The Early Adopter Project

What is an Early Adopter?

An Early Adopter implements innovative technologies ahead of the majority.  Our pilot training program, the Early Adopter Project was focused on training businesses, organizations and municipalities in environmentally, economically and socially sustainable practices.  Download our Early Adopter Training Overview for a brief look at our format.  

Outcome Posters: 

Here are links to some of the outcome reports presented by the Early Adopters at our Public Showcase in October 2009.

Twin Ports Testing      DSA Community Foundation

Duluth Transit Authority       The Inn on Lake Superior     

Duluth Grill      Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce 

Superior Public Schools         Challenge Center

Glenwood Signs & Awards      City of Duluth 1  2 

UW - Superior      Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Who was part of the first Early Adopters training in the Twin Ports?

Twenty-seven organizations applied for this pilot project, which was designed to accommodate 10-12 participating organizations.  Due to the high level of interest, the steering committee decided to accept 14 organizations. They were selected based on three criteria: community leadership, commitment to using sustainable practices, and broad representation of the Twin Ports community.

Challenge Center  •  City of Duluth  •  Inn on Lake Superior, ZMC Hotels  •  Duluth Grill  •  Superior Public Schools  •  London Road Car Wash
Douglas County   •  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation  •  Twin Ports Testing  •  Glenwood Signs and Awards
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce
  •  Duluth Transit Authority  •  University of Wisconsin – Superior

How did the Project Work?

Each team made a one-year commitment, which included six days of formal, intensive training, analysis of current practices, dedicated networking and professional coaching.  The fourteen trained Early Adopter organizations will show the community by example that it is possible and economically advantageous to increase sustainability using The Natural Step framework.

How are you sharing the Outcome?

We are documenting the process and results of the Project in two ways:

Documentary:
Watch web vignettes of the Early Adopter teams on the Documentary page. 

A final documentary video was produced after the training to share the stories of the Early Adopters as they move forward on the path toward sustainability.  To order a copy of the documentary, click here

This project is funded in part by the Dr. and Mrs. Bernhard Boecker Charitable Fund and the Global Awareness Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Case Studies:
We are capturing the stories of each participant through case study interviews.  These case studies are available here.

How was the original Project Funded?

Thanks to the A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation's Fund for the Environment and the Wildey H. Mitchell Family Fund and the University of Wisconsin - Superior for their support.

To date, who has completed this annual training?

Since 2009, 5 Cohorts have completed the Level 3 Training.  The STP Early Adopter Family now includes 30 organizations!

Cohort 1 - 2009 

Challenge Center  •  City of Duluth  •  Inn on Lake Superior, ZMC Hotels  •  Duluth Grill  •  Superior Public Schools  •  London Road Car Wash
Douglas County   •  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation  •  Twin Ports Testing  •  Glenwood Signs and Awards
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce
  •  Duluth Transit Authority  •  University of Wisconsin – Superior

Cohort 2 - 2010 

Duluth Public Schools  • Fit City Duluth  •  Jamar Company  •  Members Cooperative Credit Union  •  St. Luke's Hospital 

Cohort 3 - 2011

Spirit Mountain Recreation Area • Clyde Park Association; Duluth Heritage Sports Center, Duluth Children's Museum, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland, Clyde Restaurant • Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority

Cohort 4 - 2012

Lake Superior Zoological SocietyFond du Lac Ojibwe SchoolCity of Duluth

Cohort 5 - 2013

University of Wisconsin-Superior Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior ChippewaCanal Park Brewing Company Lake Superior College

Cohort 6 - 2015

Upper Lakes Foods • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa • Duluth-Superior Eco Rotary Club