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Meet Jarrett, teacher & social entrepreneur
October 7, 2015
Jarrett is a teacher and social entrepreneur based in West Philadelphia who uses Google Docs and Drive to power a student run organization that creates healthy snacks, called
We want to know how you use Google Docs, too, so share your own examples at
with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed.
Hi Jarrett! Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I work for an organization called the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative at Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Over the past 4 years, I’ve worked with West Philly HS students to build a business that produces healthy snacks called Rebel Ventures. Our mission is to make good food affordable to everyone. Simply put, good food is good for the people who eat it, good for the people who make it, and good for the planet. Our goal is to create healthy snacks and healthy jobs for our community.
How does Google Docs fit into your workday?
The Rebel Ventures Google Drive folder is the foundation of our job training model. Our business is divided into 6 departments (accounting, operations, sales, marketing, design, r&d) and high-school students rotate through each department, learning and developing a diverse set of skills by running the business activities within that department. The more skills HS students master, the more more money they earn.
We store all our files in our Drive, no matter what software is used to create them. All HS students with smartphones download Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc for their phone so they can access and manipulate the content at all times.
We use Slides to create all the tutorials that students use to teach themselves specific Rebel skills when no one is available to train them. Our entire accounting and sales systems are built in Sheets called Master Accounts. Every week a HS student opens and updates our Future Sales tab, which is transcribed on a whiteboard, carried into our kitchen, and the rest of the crew work on fulfilling orders.
We also use Sheets to improve our product quality in the Research and Development department. Every time we create a new flavor or product, we conduct a crew-wide taste test, where each individual ranks the products in a variety of set categories. A HS crew member is responsible for entering the data from the paper taste test forms into a spreadsheet, and then uses different functions to analyze and visualize the data so we can make informed recipe development decisions.
Our performance management system is based on peer evaluation. Every two weeks all Rebel crew members (high school, college, staff) fill out an anonymous Google Form where they rate their colleagues in 3 categories, and provide comments to justify the ratings. Our high school Rebel crew leaders are responsible for analyzing this data and then using it to co-plan SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals for individual improvement.
What are 3 tips you’d give for other organizations who use/would consider using Google Docs?
Trust your team and let them play.
We give our high school students free access to computers as well as their phones during work, trusting that if they are using this technology they are working with Drive and Docs. The apps are simple enough that the students can self direct their activities, and they know to look to their peers and mentors if they need help manipulating a particular doc.
Build and keep building.
We usually don’t have any idea what the final form of any of our docs, spreadsheets, presentations, or forms will look like before we start making them. We have a goal in mind, but otherwise just start building from the ground up until we’ve created a tool that is useful. We test the tool and continue building. If more than one person is working on a doc at a time, we make sure they have their own device to access the doc so we don’t stifle creativity, independence, and cooperative communication.
Be organized and be transparent.
We do our best to keep our Drive organized through folders, and regularly train our staff on how to navigate the system. We also put everything our staff needs into Drive so there is open access to the information we need to do our jobs.
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