State Policy Network

LaunchPad: Solutions Accelerated

September 23-24, 2020

What is LaunchPad?

About LaunchPad

LaunchPad is an ecosystem where transformative thinkers, like-minded innovators, and successful entrepreneurs incubate policy solutions that improve people’s lives. For state-based, free-market think tanks, SPN’s LaunchPad provides a platform to hone and accelerate their entrepreneurial and innovative ideas for solving seemingly intractable policy challenges. By connecting think tanks with other experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, and transformative thinkers, this high-level work session aims to secure essential public policy solutions that would otherwise be unlikely.

Up to ten idea entrepreneurs from our Network will advance their potentially game-changing projects. The projects will be chosen for their promise to tangibly increase the scope of individual choice and reduce government coercion, and for the likelihood that they can produce concrete advances (hit benchmarks) within two years.

LaunchPad uses a co-creation and problem-solving format developed by the Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Its guidelines are based on the principles of self-organization, and the work session is designed to unleash the vast knowledge, experience, commitment and involvement that each participant brings to the table.

This format favors lively small discussions, resourcefulness, and hard work over long presentations. Facilitators assist the idea entrepreneurs in making the most of Brain Trust expertise. This process unfolds over a couple of days, culminating in testable, concrete action plans.

Up to 50 Brain Trust members will be at the work session. These individuals are experts in certain fields, successful entrepreneurs, and transformative thinkers. A handful will be grant-makers and investors. Brain Trust members are self-organizing and are free to choose where they lend their expertise. Some will provide ongoing consultation help.

After the LaunchPad event, State Policy Network will continue to support and evaluate these projects as they experiment, refine, and accelerate.



SPN’s LaunchPad was a 2019 finalist and a 2020 nominee for the Gregor G. Peterson Prize in Venture Philanthropy.

Stories & Testimonials

Empire Center for Public Policy

Empowering Empire Center to turn a big idea into an actionable business plan

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Accelerating OCPA's solution through expert feedback and an action plan

Libertas Institute

The pivot that made all the difference for Libertas Institute

Role Descriptions

Project Owners: A project owner is intellectually humble, genuinely curious, a good listener, receptive, and willing to be challenged. The owner will co-design and co-facilitate at their respective work stations on-site.  

Brain Trust Members: These participants are successful entrepreneurs who are experts in particular fields; specialists in a policy issue, craft, or technical area; or transformative thinkers. A handful are grant-makers and investors.  

Facilitators: Each project has a facilitator. Facilitators are good observers, and they are perceptive, empathic, able to prioritize, and capable of quick analysis and synthesis. They must be good questioners and good listeners.


SPN LaunchPad 2020

September 23-24, 2020


The virtual event will be hosted from 12:30 p.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET on September 23, 2020, and from 1:00 p.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET on September 24, 2020.

LaunchPad Selection Criteria

For SPN’s next LaunchPad event, up to 10 projects will be selected for the highest likelihood of getting a good return on the time invested.

We are looking for leverage: perhaps a new business model, reduction of institutional barriers in a particular arena, serving a currently underserved or ill-served market, using technology to advance key reforms, moving reform research into a private-sector industry, etc.

Fifty “Brain Trust” members will be at the virtual LaunchPad event on September 23-24, 2020. Each will bring exceptional value: real-world experience, first-class strategic counsel, and project financing knowledge. Each project will also have a highly trained facilitator with subject-matter expertise.

Project Criteria

Each project submitted should meet these conditions:

  • Expands individual liberty and human well-being.
  • Reduces the size and scope of government.
  • Has potential to make a significant, measurable, and tangible difference.
  • Can have initial success inside a reasonable time frame: 1-3 years.
  • More points can be earned if it is also replicable and scalable in another context w/o significant design changes.

The organization’s project decision maker and executor must attend all of the virtual LaunchPad event.

Project Selection Timeline

October 30, 2019, to February 4, 2020: Short-form initial applications will be accepted during this time period. 

Early February: Acceptance notifications will be sent to the top 20 project applicants. These applicants will then be invited to complete a long-form project description. 

March 4, 2020: Deadline for full application project drafts to be submitted for final committee review. 

April 13, 2020: Notifications will be sent to top 10 projects selected to participate in LaunchPadFollowing this notification, pre-event planning meetings will be calendared between March and June—about 12-15 hours of preparation.  

August 14, 2020: Final Project Abstracts due (no more than two pages). SPN’s team will provide feedback and edits prior to abstracts being compiled and shared with all event participants. 

September 14, 2020: Final project drafts sent to event participants to for their study and preparation. 

September 23-24, 2020: LaunchPad 2020.

September 25, 2020, to December 31, 2020: First three months of post work assistance for qualifying projects. 

SPN Contact

Julie Burden

Senior Director of Special Projects and Events