Overview      Essentials      Launch


Essentials is a multi-day experience designed to help support 4.0 community members to move their ideas forward. Participants will practice the skills of empathy, unbundling and prototyping as they work to concisely define their customer or user, problem they’re working to solve and the solution they’re testing.

Each day will involve coaching opportunities, battle testing your idea, and continually iterating your idea based on feedback. Community members who are actively working on an idea for a product, company, school model, or service and are looking to prototype and refine their idea, are invited to apply.

Apply for an Upcoming Workshop


Our Approach

Essentials focuses on the following areas within our approach:


hunches about the future
of education


acute problems
in schools


solutions quickly
and cheaply


new schools and
education ventures

Upcoming Workshops

Each workshop includes a packed agenda: 1:1 coaching from 4.0 staff, sessions designed to identify assumptions and design experiments to test them, prototyping, along with constant feedback from peers and 4.0 entrepreneurs.

October 23-25


Location: New York City

Cost: $300

Early Bird: $200 (apply by Sept. 30)

Apply by: 10/10

November 6-8


Location: New Orleans

Cost: $300

Early Bird: $200 (apply by Sept. 30)

Apply by: 10/22

Apply for an Upcoming Workshop

After This Experience

After testing and iterating at Essentials, you could:

  • Pilot your idea
  • Co-work out of the 4.0 Lab
  • Mash up your idea with another Essentials participant
  • Apply (or re-apply) to Launch

Jim Kline, an Essentials alum, went back to his classroom and ran a pilot. Check it out below!

I felt like I learned things that I will practice for the rest of my life.

Summer 2013 Workshop, NYC

I find myself wanting to tell everyone about this exciting, tangible, very fun program I did.

Winter 2011 Workshop, NOLA

The essentials workshop, reading, and people all blew my mind. I feel like a better educated, more interesting, and more innovative person as a result. I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon 4.0 and to have participated.

Winter 2011 Workshop, NOLA

The exercises were particularly enlightening in that they helped me take a different perspective on K-12 innovation and leadership. Through Essentials I learned the true value of slowing down a bit as a way of gaining a fresh perspective on the creative process.

Summer 2013 Workshop, NYC


I’ve come to an Essentials session before, should I come again?

This summer’s Essentials sessions are focused on helping people make progress on specific problems they want to tackle or ideas they have in development. If you’re ready to hit ground running on a specific idea, this will be helpful to you even if you’ve attended a previous Essentials workshop. If this doesn’t describe you, find the perfect 4.0 experience to join this summer.

I applied to Future of School Challenge and have a school model idea, does Essentials apply to me?

Yes! We firmly believe that the early process of testing and iterating on a business idea also applies to how we test and iterate on our school model concepts.

Does it cost money?

Yes. Each experience is of varying length and cost. We do have student rates if you are currently in school as well as limited travel stipends if you are traveling to NYC or NOLA and would like to apply for some travel assistance.

If I don't live in NYC or NOLA, can I still apply?

Yes! Though we have active HQs in those two cities, we have a broad national community as well and we would love to have you join us from out of town!

I’ve already submitted a Launch or Essentials app, do I need to submit a new one?

Nope. We’ve adjusted the Essentials app for new applicants, but we’ll use your previous application for this round. If there is an opportunity you would like to join us for, and you haven’t received an invitation to register, email cambria [at] 4pt0 [dot] org for more info.

By the Numbers

  • 300 participants
  • 45 cities
  • 72 projects

Connect with Us

If you have any questions, contact Cambria Martinelli Skvarka using the form below.

Fill out my online form.