Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Want to start a social enterprise? Here are my 5Is of Starting Social Ventures

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how people set up social ventures; what system do they  follow, what lessons have they learnt etc. I have also thought about how I have helped set up social enterprises such as FranchisingWorks and NurseFirst; and how I've supported philanthropists in starting their new ventures. I have encapsulated this in what I have called the 5Is of Starting Social Ventures. I'd love your comments, and hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!

Idea: Any social venture starts with an idea that can transform society. Have you got an idea? This could be for example, to help young people get better GCSE results, to improve participation in sport or to help people get jobs.

Innovation: For this idea to turn into a reality, it needs to be honed and developed, fusing it with a mixture of sector experience, leading research, and unconventional thinking. For more about what makes a powerful social innovation, read my 8Ps of Powerful Social Innovation.

Incubation: Now the innovation is at a stage where a team needs to be put in place to help turn it into into a fully designed and developed organisation ready to pilot the idea. This process includes business modelling and planning that not only enables the pilot to happen but also enables the new organisation to scale, enabling its impact to be much more significant.

Initiation: Having identified locations to trial and initiate what is by now a new social venture, it's time to set up the organisation itself, press go and pilot! Finding the right location(s) is crucial; ensuring a good mix of stakeholders is key.

Impact: Successful piloting provides the benchmark for social venture expanding and having significant impact, potentially nationally or internationally. At this point, it's time to learn lessons from the pilot(s) and think roll out, perhaps through direct growth, social franchising or replicating through a different means.

If you want support turning your idea into a reality; I'd love to help. See here.

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