Mitchell B. Weiss - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Mitchell B. Weiss

Professor of Management Practice, Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow

Entrepreneurial Management

Mitch Weiss is a Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management unit and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. He created and teaches the school's course on Public Entrepreneurship—on public leaders and private entrepreneurs who invent a difference in the world. He also teaches The Entrepreneurial Manager in the first year of the MBA Program. His research interests in addition include digital transformation, peer production, and innovation ecosystems. He was a 2015 recipient of the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching and a Greenhill Award recipient for 2015-2016.  He helped build the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School and is a senior advisor to the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Mitch's work and the Public Entrepreneurship course has been referenced in The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Politico, and other outlets. 

Prior to joining HBS in 2014, Mitch was Chief of Staff and a partner to Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino. Mitch helped shape New Urban Mechanics, Boston’s municipal innovation strategy, and make it a model for peer-produced government and change. He also championed Boston’s Innovation District as a regional platform for entrepreneurship and growth.

Mitch contributed to Boston’s educational reform agenda, including its District-Charter compact. He led speechwriting for the Mayor’s Inaugural and State of the City addresses. In April 2013, he guided the Mayor’s Office response to the Marathon Bombings and played a key role in starting One Fund Boston.

Mitch has presented on government innovation at 10 Downing Street and the World Bank. He was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as one of Boston’s “Top 40 under 40” and by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as one of Boston’s “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders.”

From 2006 to 2009, Mitch was the first Executive Director of the Tobin Project, a catalyst for transformative research in the social sciences. Prior to his roles in the public and social sectors, Mitch worked at Merrill Lynch & Co. where he focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions for many well-recognized food companies.

Mitch holds an A.B. with Honors in Economics from Harvard University and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, where he was a George Baker Scholar.

Journal Articles
  1. Stick to the Strategy or Make the Sale?: A Manufacturer of High-tech Streetlights Considers an Exception to Its New Subscription Model

    Mitchell Weiss

    A manufacturer of high-tech streetlights considers an exception to its new subscription model. A fictionalized case study based on the HBS Case 816-005, "Bigbelly," by Mitchell Weiss and Christine Snively. This case is an example of public entrepreneurship.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; smart cities; anything as a service; Xaas; Bigbelly; Entrepreneurship;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "Stick to the Strategy or Make the Sale? A Manufacturer of High-tech Streetlights Considers an Exception to Its New Subscription Model." Harvard Business Review 94, nos. 7-8 (July–August 2016): 119–121. (Published online as “Case Study: Should You Adjust Your Business Model for a Major Customer?")  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. LabCDMX: Experiment 50

    Mitchell Weiss and Matt Higgins

    Teaching Note for HBS No. 817-031.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; experimentation; lean startup; government; innovation; crowdsourcing; Open Data; entrepreneurship; social entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Government Administration; transportation; Transportation Industry; Mexico City; Mexico; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Social Entrepreneurship; Government Administration; Transportation; Innovation Leadership; Transportation Industry; Public Administration Industry; Mexico; Mexico City;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Matt Higgins. "LabCDMX: Experiment 50." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 818-135, June 2018.  View Details
  2. Mark43

    Thomas Eisenmann, Mitchell Weiss and Matt Higgins

    Teaching Note for HBS No. 817-016. The founders of Mark43, an early-stage startup that provides software for law enforcement agencies, must decide whether to bid on a request for proposals (RFP) from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). On the one hand, LAPD would be a second large and influential customer for a startup that has just successfully deployed software for its first customer, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department. On the other hand, pursuing the LAPD RFP could consume most of Mark43’s engineering resources for the coming year, pushing other business development opportunities off their roadmap, in particular, plans to target small- and medium-sized police departments.

