Advancing the Use of Design and Manufacturing Technology in Startups and Nonprofits

The Autodesk Foundation facilitates grants and impact investments, donated Autodesk technology, and Autodesk employee volunteer hours to support nonprofits and startups to scale innovations – advancing a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable world. Through desk research and interviews with technical leads and founders across the Autodesk Foundation portfolio, this project sought to identify opportunities to improve and facilitate technology adoption and training in the product design and manufacturing space.  

Interviews were conducted with 17 organizations to understand technology and training gaps which could be addressed by the Autodesk Foundation. From these interviews, additional technical assessment calls were scheduled to further scope software training requirements, and organizations were advised on technical software solutions. Internal tools and documentation were also streamlined by creating a customer journey map detailing post-investment engagement pathways, organizing internal data, and collecting feedback on product usage and experience.

Increased interviews and in-house technical capacity provided through the project resulted in more software donations, technology assessments, and tailored training sessions for the startups and nonprofits in the Autodesk Foundation portfolio. From the research conducted, a number of recommendations were formulated for improved customer experience. In addition, the marketing team was able to utilize the data for future content and impact metrics. Overall, this work contributed to the Autodesk Foundation’s initiatives supporting emerging startups and nonprofits to scale solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems.

E4C 2021 PROGRAM MANAGEMENT TEAM: Mariela Machado, Senior Program Manager; Grace Burleson, Research Manager; Marilynn Holguín Clover, Program Coordinator; Jonathan Kemp, Program Associate 

ADVISORS AND COLLABORATORS: Bobbie Casey, Partner Success Manager, USA

This research was completed as part of the 2021 E4C Fellowship program. Learn more about the Fellows who worked on this research collaboration by connecting with them on LinkedIn: Danna Xue and Elizabeth Collins.

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