Friday, April 19, 2013

A model for movement driven initiatives

How do you create a social change initiative?

There are a range of models out there for getting things done.  The startup model will work for many social enterprises (e.g. Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas).  A movement-building approach is great for behaviour-driven social change.  Activist and campaign techniques can leverage collective interest to influence the activity of large institutions.

I have learnt a lot from all of these fields - and continue to learn from them.  But none of them has ever been a convincing model for 'what I do' - or what I could do, or ever want to do either.

I've lamented before about the lack of an archetype for being a 'social innovator'.  I've discovered many more fields of interest, but still nothing that fits the bill.  Hell, I've even started telling people I'm setting up a consultancy.  A consultancy!?  What crap that is.  Yes, I hope in the (near) future to be paid to consult, but that's a far cry from "being a consultant".

These thoughts have recently coalesced into something that I think might just work, for me.  Not to say it is a model others should follow, but it seems promising for me.  At least, at this stage, it feels right.  That's more than I can say about any model I've sat with before.

As of... now, I'm calling it a model of 'movement driven social initiatives'.

The model goes something like this:

  1. Find a cause you care about: develop a sense of untapped potential, a problem, or the possibility for change
  2. Find allies
  3. Work with your allies to understand the space, find further allies, and opportunities to move forward
  4. Move forward 'growably' - initially with low-hanging 'MVP' initiatives, progressively with 'bigger', higher-impact and more scaleable initiatives - always with initiatives that grow the movement and the resources driving it (including your personal energy and finances!)
  5. Champion the cause, support your allies to deliver the change they are passionate about, and grow your initiative into a community and a movement
  6. Cultivate leaders to make yourself redundant before you get over it - because the first five steps are never finished
  7. Find another cause

I'm not going to blog here about this here in any more detail, but if you want me to elaborate, tell me that this is 'so 2005' and has been written about already, or especially if think this is what you (could) do - would love to hear from you.

Especially that last one.  Let's get awesome at doing this together, eh?