    Keywords: Sales; Customers; Entrepreneurship; Software; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy; Decision Making; Technology Industry; District of Columbia; Los Angeles;


    Eisenmann, Thomas, Mitchell Weiss, and Matt Higgins. "Mark43." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 818-104, June 2018. (Revised July 2018.)  View Details
  3. Urban Us

    Mitchell Weiss and Phoebe Peronto

    Shaun Abrahamson and Stonly Baptiste aimed to invest in what they called "urbantech superheroes." At Urban Us, the seed-stage urban technology-focussed venture capital firm the two started in 2012, they looked for startups innovating around the future of cities. By 2017, they had assessed over 700 potential deals. Each one required a go/no-go decision, and four along the way were no different in that regrad. Of Remix, SeamlessDocs, Starcity, and One Concern, which ones to back? Setting aside the question for the moment of why urbantech startups needed superpowers, which of these possessed them?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; govtech; urbantech; seed investing; venture capital; Urban Us; Shaun Abrahamson; Stonly Baptiste; Remix; One Concern; Starcity; SeamlessDocs; Venture Capital; Public Sector; City; Urban Development; Entrepreneurship; Miami; San Francisco; New York (city, NY);


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Phoebe Peronto. "Urban Us." Harvard Business School Case 818-115, May 2018.  View Details
  4. NYC311

    Constantine E. Kontokosta, Mitchell Weiss, Christine Snively and Sarah Gulick

    Joe Morrisroe, executive director for NYC311, had some gut instincts but no definitive answer to the question he was just asked by one of the mayor’s deputies: “Are some communities being underserved by 311? How do we know we are hearing from the right people?” Founded in 2003 as a phone number for residents to dial (311) from a landline for information on city services and to log complaints, the city launched a 311 website and mobile app in 2009 and social media support in 2011. In 2016, NYC311 received over 35 million requests for services and information. Technological progress had made it considerably easier to hear from NYC residents. Were those gains from innovation being shared equally? More recently, the city began using the data to create predictive models that might help direct inspectors and other workers. Morrisroe and his team had considered the potential downsides of agencies relying too heavily on NYC311 data or on its predictive power. In the sheer volume of the data and its potential to enable a new approach to city services, were biases around income, education, race, gender, neighborhood, home ownership, and other factors hiding too? Morrisroe considered the question posed to him and its implications. He asked for the data and a team to assess it: Are we hearing from everyone?

    Keywords: New York City; NYC; 311; NYC311; big data; Equal access; bias; data analysis; public entrepreneurship; urban informatics; predictive analytics; chief data officer; Data Analytics; cities; city leadership; Data and Data Sets; Analysis; Prejudice and Bias; Entrepreneurship; Public Sector; City; Public Administration Industry; New York (city, NY);


    Kontokosta, Constantine E., Mitchell Weiss, Christine Snively, and Sarah Gulick. "NYC311." Harvard Business School Case 818-056, October 2017. (Revised November 2017.)  View Details
  5. Bitfury: Blockchain for Government

    Mitchell Weiss and Elena Corsi

    In the Republic of Georgia, legend had it their land was a precious gift from God he had intended to keep for his mother. But over time, the land had been under intermittent threat from without and within. In 2017, the Bitfury Group, which Valery Vavilov had co-founded, had helped publish 300,000 Georgian land titles onto the blockchain, making them immutable and, many believed, unhackable. What came next, Vavilov’s team envisioned, were smart purchase and sale contracts via the blockchain; and from there, a full suite of property-related services and, eventually, blockchain as the foundation for a transformation in government services. Vavilov, who had co-founded Bitfury and expanded it substantially from its bitcoin mining roots, felt a blockchain-driven makeover of this sort would take place not just in Georgia's government but also around the world. It was not a matter of "if?" anymore; although that still left the question of "when?"

    Keywords: Blockchain; Bitcoin; cryptocurrency; public entrepreneurship; public innovation; government innovation; property rights; property registry; entrepreneurship; Georgia; Tbilisi; technology strategy; distributed networks; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Technology Adoption; Business and Government Relations; Technology Industry; Real Estate Industry; Public Administration Industry; Georgia (nation, Asia);


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Elena Corsi. "Bitfury: Blockchain for Government." Harvard Business School Case 818-031, October 2017. (Revised January 2018.)  View Details
  6. Public Entrepreneurs? Picking a Path

