youth In partnership with: Fresh Lifelines for Youth
Learn about the project: Phase 1: Discovery Phase 2: Concept Generation Phase 3: PrototypingFinal Presentation and Appendix 2017-2018 Child Care Solutions for Parents Working Non-Traditional Hours In partnership with: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Learn about the project:• Case Study 2014-2017 Community-Based Innovation to Affordable Child Care In partnership with: Gma Village
Learn about the project:• Case Study 2015-2016 Closing the Opportunity Divide for Young Adults In partnership with: Year Up

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.

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.