For most nonprofits growth and, in fact, survival is equated to an unceasing struggle for more resources —revenue, staff, members or customers. The mantra is “more”—more programs, members or revenue will solve their problems. Yet, in today’s economy it is leverage rather than quantity, innovation rather than production that yields solutions. Take the case of Facebook cited in a Fast Company article.
Staff, team and culture development boot camp
Developing staff and cultures is not a matter of imparting information or instituting special “activities.” They are the outcomes of cultures of on-going learning and experimentation, and applying lessons learned to achieve constantly new improvements and innovations.
Most of us “play it by ear” when it comes to the execution of a new concept. Our focus is on acquiring ideas or information—planning, reading, discussing, hearing or analyzing them. When it comes to execution, we rely on the same old tools we always used and settle for ad hoc activities and initiatives. Yet one cannot achieve systems-wide change by “understanding” the concept or generating detailed plans. What these require are fundamental changes in the way organizations think and behave.
It is the execution of change rather than the ideas, themselves, where the rubber meets the road. Paradoxically, however, there are no tools or systems approaches for “executing” innovation.
In the course of 12 years, SEPA’s CEO, Julia Hamm, would transform her association from one with a niche focus on solar power to a leader in the energy industry —building key coalitions among multiple stakeholders and playing an important role in efforts to bring energy delivery to the 21st century and provide efficient, affordable options to consumers.
Startling as the recent presidential election results were, they would not surprise Design Thinking followers. In many ways, they validate the reasons Design Thinking came into existence–the limitations of data-driven logic– and illustrate its principles and alternative methodologies.
Do you measure customer value through short term revenue generation and direct sales or through the long-term relationship you build and the possibilities that will be uncovered over time? Chances are you can’t have it both ways. Decoupling sales from engagement will contribute to your organization’s growth.
In today’s fast, hyper-connected world the focus has shifted from making the sale or acquiring customers/members to retaining them through engagement. “Post transaction” engagement is at the center of growth and business strategy. It involves two-way relationships, multi-channel communications and continuous connection. Apply elements from four strategies to improve your engagement efforts.
Why is the membership model considered by many as outdated when it is, increasingly, adopted by business successfully and replacing other models. Perhaps associations can draw inspiration and ideas from other sectors that deploy the membership model in new ways and have reinvented it for different, strategic results.
Instead of conventional, vertical paths for growth–e.g. increases in membership numbers, products or markets–focus on innovation, especially innovation on the customer experience. This is the fulcrum of opportunity and value today.