    Mitchell Weiss and Matthew Segneri

    Direct entry into government remained an uncommon post-HBS path, with only 1%–2% of recent classes going directly into the public sector. But, for public-minded MBAs, government wasn’t the sole province for public problem-solving. MBAs could join or launch companies that sell to government (or directly to citizens), lead venture funds, operate as ecosystem partners, and more. What felt like a new array of opportunities, though, raised a host of additional questions: What does a career path for a public entrepreneur actually look like? In which sector (private vs. public) should I start? Should I run for elective office? What does that imply for how I pursue my career? And often, and perhaps especially, what do I need in order to be able to move back and forth between sectors? In the spring of 2017, four students in the MBA class felt incredibly fortunate. After two years of business school, strong opportunities awaited each of them. None was wanting for work. However, they still had to decide which posts to take at the moment, if any at all.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; social entrepreneurship; careers; tri-sector athlete; job searching; government innovation; govtech; CivicTech; civic technology; civic innovation; government technology; MBA Class of 2017; Social Enterprise; Social Entrepreneurship; Public Sector; Government Administration; Job Search; Jobs and Positions; Innovation Leadership; Technology Industry; Public Administration Industry; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Matthew Segneri. "Public Entrepreneurs? Picking a Path." Harvard Business School Case 818-005, September 2017.  View Details
  7. Hacking Heroin

    Mitchell Weiss and Sarah Mehta

    "Hacking Heroin" was the first hackathon that Annie Rittgers, founder of Cincinnati-based 17a, had organized or even attended. "There will continue to be a lot of preventable overdose deaths and wasted potential if the opioid crisis continues unabated," she said. "Bright spots and positive momentum matter when it comes to directing the energy that exists in Cincinnati toward addressing the epidemic." Now though, days before Hacking Heroin in June 2017, it wasn't clear that Rittgers’s intercession would prove to be one of these "bright spots." Not quite 50 people had registered for the free event, and there was no guarantee that they would attend. Sponsorships for the event had been slow to materialize. The eight challenges that she and the team planned to pose to hackathon participants were mostly, but not entirely, settled. Some, but not all, of the key hospital leaders had signed on to participate in the event. Rittgers wondered what she could do to nudge the hackathon towards success. Were these just expected hurdles, and it would all turn out okay? Were they warning signs that warranted remedy? Or were they cues that hackathon skeptics had been right all along—what kind of way was this to address a problem of epidemic proportions anyway?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; Cincinnati; hackathon; heroin; opioids; crowdsourcing; Public Sector; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Health Pandemics; Public Administration Industry; Health Industry; Ohio;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Sarah Mehta. "Hacking Heroin." Harvard Business School Case 818-010, August 2017.  View Details
  8. Propel

    Mitchell Weiss and Sarah McAra

    In 2014, Jimmy Chen, a former product manager at Facebook, founded the start-up Propel to build software for low-income Americans. After conducting in-depth behavioral research, Chen and his small team in New York City began to develop technology to address the burdensome process of accessing benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. They first designed a mobile site called Easy Food Stamps that streamlined SNAP enrollment, then developed the Fresh EBT app that allowed users to quickly and easily check their SNAP balances on mobile devices. By November 2016, Fresh EBT had 133,000 weekly active users, but Propel had a limited funding runway, and, ahead of a meeting with investors, Chen has to select a business model. He evaluates data from two ongoing business model pilots—financial services referrals and grocery marketing—along with other user behavior research to determine how Propel could generate meaningful revenue while continuing to provide value to users.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; govtech; food stamps; EBT; mobile app; user research; financial services referrals; grocery marketing; customer discovery; Social Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship; Public Sector; Business Model; Research; Social Enterprise; Poverty; Welfare or Wellbeing; Mobile Technology; Software; Technology Industry; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Sarah McAra. "Propel." Harvard Business School Case 818-008, July 2017. (Revised November 2017.)  View Details
  9. Public Entrepreneurship

    Mitchell Weiss

    This course is rooted in the belief that there is a large opportunity for creating value and solving large public problems if there are more inventors and builders inside government and more inventors and builders outside government, building for it. The course was created to advance that opportunity. It is designed for students who anticipate founding or joining private startup companies that sell to (or around) government to solve public problems; for students who plan to be extreme innovators inside government; and for students who may lead in different parts of the connected ecosystem, as investors, advisors, etc.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; Public Sector; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Government Administration; Business and Government Relations;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "Public Entrepreneurship." Harvard Business School Course Overview Note 818-006, July 2017.  View Details
  10. Waze Connected Citizens Program

