By the end of this week, you should understand:
· Why the Social Lean Canvas is essential for your business case
· How Theory of Change can be implemented to ensure long-term goals are achieved
· Understanding the current environmental impact of your business (business as usual)
· Measuring environmental and social impact moving forward (metrics which can be utilized)
Throughout the Greenpreneurs accelerator, you’ve been given the resources to build your business plan, financials and hone in on your overall business offering.
Several concepts will be introduced to you in week 7 which will ensure that you have a long-term vision and purpose which is ambitious yet attainable, and the framework to have actionable steps to achieve this in the short and medium-term.
In business, a huge emphasis is placed on the short-term....what can we do right now to increase traction...how can we increase revenue in the coming weeks...how can we quickly acquire more customers. While important overall, this short-term focus can render a business null.
The Social Lean Canvas allows business to focus on the vision and purpose, which are the primary reasons for starting a business, while the Theory of Change provides a framework to take that long term vision and break it down in the short and medium-term.
Given you all are passionate about the environment and having a positive social impact, it’s important to understand the current environmental and social impact of your business, and how this can be measured to ensure progression as your business grows.
“Vision without execution is hallucination”
social lean canvas
The Social Lean Canvas builds on the Lean Canvas to provide a framework for socially and environmentally responsible businesses to operate.
Although the Lean Canvas is acceptable for generic businesses, it lacks the depth required for those businesses wanting to have a meaningful and lasting social and environmental impact moving forward. For added depth, there is a distinct focus on assessing the purpose and impact of a business concept.
Where to start…
Purpose - the purpose of your business needs to be clearly defined to outline the intended social/environmental impacts, and how this can be economically viable. The purpose of a business must be viable with a logical growth pattern.
You’ve all demonstrated ideas that have a strong purpose, whether for environmental change, or social impact - but we need to transition this purpose into a business setting to drive the vision forward. Regardless if you have one team member or 1,000, the business purpose must always remain front of mind - it’s a bigger concept than any individual.
By forcing a business to actively discuss their purpose, the Social Lean Canvas goes further into why a business is operation. Without impact, however, purpose is just a thought. The purpose is not actually an element within the Social Lean Canvas, but it is vital to complete first to guide the overarching goals.
Impact - when focusing on the impact, a business is forced to think of the overall beneficiaries and what the overall social and environmental impact of the business will be. What impact do you want to have on your hometown? Why would this be a positive impact socially and environmentally?
EXERCISE: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS
Theory of Change
The Theory of Change (ToC) will become particularly important for your businesses as you grow and set future goals. At its core, ToC describes the overall change an organisation wishes to see, and sets short and medium-term goals to ensure they’re met.
ToCs are often shown in a diagram, allowing you to see the causal links between all the steps. Of course, the world that charities and socially conscious businesses work in is in fact complex, messy and impossible to reflect comprehensively in a diagram. But that is where the theory of change approach has real value: it forces you to take a clear, simple view, crystallizing your work into as few steps as possible to capture the key aspects of what you do.
EXERCISE: THEORY OF CHANGE
Let’s get a high-level ToC begun for you to mould over the coming days within your teams.
Although having a strong hold on your overall business plan and direction, implementing a ToC requires additional thought. In fact, the exercise of implementing a ToC and mapping backwards, can ultimately add unknown elements to your overall business.
Backwards mapping is important as it means that everything that is needed to achieve the goal is contained within the ToC, not just the business’ current activities, opening up new opportunities.
It is important to not that a ToC can be implemented not just on overall business operations, but also program development, new concept ideation and strategic planning for internal use among other applications.
We want you to develop the ability to communicate more effectively with internal and external stakeholders with your ToC as a basis. After all, stakeholder engagement and management is one of the primary business elements which can determine success and opportunities moving forward.
Environmental Impact: Quantifying and Improving
Increasingly, companies are taking the initiative to become more socially and environmentally responsible. As future green leaders, this is vital for your business. As such, understanding the dynamics of environmental and social impact is required to understand the overall impact and impact avoidance of your solution.
There are two distinct elements which can categorise environmental impact. Firstly, working towards a reduction in environmental impact due to operational and economic gains. Often, the movement to more environmentally friendly business practices is not only good for the environment, but also can ensure economic benefit. Whether this is providing cheaper alternatives to provide clean energy, or reducing traditional industrial manufacturing methods with emerging technology, there is economic benefit to reducing the environmental impact.
Secondly, there is the continued push of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in business. There is an increasing push for companies to play a leading role in ensuring that their business practices are socially, ethically and environmentally beneficial. Environmental CSR aims to reduce any damaging effects on the environment from your business' processes.
Green CSR can reduce business risk, improve reputation and provide opportunities for cost savings.
EXERCISE: BUSINESS PROCESS STAGES
COMMONLY USED TERMS
Social Lean Canvas - provides a structure building on the Lean Canvas allowing organisations with social or environmental goals develop coherent and logical business models with the end purpose front of mind.
Theory of Change - a comprehensive description of how and why a particular change should occur. ToC starts with the overall (long-term) goals, before working backwards to determine the necessary steps and actions required to achieve the goal in a defined way.
Quantify - providing a measurable metric to a process to allow analysis and measurement and evaluation for business decisions.
Metric - a business metric is a measure of a certain element, to allow comparison, both internally and externally, over time.
A detailed explanation of the Lean Model Canvas and its implementation.
Developing a nonprofit Theory of Change - how nonprofits can utilise such strategic planning to drive their overall vision.
In-depth analysis of the Theory of Change, particularly as it relates to charities and NFPs.
Impact of Business and Industry on the Environment