Wildflower Schools: Enabling Connectedness

By Jennifer Aaker, Blake Kavanaugh
2020 | Case No. M383 | Length 13 pgs.

In the process of searching for a preschool for his son, Sepandar “Sep” Kamvar realized the ideal school he was envisioning did not yet exist. He decided to start a school that would serve to connect those involved in the school both to themselves and each other, and would also serve as a catalyst for connecting the world around them. As the first school grew into a school network, Kamvar created an environment where students and teachers had autonomy. Matthew Kramer then took the baton from Kamvar to build Wildflower Foundation, an organization that would support existing Wildflower schools and help interested teachers found Wildflower schools in new geographies. The Foundation operated collaboratively, rather than by diktat, even in areas often tightly owned by executives.

As the realities of starting and operating schools became more routine, the Wildflower network began to look toward a longer-term way to impact their wider community. This included intentionally fostering a more diverse student body and supporting teachers of color. All along, Wildflower had considered its schools to be labs dedicated to understanding children and advancing the Montessori method. Two tenants guided the technology implemented in the schools: they needed to be self-limiting, instead of self-reinforcing, and their work should be accessible and empowering to all. This case about Wildflower Schools demonstrated how software can play a role in perpetuating an organization’s DNA.

Learning Objective

For leaders to create an organizational purpose focused on enabling connectedness, they need to think about the follow interconnected rings: (1) Connected to self (2) Connected to Others (3) Connected to the World and (4) Connected to the Future.
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