Business Modeling @OxfamNovib @ButterflyWorks @SOMO @HIRDA @FairFoods
The Dutch Development sector is going through a rapid phase of development and in the coming five years many organizations will need to make a full shift to financial self-sustainability i.e. European economic pressures are forcing the government to close the faucet and cut back on foreign development programs. This rapidly changing political climate opens up new opportunities and to some extent forces a creative process where we have to think about development work in new ways. Central to this process is the identification, development and implementation of new and sustainable business models. Specifically, the organizational activities that on the one hand address a social or environmental problem/need yet at the same time generate an income needed to sustain these activities financially over time. This is not necessarily an easy process but is certainly a subject getting a lot of attention at the moment, and as recently highlighted at the SoCap Europe event.
Recently I had the chance to facilitate a workshop on Business Modeling with @OxfamNovib @ButterflyWorks @SOMO @HIRDA and @FairFoods. Together these organizations form the IMPACT Alliance, one of the leading development coalitions in the country. The session started with an open ‘brain dump’ that saw a rapid collection of ideas. More importantly we were looking for specific partnerships, resources or other assets that we could leverage in formulating new business propositions. Interestingly, many ideas spurred others to recognize new inputs that had been previously overlooked. The ideas or suggestions were categorized. Teams were then formed across organizations and disciplines for a break out session. Each group reviewed the ideas in their category and prioritized them given viability, synergy and resource constraints. The process saw each team select a central idea they then used to work through various business models and alternative scenarios.
At the end of the session the teams reported back with their findings. Each presented their main idea, the different scenarios they had worked out in detail, the key assumptions under each scenario and an outline as to the next steps that would need to be undertaken in executing the model. We also facilitated a Q&A with the rest of the team to further test and refine the ideas.
One of the concrete outcomes would be to link the output from these sessions with seed finance. This gives each team the chance to properly develop and test the idea with the hopes that they can prove their market worthiness. On this foundation it would be up to each team to carry their further execution.