    Mitchell Weiss and Alissa Davies

    Di-Ann Eisnor, Director of Growth at Waze, founded the company’s Connected Citizens Program (CCP), a data-sharing partnership that provided officials with traffic incident and congestion data. Since 2015, her program had enabled officials in Kentucky and elsewhere to share more reliable traffic information more quickly with drivers. Now, the program that Eisnor and CCP’s three-person team had built was short the analytical tools Kentucky officials felt they needed to prepare for the Kentucky Derby, their biggest event of the year. What would she do about that? Eisnor had a challenge on her hands in Kentucky. And also in Jakarta. And Los Angeles. From its launch in October 2014 through spring 2016, one-on-one contact by her small CCP team had spurred growth from 10 to more than 50 partners. Eisnor and Paige Fitzgerald, CCP’s Program Manager, earned kudos from their Waze colleagues and caught the attention of Waze’s now-parent company, Google. But the successes came with high expectations, too. Waze was intensely focused on user growth, and Google’s culture was to build things and then build those things “10x” bigger. How would Eisnor’s team take a free program supported by three people to 500 partners or more?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; Waze; Public-Private Partnerships; Scaling Technology Ventures; Di-Ann Eisnor; Paige Fitzgerald; Noam Bardin; Ehud Shabtai; cities; transportation; traffic; crowdsourcing; API; Scaling Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Public Sector; Information Technology; Transportation; Growth Management; Transportation Industry; Israel; Indonesia; United States; Brazil; Los Angeles; Kentucky;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Alissa Davies. "Waze Connected Citizens Program." Harvard Business School Case 817-035, June 2017.  View Details
  11. Airbnb in Amsterdam (B)

    Mitchell Weiss, Emer Moloney and Vincent Dessain

    In December 2014, Amsterdam and Airbnb announced an MOU to promote responsible home sharing and to simplify the payment of tourist tax for hosts in the city. It was the most comprehensive agreement that Airbnb had with any city in the world. Its final provision read, “The parties trust that theirs will be a fruitful cooperation.” However, both sides were uncertain about how the agreement would be received. Molly Turner, Airbnb’s global head of civic partnerships, and Tanja de Coster, an Airbnb lawyer in Europe, were unsure how Airbnb’s hosts would react—as were their Airbnb colleagues. Laila Frank, who had been an advisor to the Deputy Mayor in Amsterdam, heralded the reputational gains from the agreement for the city, “We were worldwide news. In that way it worked out really well.” But she acknowledged that there were also skeptical points of view. “The only immediate result was the tax agreement, which we were really happy about. But the rest had to be proven.”

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; innovation; sharing economy; Amsterdam; Airbnb; Molly Turner; regulation; homesharing; tourism; Business and Government; Public-private partnership; Business and Government Relations; Government Administration; Public Sector; City; Urban Development; Tourism Industry; Public Administration Industry; Travel Industry; Netherlands; Europe;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Emer Moloney, and Vincent Dessain. "Airbnb in Amsterdam (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 817-014, October 2016.  View Details
  12. Rapid7

    Mitchell Weiss, Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali

    That Corey Thomas, vice president at Boston-based Rapid7, Inc., was about to enter his investor’s boardroom to negotiate a potential acquisition of Metasploit, LLC, was already an unlikely achievement of sorts. After all, Rapid7 was a venture-backed, corporate client-focused cybersecurity company, and Metasploit was a white-hat hacker community with a reputation that ranged from esoteric to “notorious.” And awaiting Thomas for the deliberations wasn’t a typical business partner, but rather HD Moore, Metasploit’s founder, chief contributor, and in 2009 one of the most well-known hackers on the planet. The groundwork that had been laid to convince Moore to come to Boston for the discussions would all be for naught if Thomas couldn’t come to terms with Moore . . . and if Thomas couldn’t persuade his own executive team and board of directors that whatever package he ultimately agreed to with Moore was a reasonable one, even though an acquisition of Metasploit would come with no meaningful revenue and considerable execution, legal, and reputational risks.

