Business Model Innovation

The Alliance for Global Good has created a fund specifically for non-profits and philanthropic organizations with innovative and unique business models. The idea came from a Chicago enterprise, “Sweet Beginnings” that provided ex-convicts with the opportunity to earn income through beekeeping, along with food handling, retail sales, inventory and distribution.  Traditionally, non-profit organizations rely on individual donations for income, but the Alliance for the Global Good’s Innovation Fund encourages organizations to implement innovative business strategies. ”With the right business model, organizations could really thrive,” said David Brand, president and chief executive of the alliance.

The new fund is intended to help both established and startup charities. Grant winners will also be expected to mentor future fund recipients. Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post said, “[T]he focus on finding new ways to support human service organizations…these groups are going to have to start thinking about how their programs can be sustainable during economic downturns.”

It’s not just non-profit organizations that have fought the challenges of the economy and demand for innovation. Mars’ M&M chocolate candy brand created custom print M&M’s after the company launched ‘Pioneer Week’ back in 2003, providing teams with small budgets and 90 days to build a product for trial production. Today, My M&M’s are in high demand for weddings, party favors and other events, yielding a large profit.

A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and BusinessWeek found that Business model innovators continued to flourish against competition, even 10 years after implementation. While business model innovation implies a great deal of risk-taking, sometimes it can provide the most fruitful path. As noted in the title of the report,  “When the Game Gets Tough, Change the Game”.

Posted by: Georgina Ellison

Sources: Boston Consulting Group, BusinessWeek, The Washington Post

Photo Credit: Light my path courtesy of flickr user faith goble


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