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July 10, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

What are the frameworks available for social entrepreneurs to build successful businesses

1) Business Model Template combined with the Lean Startup Methodology (although this isn’t specific to social entrepreneurship). The advantage here is that the model has been used, tested, and theoretically refined in the business world. This is a wiki that links to the a number of lean startup resources. If you aren’t familiar, you may want to look at Steve Blanks blog. (Blank also can help academics, as he’s posted a number of his class resources)

2) Scaling Social Impact. This is a fantastic resource. I believe its run by academics/researchers for the field of social impact and high impact philanthrophy. This social business resource is available here. A number of tools and templates are available here.

3) Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook (free preview download available of first 3 chapters—just launched) Its written by Ian C. MacMillan and James D. Thompson

4) Paul Polack’s model is primarily targeted at problem identification and customer development. 12 part problem solving model is available here. This can be integrated with other theories, tools, and worksheets on the list.
Also heres Paul Polack’s model of creating products for the developed world (aka the base of the pyramid or emergent markets)

5) Design Thinking
a) specifically IDEO’S human centered design toolkit (here)
b) Standford’s bootcamp is also helpful. This page links to the Bootleg, but you can Google “design thinking bootcamp bootleg” and find it, if you don’t like clicking through here.
Why is design thinking relevant to social innovation? Ideally it should help you achieve product/market fit. Without product market fit….you are likely creating something that won’t scale or potentially one that won’t useful purpose. Its also an innovation methodology that is user and customer centric (and innovation should ideally serve users and/or customers).

6) Service Design. You might also like to check out this Pintrest list of service design models and frameworks.

7) Ashoka’s hybrid value chain model (link). This is a tool or model that may help you identify possible impact measures.

8) Social Impact Calculation tools. Tools and resources for assessing social impact available through the Foundation Center (link). This can be a bit of a rabbit hole in the field for those starting out. It may be best to do a best guess (# of people helped X impact per person/investment = SROI) and move forward with the business components.

9) I’ve previously covered the issue of social entrepreneurship frameworks here. You can see all my posts on social entrepreneurship models here or these on SE business model. This post specifically has a number of frameworks and models which should prove helpful to those entering the social entrepreneurship field. (you have to click to view those)

10) SE Toolbelt provides a number of social entrepreneurship tools. I’m not 100% how useful it is.

11) I don’t think these are necessarily exclusive to the field either, but INSEAD produced a social entrepreneurship workbook it released in 2009. The workbook is available here (its rather short–to me the last page is the most useful). They also have a number of other resources–but I can’t comment on their respective usefulness or value.

If you are not familiar with the space there are two core publishers:
Fieldstorm (???)
BK Books(???)
There are also the usual publishers. David Bornstein has done a pretty decent job of covering the space.

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