Today, we will delve into the heart of social innovation with my reinterpretation of Doblin’s ten areas of innovation for social innovators and entrepreneurs. Let’s explore the foundation of how we create and deliver value in the realm of non-profit organizations and social enterprises.

Configuration: The Four Building Blocks

1. Funding Sources:

Diversifying revenue streams is key to financial sustainability. Many organizations traditionally rely on a limited set of funding sources. I encourage you to explore earned revenue and broaden your financial base for sustained impact.

2. Stakeholders:

Innovation thrives when we engage a diverse mix of stakeholders with aligned interests. By identifying and collaborating with critical stakeholders, we can catalyze change that serves people, places, or causes effectively. Consider who the most critical stakeholders are that complement and create synergies.

3. Structure:

Organizational capacity hinges on aligning talent and resources. Assessing capacity in areas such as leadership, governance, financial management, and more ensures a robust foundation for delivering programs and services. Rate your levels of capacity in these areas: leadership, governance, financial management, program development, fundraising, and communications.

4. Process:

Efficiency in organizational processes is vital for creating and delivering value. Innovation in processes, whether technological or otherwise, plays a significant role in enhancing effectiveness. Evaluate your systems for efficiency and effectiveness.

The Offer: A Closer Look at Social Enterprise Value Propositions

5. Program Performance:

Measuring program outcomes through logic models and theories of change is essential. Social innovators gauge the impact of their programs based on customer feedback, allowing for continuous improvement and adaptation.

6. Program Scope & Scale:

Taking a holistic approach to program services ensures a comprehensive impact. Assessing the scope (holistic support) and scale (replicability) of program models helps determine their potential reach.

Customer Experiences: Nurturing Beneficiaries and Their Perspectives

7. Value to Customer:

Understanding the customer’s point of view is crucial. Even in the non-profit sector, customers, or beneficiaries, pay with their time or effort to access services. Improving features and benefits based on user feedback enhances satisfaction and outcomes. What do customers value and how do you know what to improve to increase customer satisfaction and outcomes?

8. Channels:

Innovative program delivery channels contribute to accessibility. Whether through technology or flexible service provision, multiple channels enhance convenience and outreach to target populations. What ways or channels will you use to deliver program services or products to your customers?

9. Brand:

For social innovators, brand extends beyond organizational branding. It links programs or products to a greater cause, creating awareness and showcasing practical solutions for significant social issues. What social cause or issue does your program most align with and why?

10. Engagement:

Outreach to target audiences requires time, collaboration, and strategic planning. Aligning with organizations sharing similar interests or social capital enhances engagement and reduces barriers for potential service users. What barriers may be in place for those who are not using your services?

Reflecting on Innovation: Ask Yourself…

  • Who are new funding sources that you’ve only dreamed of applying for?
  • What stakeholders complement and create synergies with our mission?
  • How can we enhance efficiency in our organizational processes?
  • What features and benefits do our customers value, and how can we improve them?
  • Are there additional channels for program delivery that would benefit our target audience?
  • What social cause or issue aligns most with our program, and how can we elevate its visibility?

As we navigate these building blocks of innovation, let’s continue to push the boundaries and create lasting positive change. Stay tuned for more insights and updates from Wright Venture Services!

Happy innovating!

*Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

About the Author Paul Wright

Paul Wright is the founder of WVS Courses and Coaching, and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs launch and grow new enterprises. He especially enjoys working with social innovators who create a greater good in the world with their businesses.

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