INSIGHTS FOR IMPACT

Social enterprise articles

Westaway Review leads the discourse on best practices for social entrepreneurship. Find the insights you need to change the world.

February 11, 2017

Method’s Hustle

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antione de Saint-Exupery

Newton’s first law of motion dictates that an object stays at rest until acted upon by force. Even if that object is the best-designed product, it will never be successfully launched without exerting the right amount of force to get it in motion. That is what the building phase is all about—igniting the momentum necessary to launch a great product and a great company.

The most important factor in this phase is hustle. So many pieces need to fall in place, from press to design to distribution, and at the prelaunch stage getting support and funding can take a good deal of persuasion. This is a messy process for many founders, of fits and starts, with daily challenges and many setbacks. Just think of how many of those the Embrace team had to overcome. Often the only way to succeed is with a great amount of audacity, energy, passion, and sheer hustle to rally all of the resources, people, and financing required. (more…)

Many founders feel a great sense of urgency to get up and running, and they are too hurried in launching and then give up too soon if the service or product doesn’t take off right away. Another key problem in this phase is that once they’ve created a business plan, they follow the plan too rigidly, mistaking what should be only a rough guide for a fully worked-out business model. A third common mistake is believing that they have to have all the answers and should be able to design their product or service on their own or with only minimal input from others.

The stories of successful social innovators, however, clearly demonstrate the value of taking a more user-focused and iterative approach to designing your product or service. Every one of the enterprises profiled encountered unexpected setbacks and had to scramble to make improvements to their concepts or products, often making a substantial pivot away from the original plan. It’s not important whether you follow the Lean Startup methodology or improvise your own particular development process, but what’s vital is that you approach the process with a good dose of humility, not believing you’ve got answers, but rather that you’re testing hypotheses, and that you move forward according to these three steps:

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December 16, 2016

Nonprofit Lifecycle

 

As another year comes to a close and we explore possibilities for the next, many executives and board members reflect on the state of their organizations. I was recently asked by a client about the best way to diagnose where her organization is to help determine where to focus energies in the new year. My favorite diagnostic tool to accomplish this task is the organizational lifecycle.

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Manifesto

We see the world as it could be. We resolve to make change happen. Not content to wait for better times, we strive to lay foundations now. We know that a brighter future is built by the adventurers, people like you and me, who are on the ground charting new territory, motivated by passion and obsessed with execution.

We believe in the power of the marketplace to create positive social and environmental change. We believe the world’s most complex challenges have financially sustainable solutions. We believe the people who design these solutions are driven by long-term prosperity, not only financial but also social and environmental.

We are in this together.