    Keywords: acquisition; cybersecurity; computer hacking; open-source; Corey Thomas; Rapid7; exploit testing; Mergers and Acquisitions; Computer Industry; North and Central America; Boston;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Paul Gompers, and Silpa Kovvali. "Rapid7." Harvard Business School Case 817-077, February 2017. (Revised May 2017.)  View Details
  13. U.S. Digital Service

    Mitchell Weiss, Nick Sinai and Michael Norris

    Mikey Dickerson and Haley Van Dyck found themselves far from home and far from certain about where to take the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) next. In the summer of 2015, they had landed in London to meet with Mike Bracken, director of the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2014, President Barack Obama had given USDS a monumental task: transform how the federal government worked for the American people, digitally. The seeds of USDS had grown out of the rescue of, the federal website meant to allow consumers to shop for private health insurance. Its launch and crash in October 2013 had threatened one of Obama’s signature policy achievements. Dickerson and a small team had been drafted to help fix and had successfully done so in a matter of months. While in London, Dickerson and Van Dyck wondered, of the other areas that most cried out for new technology approaches, which should be tackled next? Moreover, GDS had embedded satellite teams into the UK’s government agencies to guide, assist, and in some cases control, each agency’s digital presence. Did London hold lessons for if, and how, these teams could be successful in the U.S. government? USDS had begun to experiment with this model too, embedding teams in a handful of departments in the U.S federal government. How could USDS best work with the dozens of agencies that were actually doing the work of government?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; Haley Van Dyck; Mikey Dickerson; United States Digital Service; Digital Services; Innovation Teams; Scaling Innovation; 18F; Presidential Innovation Fellows; Government Digital Service; Mike Bracken; Innovation fellowships; Entrepreneurship; Government Administration; Innovation and Management; United States; United Kingdom;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Nick Sinai, and Michael Norris. "U.S. Digital Service." Harvard Business School Case 817-032, December 2016.  View Details
  14. ShotSpotter

    Mitchell Weiss and Sarah McAra

    SST, Inc. offered a subscription-based gunfire detection service, ShotSpotter Flex, to cities across the United States in addition to a few abroad. Over its 20-year history, SST had mostly honed a reliable business-to-government sales model, and the company had been focused on expanding to new cities. But Ralph Clark, President and CEO, was also interested in investigating new services. Mass shootings, in U.S. schools to cities abroad, were consistently followed with calls to his office: “Do you have a solution for us?” Could a ShotSpotter Flex-like service be sold to college campuses and other venues concerned with shootings? Should SST adapt the hardware and the software for indoor applications, like shopping malls and movie theaters? Was the next step in the company’s growth a move towards citywide deployments through smart cities, even to detect gunfire during terrorist attacks? Clark had been cautious about moving the company into new services. However, he was also aware, as were his investors, that the market of U.S. cities with gun-violence problems would eventually cap out. Entering new markets posed a great opportunity but also significant technical and operational challenges. In 2016, Clark weighed the implications.

    Keywords: ShotSpotter; SST; Internet of Things; IoT; smart cities; public entrepreneurship; Sales; Enterprise Sales; Scaling and Growth; government; public sector; innovation; Ralph Clark; entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship; Sales; Innovation and Invention; Public Administration Industry; California; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Sarah McAra. "ShotSpotter." Harvard Business School Case 817-034, November 2016.  View Details
  15. Mark43

    Thomas Eisenmann, Mitch Weiss and Halah AlQahtani

    The founders of Mark43, an early-stage startup that provides software for law enforcement agencies, must decide whether to bid on a request for proposals (RFP) from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). On the one hand, LAPD would be a second large and influential customer for a startup that has just successfully deployed software for its first customer, the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. On the other hand, pursuing the LAPD RFP could consume most of Mark43’s engineering resources for the coming year, pushing other business development opportunities off their roadmap, in particular, plans to target small and medium-sized police departments.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; start-up; software applications; government markets; rapid growth stage; public entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Software; United States; New York (city, NY);


    Eisenmann, Thomas, Mitch Weiss, and Halah AlQahtani. "Mark43." Harvard Business School Case 817-016, November 2016. (Revised November 2016.)  View Details
  16. Airbnb in Amsterdam (A)

