Tips and tricks

Rethinking Business Models for a Sustainable Future
Jan 14

Value is at the heart of the business model for every venture. How value is created, delivered and captured defines the growth and long term success of a business. So what it is that we should better understand about value and how could we develop a deeper understanding of value to create new economic, social and environmental benefits in this time of transformation.

  • Place sustainability at the hear of value– A healthy economy can not exist without being embedded into a healthy society and a healthy society can not exist without embedded into a healthy eco-system. To place sustainability at the heart of value, businesses need to understand and unlock the direct and indirect benefits from all their stakeholders. This includes not only customers, partners, shareholders but also considering society and the environment as a stakeholder.
  • Commit to social motivation – To commit to a socially driven purpose as part of the vision of a business could contribute not only to achieve long term financial sustainability but to solve large scale societal problems emerging from this current economic transformation.
  • Align with social impact – To achieve long term sustainability and transparency, value, mission and governance of the business needs to be aligned.
  • Embrace partnership logic – The complexity of problems such as poverty, obesity, climate change is all characterized by their unique, interconnected, complex nature. In order to solve these type of problems businesses require to adopt a systemic view and embrace a long –term view on building partnerships.
  • Encompass all three sectors – To build bridges between the public, private and third sector as a long term strategy for sustainability lead to knowledge exchange between places that have surplus or under-used knowledge and places where knowledge is most needed.
  • Practice the power of co-creation – Entrepreneurship is no longer a solo act, therefore entrepreneurs need to think beyond the boundaries of their businesses, identify strength and weaknesses and build their own eco-system for sustainability.
  • Run micro-experiments – To build small projects with different users and customers and to practice experimentation for capturing value would foster resilience and enable small projects to take root and fulfil their potential to achieve positive change and build sustainability.
  • Build agility – It is important to validate markets outside the core market segments and to build continuous feedback loops from customers outside your focal market as part of the customer validation process.
  • Transform the quality of conversation – We have two ears and one mouth therefore we should use it in that proportion. Businesses should spend more time listening to what the clients are saying and learn from it.
  • De-couple your idea from your ego – Businesses should build communities of purpose and harness the power of local communities.

The article is written by Orsolya Ihasz. She is a researcher, educator and advocate for social change and holds a position as Enterprise Technology Lead for Cranfield University, UK. The article is empowered by KTU, knowledge-empowered entrepreneurship network (KEEN).