Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable business models’

Hult 2015 – $1M Prize Competition

Friday, March 13th, 2015

This global competition is organized by the Hult Prize Foundation, a not-for-profit organization aiming at solving the planet’s biggest challenges with innovative ideas implemented through sustainable start-up social enterprises. Annual Hult Prize winners get USD1 million in seed funding to make their ideas reality. Although it was originally conceived to attract “the world’s brightest business minds”, it is seeing increasing numbers of multidisciplinary teams participating, including from many design schools.

This year’s challenge is about early childhood education in urban slums for children aged 0-6 years. The objective is to reach 10 Million children within 5 years. The competition is staged first at local and regional levels around the world. The six regional finalist teams attend in July and August a six-week program at the Hult Accelerator at the Hult Business School in Boston. They then compete in the global finals in an event attended by President Clinton where the winning team will be selected.

This year two teams from OCAD University’s Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) masters program participated in the local competition with about 22,000 submissions globally. The two teams moved to the regional finals.

Team Msana to Shanghai

 

 

 

 

Team YOGYA to San Francisco

 

Two OCADU teams at the Regional Finals

 

 

 

 

 

One team from the part-time SFI program team is currently in Shanghai while the other team from the SFI full-time program is currently in San Francisco. Each of them will be competing with about 250 regional candidates. We wish them both the best of luck!

Celebrating 3 years of Strongly Sustainable Business Model Research

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

On Tuesday January 13th, 2015 the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG) held it’s first monthly meeting of 2015. This marked the beginning of the group’s fourth year and called for a brief celebratory exchange about the achievements of the group in the past three years:

The SSBMG LinkedIn group counts now almost 330 members including key researchers and practitioners of sustainable business modeling from around the world.

A new sophisticated and intriguing tool has been developed based on the remarkable work of Antony Upward, one of the group’s co-founders. This new tool, the Flourishing Business Canvas (FBC) allows business model analysis and innovation while encompassing critical elements and relationships that main stream tools such as Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas could not capture, so for example business risks from social and environmental causes that usually do not appear on the balance sheet. The FBC is being currently tested with  organizations of various type and size. It has been presented in a number of international conferences and workshops in the US and Europe.

SSBMG long-time member Bob Willard has been contributing significantly to the global effort of developing a reliable benchmark to identify the performance indicators and corresponding values that must be achieved to become a strongly sustainable enterprises. His and his colleagues hard work came finally to fruition with the publication late in 2014 of Public Draft 1.0 of the Future Fit Business Benchmark, which is available now for comment and feedback.

In the area of impact measurement and social asset valuation and tracking, SSBMG member Anshula Chowdhury, CEO of Toronto-based Social Asset Measurements Inc., brought the annual conference of Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA) usually held in Europe to convene in Toronto for the first time. The conference titled “Talking Data: Measurement with a Message” took place November 3 and 4, 2014. It was an excellent and rich event that included City Impact Tours for delegates to visit various organizations in the City of Toronto. SSBMG was one of the select City Impact Tours destinations and welcomed about 15 delegates for an afternoon to introduce them to its work.

In the past 2 years we also started our new research stream within SSBMG exploring the decision-making processes of SME leaders and their mental models while making these decisions. Two Major Research Projects (MRP) were completed. One investigated a sample of progressive SME leaders when making business decisions involving social and/or environmental aspects. The second used a similar methodology to investigate a sample of main stream SME leaders. This research stream produced a number of insights that will contribute to the design brief of the tools and methods being developed for SME leaders. It also posed new critical questions about the position of business modeling in the strategy formulation processes of SMEs.

The past year saw a steady flow of monthly meeting presentations by members of SSBMG about their work: Natalie Robinson, Marion Real, Alexandre Joyce from Montreal, Cilia Holmes Indahl from HEC Paris, Lindsay Clinton from SustainAbility (US), Marie-Claude Lacerte from HEC Montreal, Merlina Missimer from Sweden, Randy Saad from the Harbour Front Centre, Nancy Bocken from TU Delft in the UK.

More importantly many relationships and collaborations started emerging. One example is the workshop organized by the Canvas team in February 2014, which attracted members from other locations (Montreal to Hamburg). The interaction between members and the cross pollination of ideas is an essential component of SSBMG’s value proposition. Another example is the blog started by Group member Florian Lüdeke-Freund of the University of Hamburg in Germany. In a recent post on the LinkedIn group Florian wrote: “2014 was the second year for our platform, and it was a very good year: 13 active bloggers, 130 entries in our open publication list, a total of 49 posts since the blog’s start in February 2013 and our new “Papers in Brief” series have attracted 7,900 page views in 2014, and 10,200 page views in total!”

So there is much to celebrate but also much work still to be done. In 2015 SSBMG will continue developing the major streams, paying attention to synchronization and alignment between the different streams. An important area of exploration will be how the Group measures its own progress towards achieving its objective of “accelerating the transition of SMEs to sustainability“. It will be an interesting journey again and we look forward to continuing participating and contributing.

SSBMG January 2015 Meeting

Monday, January 12th, 2015

The Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group will be holding its January meeting on Tuesday January 13th, 4:30-6:00 PM at OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab. On the Agenda for this month are news and updates about members activities and achievements as well as a discussion on how to measure the progress of the Group towards achieving its mission: The acceleration of the transition of small and medium enterprises (SME) to  sustainability.

SSBMG December 2014 Meeting

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The December meeting of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG) will be held on Tuesday December 9th, 4:30-6:00 PM at OCAD University’s sLab (205 Richmond Street West, 4th Floor, Room 7410) in Toronto. The final meeting of this year will have two presenters. First Fiona Stappmanns, a doctoral candidate at the Innsbruck Universität in Austria will be presenting her work from her Masters thesis and her plans for her dissertation. Her talk is titled “Business Model Innovation – Sustainability as a Key to Competitive Advantage”. The second presenter will Anshula Chowdhury, CEO of Social Asset Measurement, who will be updating us on the insights from the annual conference of cthe Social Impact Analysts Association, held for the first time outside Europe in Toronto this fall. As usual we expect a lively and inspiring discussion.

Sustainable Business Models – A Demand Side Perspective

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

As a convener of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG) at OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) I am committed to developing tools and methods to help organizations become more sustainable. As such I am thrilled with the research of colleagues like Antony Upward in developing an exhaustive business model ontology and deriving new visual tools from it (a super version of the BM Canvas tool developed by Alex Osterwalder). It struck me, however, that not withstanding all the good intentions behind the development of the many tools and methods trying to achieve the same, they all can be classified as “supply side” solutions, that is beautiful and interesting solutions developed without seriously researching what the needs of the intended users are.  I set out therefore to add “demand side” research stream to the research agenda of SSBMG.

To investigate users needs we thought we would start by better understanding how important business decisions are made in organizations and at what stage of that decision process business model considerations come in. We were interested particularly in decision-making processes in situations  involving trade-offs between economic, social and environmental elements. The first steps in that direction was to investigate the mindset of leaders in organizations that are progressive in their views on balancing these elements. This research is currently underway through a Major Research Project by Ben McCammon as part of his  degree requirement at the Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) Masters program. Ben is using the design probe method to collect information on the mindset of leaders in Canadian B-Corps. I am anticipating reading about his findings before the end of this year.

The next step will be to do the same research on regular organizations and comparing the two mind sets and decision making processes to better understand how decisions pertaining to sustainability are made and what the optimal leverage points would be to influence this process. The aspiration is to use these insights to inform the design of tools and methods intended to assist organizations become more sustainable.