    Mitchell Weiss, Emer Moloney and Vincent Dessain

    In February 2014, Amsterdam became the first city to issue new regulations specifically to allow home sharing. Airbnb's Molly Turner, global head of civic partnerships; her colleagues at the San Francisco–based home sharing platform; and her counterparts in Amsterdam's city leadership now had to make the new rules function well. By the summer of 2014, the question of how exactly to do that remained unsettled. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Airbnb was negotiating with Amsterdam officials to supplement the new home-sharing rules was not materializing. Turner was hearing that the company’s proposed commitments that spanned education on regulations, enforcement assistance, and tax collection might not be enough to secure what would be Airbnb’s broadest partnership with any city anywhere. Nanette Schippers was Amsterdam’s Advisor on the Sharing Economy in its Innovation Office and its lead at the negotiating table that summer. She was worried by the standstill, too. A primary reason for the impasse in the negotiations was that Amsterdam wanted access to Airbnb’s data in order to enforce the new laws more easily, while Airbnb sought to protect user privacy. For Airbnb, privacy, precedents, and platform principles were at stake. For Amsterdam, it was a matter of making sure that the historic city did not become “Venice, or Florence, or ‘Disneyland’”; that it wasn’t overrun by visitors and that locals weren’t crowded out. Could the two parties now find dry land?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; innovation; sharing economy; Amsterdam; Airbnb; Molly Turner; regulation; homesharing; tourism; Business and Government; Public-private partnership; Entrepreneurship; Business and Government Relations; Government Administration; Public Sector; City; Tourism Industry; Public Administration Industry; Travel Industry; Netherlands; Europe;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Emer Moloney, and Vincent Dessain. "Airbnb in Amsterdam (A)." Harvard Business School Case 817-013, October 2016. (Revised March 2017.)  View Details
  17. LabCDMX: Experiment 50

    Mitchell Weiss and Maria Fernanda Miguel

    There were probably 30,000 public buses, minibuses, and vans in Mexico City. Though, in 2015, no one knew for certain since no comprehensive schedule existed. This was why el Laboratorio para la Ciudad (or LabCDMX) had spawned an effort to generate a map of the labyrinth system that provided an estimated 14 million rides a day. Gabriella Gómez-Mont, the lab’s founder and director, had led her team in a project to crowdsource the routes from volunteer riders in what came to be known as Mapatón CDMX. After four pilots and a two-week “mapping marathon” later, she wondered exactly what to make of the lab’s 50th experiment? Was Mapatón successful?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; experimentation; lean startup; government; innovation; crowdsourcing; Open Data; transportation; Mexico; Mexico City; Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Government Administration; Transportation; Transportation Industry; Mexico City; Mexico;


    Weiss, Mitchell, and Maria Fernanda Miguel. "LabCDMX: Experiment 50." Harvard Business School Case 817-031, September 2016. (Revised June 2017.)  View Details
  18. Bigbelly

    Mitch Weiss and Christine Snively

    To accelerate Bigbelly's sales growth and its "smart cities" positioning, its CEO planned to shift his company from equipment sales to a subscription service. Jack Kutner hoped to re-position Bigbelly's solar-powered trash compacting stations beyond trash and recycling and use them also to provide public space Wi-Fi, advertising, and urban intelligence sensors. "One year from now we will no longer sell any machines," Kutner planned to tell the company's board of directors. Would they buy his subscription-only pitch? And if they did, would Bigbelly's still-reluctant purchasers?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; smart cities; government innovation; Internet of Things; IoT; anything as a service; platform as a service; infrastructure as a service; PaaS; Xaas; Bigbelly; Jack Kutner; B2G; civic innovation; city innovation; government technology; govtech; civic technology; Sales; Entrepreneurship; Sales; Innovation and Invention; Information Technology Industry; Public Administration Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Web Services Industry; Industrial Products Industry; Massachusetts; United States; Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; New York (city, NY);


    Weiss, Mitch, and Christine Snively. "Bigbelly." Harvard Business School Case 816-005, October 2015.  View Details
  19. Flight: Now without Humans Aboard

    Mitchell Weiss, Karim Lakhani, HT Kung and Kerry Herman

    This note provides an overview of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) industry in September 2015. UAVs offered many potential applications in industries as diverse as aerial imaging and photography, agriculture, construction, infrastructure inspection and monitoring, logistics or commercial payload delivery, and search and rescue and disaster relief. The pace of software and hardware innovation in the sector was transforming UAV capabilities on a rapid basis. Yet regulatory uncertainty and issues around ethics, privacy and security remained. As UAVs gained ground, an ecosystem had begun to take shape that included players in insurance, data analytics, law, and component developments, to name a few. Some players favored an open approach, others pushed toward a more closed ecosystem. The note raises the question: How might industry players work together as they contemplate the promises and challenges of UAVs?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; Rights; Ethics; Product Design; Research and Development; Technological Innovation; Strategy; Transportation Networks; Market Entry and Exit; Innovation and Management; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; European Union; Asia; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Karim Lakhani, HT Kung, and Kerry Herman. "Flight: Now without Humans Aboard." Harvard Business School Technical Note 816-045, October 2015. (Revised September 2016.)  View Details
  20. The $70K CEO at Gravity Payments

