Over the past three days, Flip Labs has been crowdsourcing insights from SOCAP14 attendees through a process they call Discovery Live. Two large panels across from the coffee area in the Festival Pavilion hosted a grid of five challenges facing social enterprises that were identified through pre-conference interviews, which was gradually populated with sticky notes on which passersby wrote down the solutions they’ve adopted to tackle these challenges.
This morning, after some pattern recognition and qualitative analysis to synthesize the advice generated from the crowd, Flip Labs unveiled the following overarching principles for experiencing greater success in the social impact world:
Make the Pie Bigger: Stop thinking about grabbing your “share” of the opportunity. It’s big enough to collaborate, or you can make it bigger by doing so. Invite competitors into the problem-solving space and find ways to make them allies. This anti-scarcity thinking also captures the strategy of broadening a customer base by drafting off of existing values, rather than forcing your version of what people should care about into a market.
Build and Sell Iteratively: You have to get things done and sell your idea before its execution is perfect. And it won’t ever really be “finished.” Get comfortable working in phases, going through short cycles of inventing, testing, incorporating feedback and revising—and communicate transparently throughout the process as you learn and even fail. This form of emergent strategy builds organizational resilience and long-term sustainability.
Become an Intermediary: New markets often lack the players to smooth the way for transactions, whether those take the form of knowledge exchange or purchases. Building connections, pathways, and accessible onramps to link existing resources (natural, human, capital) to needs is often the key activity to build market momentum.
Live in an Ecosystem: Don’t build your company or organization as though your solution is the only one, or even the “best.” Your idea resides in an ecosystem of solutions, many of which need to succeed to amplify your work. Understand the value of partnership and collaboration for that reason. Likewise, when the various stakeholders who are residents in the system foster collaboration and collective ownership, impact grows.
The colorful grid of pie charts, which is color-coded by conference track, shows how different companies and organizations that attended SOCAP14 are using certain principles to overcome specific stuck points. The size of the chart roughly corresponds to the number of Discovery Live participants it represents.
In the next two weeks, Flip Labs will be conducting some further analyses of the info they collected for inclusion in a short summary document, which will be available for download from their website: www.fliplabs.com