The most effective organizational strategy in view of today's challenges is such that it is closely tied to a clear theory of change.
Having such a focused strategy involves the questions of how potential mission drifts can be kept in check to stay in line with organizational mission over time, or how strategic mission drifts, also known as pivoting can help organizations re-new their impact strategy.
These topics are covered in our MODULE 2: IMPACT FOCUSED STRATEGY:
- Strategy and systems thinking
- Impact oriented strategic management
- The duality of, and tensions between, business and impact models
This module highlights the importance of thinking strategy of "theory of change", rather than drafting positive social change as an add-on to a pre-existing, value neutral strategy.
The starting point for developing a good strategy is the social problem or challenge an organization wants to tackle (challenges may range from combatting gender inequality, to addressing poverty, to enhancing environmental sustainability).
Several social entrepreneurs elaborate on how they formed their strategy and what difficulties they faced in the process. A key insight is that strategy formulation needs constant renewal and adaptation, and that strategy implementation and impact-oriented management are the real challenges.
What is special about impact-oriented enterprises is the duality between the business model and the impact model these organizations are often confronted with. Existing tensions can intensify along the growth of the organization and social entrepreneurs possibly face the risk of mission drifts that take them off their original course. Sometimes strategic mission drifts pivoting.
A main pillar of this module is strategy which is oriented at locating the venture within a bigger system of actors (for-profit, nonprofit, civil society, science, or public administration) and aiming within this context for systems change to meet social problems more effectively.
1. (Imagine) you are leading an impact organization. Define your approach to tackling a social problem, formulate a strategy and tie it to your theory of change.
2. How do you best communicate your strategy to an investor?
3. Project your future: Where are the potential conflicts between your impact and business model, and how could you resolve those strategically to achieve greater impact?
List of exemplary Readings and Resources
- FSG (2016): Systems Thinking Tool Kit.
- NPC (2015). Systems change. A guide to what it is and how to do it.
- Tracey, P. (2020). The Corporate Pivot: radical change in times of crisis. Cambridge Social Innovation Blog.
Module 2 starts June 1st 2020! You can join our Accelerating Investment Readiness learning program AIRMOOC and Competition at https://air-mooc.teachable.com/ to find out more about how you can improve or create you business strategy by placing impact first!