The business of social change
A few days back I had the opportunity to present (with my colleague Chris Vanstone) to senior leaders in the not for profit sector in Adelaide through our partners CBB. The presentation was focussed on learnings from any enterprise for the not for profit sector (hint: understand value for all customers, then create value before you can capture some of it). We discussed a few tools that we use to do some of this and how any organisation whether designed for profit or not have to work on developing their business model. What can not for profits do? It was clear to me that there was a lot of appetite for business thinking. The world of social change is “changing”. There is more competition, the policy making in Australia is creating “choice” and “competition” in the social sector. The policies of NDIS in the disability sector, CDC in ageing, general outsourcing in the child protection space and in all other areas are some of the factors. I think there is a greater understanding that we need the tools and practical stuff from business world. The most immediate outcome for me is to move organisations to a “outside-in” perspective. Focus on the customers - the end user, the financial supports like govt. and other supporters and what is that they value. Rather than this is our program, our service model and provide that to all. One of the CEOs later told me that she was impressed to see “young people like me” talking about this sector as businesses and not seeing us as poor cousins of the private sector. It is clear to me that a few years back I would not be able to present to a group like this and now there is a lot of interest and need for this. The business of social change needs more business like thinking as much as more focus on outcomes. The time, market changes and appetite is all there.