When I had accepted to run a Business Model workshop at the Social Impact Lab in Berlin a couple questions came to my mind:
Will the tools and techniques work as well for Social Business as for traditional companies?
Do I have to adapt my language and coaching style?
The workshop was delivered early this week and I have to say that my early concerns were not valid. I was able to run the workshop quite successfully using the same approach we applied at our consulting engagements.
But it is more interesting for sharing what I have learned at the experience working with Social Start-ups with names like “Ugly Fruits”, “Ayra”,” Hotel Utopia” or “One Week Student” instead of big global corporations.
Diversity: one of the first task at a business workshop if to bring some diversity to the room, in the mix of participants or leveraging some constrains. Here was exactly the opposite: the topics and the teams were diverse by nature, not extra effort were needed. On the contrary the challenge was somehow to find a path to keep them working aligned while keeping the focus in their own project.
Motivation: you cannot ask for more. They were not there because the boss told to or because looks good on the CV. They were there because they have a business to make successful and, not a minor task, make the world a better place to live in.
Impact: since they have bigger social good to achieve, their company is not a goal but a medium, and probably their ultimate measure of success if their organization were not needed anymore because the social impact was reached and became mainstream. A quite different dimension what a successful business model means.
I liked very much working with these Social Start-ups and grateful for their warm reception. Please add you own impressions and experiences about the “clash” between Social and Business