    Mitchell Weiss, Michael I. Norton, Michael Norris and Sarah McAra

    In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price took a massive pay cut to raise the minimum wage at his company to $70,000 annually. In the wake of a national discussion of wage equality, he was met with cheers and jeers. The company hoped that the unorthodox move would, through a range of levers, cover the increasing costs of compensation. Did Price make the right move? Would Gravity thrive or even survive?

    Keywords: wage gap; "credit card processing"; CEO pay; inequality; Human Resources; Compensation and Benefits; Human Capital; Wages; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell, Michael I. Norton, Michael Norris, and Sarah McAra. "The $70K CEO at Gravity Payments." Harvard Business School Case 816-010, August 2015. (Revised March 2017.)  View Details
  21. GovDelivery

    Mitchell Weiss

    Is government the biggest, worst customer in the world? And is that a reason for venture investors to back companies that sell to government or to stay away? It had been seven years since Scott Burns joined his friend Zach Stabenow to get a company called GovDocs off the ground. In that time, they had evolved from a provider of government-mandated labor law posters to the country's largest sender of government-to-citizen emails. GovDelivery, as the company became known, was one of the first companies to move governments into the cloud; one of the first to sell them software as a service (SaaS); and in 2007, the only one with 3 million citizens registered to use its platform to receive communications from federal, state, regional, and city governments and public authorities. In those seven years, Burns had raised capital from many sources: friends and family, angel investors, strategic partners, banks, and the investment arm of a major family fund. He and Stabenow had also grown the business through operating revenue and by keeping a tight watch on costs. They had to. Because growth capital had come in from almost all corners, expect one: major venture firms. Now, with roughly $6 million in annual revenue, and projections to double that within three years, Burns was prepping for discussions with half a dozen Tier 1 firms. In doing so, he was anticipating what he thought would be the "elephant in the room." GovDelivery's business-to-government revenue model had been a conversation-stopper with major investors looking at Burns' company and companies like it. What would he tell potential backers?

    Keywords: GovDelivery; public entrepreneurship; B2G; Business-to-Government; Scott Burns; venture capital; Entrepreneurship; Government Administration; Venture Capital; Information Technology Industry; Public Administration Industry; Web Services Industry; Minnesota; United States;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "GovDelivery." Harvard Business School Case 816-020, September 2015.  View Details
  22. New Urban Mechanics

    Mitchell Weiss

    Funding to scale Citizens Connect, Boston's 311 app, is both a blessing and a burden and tests two public entrepreneurs. In 2012, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides Boston's Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics with a grant to scale Citizens Connect across the state. The money gives two co-creators of Citizens Connect, Chris Osgood and Nigel Jacob, a chance to grow their vision for citizen-engaged governance and civic innovation, but it also requires that the two City of Boston leaders sit on a formal selection committee that pits their original partner, Connected Bits, against another player that might meet the specific requirements for delivering a statewide version. The selection and scaling process raises questions beyond just which partner to choose. What would happen to the Citizens Connect brand as Osgood and Jacob's product spreads across the state? Who could help scale their work best then nationally? Which business models were best positioned to drive that growth? What intellectual property arrangements would best enable it? And what role should the two city employees have, anyway, in scaling Citizens Connect outside of Boston in the first place? These questions hung in the air as they pondered the big one about passing over Connected Bits for another partner: Should they?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; civic technology; government innovation; civic innovation; cities; New Urban Mechanics; Thomas. M. Menino; Chris Osgood; Nigel Jacob; Connected Bits; SeeClickFix; Ben Berkowitz; Eric Carlson; Dave Mitchell; government technology; open innovation; open source software; Citizens Connect; Commonwealth Connect; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Innovation and Management; Open Source Distribution; Public Administration Industry; Information Technology Industry; Boston;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "New Urban Mechanics." Harvard Business School Case 315-075, January 2015. (Revised March 2017.)  View Details