Posts tagged models of impact
3 Ways To Create Innovation At Your Organization

Stuck in a rut? Looking for new ways of making revenue or scaling your impact? No matter how long you’ve been in business, it’s important to remain agile, inventive, and resourceful. Here are three recommendations for bringing your team together and helping drive scalable new ideas in order to create a sustainable future. 

  1. Think Big. Get Feedback
    Follow a lean strategy that creates fast cycles of building measuring and learning. Failing fast doesn’t mean failing in a way threatens your business. When thinking of new programs, products, services, or initiatives, it’s beneficial to have a thought partner that can provide you with feedback and coach you through cycles of invention, value proposition design, and ways to test the idea.
  2. Build Innovation Into Your Organization's Culture
    Consider building innovation and long term entrepreneurship training at your organization. For many organizations, the new year spells a great opportunity to invest in establishing a culture of invention and creativity. Research shows that the number one factor when it comes to retaining quality employees, particularly millennials, is facilitating their professional growth. Creating opportunities to drive lasting change through customized trainings is a great way to help staff work better and faster through challenges they encounter whether it be coming up with new programs or approaching problems.
  3. Bring Everyone Together for an Innovation Sprint
    Take a thought break. You can call it strategic planning, facilitated innovation workshop et. We're talking about a real scrum that pushes you and your team to do and think things outside the norm. Taking a half or full day may seem like a lot of time away from the desk, but in reality, by bring people together, you end up leveraging the diverse perspectives within your organization in order to amplify possibilities. The most complex problems, wicked problems as they are commonly referred to, require this type of inclusion. By bringing people together with the help of facilitator, you can get through the communication and knowledge barriers that often get in the way of innovation. 

Final Thought
In the spirit of Good to Great by Jim Collins, we feel that excellence is a choice. Organizations that can be agile, inventive, and resourceful do better. But it doesn't happen automatically. It takes getting the right people together to think big, change behaviors, and drive innovation. verynice has worked with hundreds of organizations to find new ways of making impact while making revenue and we can help you too! Learn about our business model design services by clicking the link below. 

Models of Impact Live! Futures Edition

Models of Impact Live! kicked off with a futures theme a few weeks ago. Thank you to everyone that watched via live stream and participated with us on facebook! We had a great time going over our fun methodology for designing business models through the convergence of revenue, impact, and factors of interest. 

In this debut episode, we came up with three different business inventions based on the outcome of each role of the die! One roll, two rolls, and three rolls for each subsequent invention round. In order to make use of our colorful 12 sided die, we preselected 12 revenue models, impact models, as well as 12 factors of interest. When practicing at home, you can choose your own models from the glossary as well as number of factors as long as you use die with enough sides to give each model a chance at being considered! 

For this episode we chose a futures theme in celebration of the release of our new book, Toward a Preemptive Social Enterprise – a book that explores a history and methodology for building futures oriented business ideas. After every invention workshop, our team puts together a Models of Impact Canvas in order to encapsulate the idea as well as a series of different scenarios, an outline of opportunities, risk, as well as a way to test. Here's what we came up with! 

Idea #1 (1-1-1)
Factor of Interest: Virtual Reality
Impact Model: Fair Trade
Revenue: Freemium

Idea #2 (2-2-2)
Factors of Interest: Virtual Reality, Drones
Impact Model: Fair Trade, 1 for 1
Revenue Model: Coupons, Event Tickets

Idea #3 (3-3-3)
Factors of Interest: Mars, Drones, Robots  
Impact Model: Conscious Sourcing, Percentage Inventory, Social Awareness
Revenue Model: Project flat fee, Sponsorship, E-commerce

After exploring each idea, we go into the details about what opportunities there within each model, what the risks are, and ways to test the idea for rapid validation. Perhaps there is local organization of street performers we can partner with to execute idea #3. The risk may be that self-organized groups often lack the leadership to work with, and thus could pose a problem. One way to test would be to hold a meeting and discuss with the group. Easy! 

Stay tuned for our next Models of Impact Live! where we take your ideas and create business models that help the world in meaningful ways and create revenue for sustainability and growth. 

Are you interested in business model design workshop for your organization or venture? Our team of strategists are eager to help facilitate an engaging workshop for you and your team! Learn more about Models of Impact here or click below to contact us! 

A Conversation about Models of Impact with Matthew Manos

With all of the excitement and optimism surrounding our latest release of the Global Ambassador Program for Models of Impact, our editorial team decided to interview verynice Founder, Matthew Manos about why he decided to create a certification program. 

verynice has helped so many people find their unique model of impact. Why did you decide to open the doors and create an Ambassador program?

There are a lot of design firms. There are a lot of consultancies. The thing that makes verynice unique has always been our give-half business model, but also our groundbreaking resources in the field of business-design. After open-sourcing our give-half business model in 2013, we realized that we had paved the way for an exciting opportunity: helping others create unique models of impact.

The concept of Models of Impact started out simple. We designed a couple of infographics that mapped out the similarities and differences between ~50 different models in the product and service-oriented business landscape. After the maps were leveraged by over 10,000 people in a relatively short period of time, we knew there was demand for something more. This lead us toward developing curriculum around our own unique approach to business design - the Models of Impact toolkit - now leveraged in over 75 countries. This global movement is what inspired us to make the work of these practitioners more official by creating an ambassador program.

Models of Impact's growth over the last two years has been a story of openness to develop the tools as organically as possible, inspired by our users. We're really excited to see what comes of the program, and where it might lead us next.

M: What has been your experience taking this methodology abroad? Does it translate well in other territories?

On a grassroots basis, thanks to the Internet and verynice's comprehensive network, the methodology has really been international since day 01. The first time I personally had that chance to take the method abroad, however, was in February of this year (2016). I was fortunate enough to be invited by the kind folks at Strelka Institute to travel to Moscow to teach a workshop, give a lecture, and help them integrate the methodology into their online and in-class curriculum.

What I quickly learned during that trick was the fact that "play" is such an incredible universal language – across borders, age, and culture. The method was immediately accepted by our participants in Russia, and continues to flourish, even in the months since I've left. This experience was actually a big motivator to finally pursue a more intentional attempt to take the method to a global level. We are currently planning additional international workshops and events – including a trip to Mexico in 2017, so stay tuned for more on that :)

What do you see ahead as the future of business considering trends in CSR and nonprofits alike?

The biggest trend we are seeing in the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility is a willingness that corporations and entrepreneurs have to see impact as something that is integral to their business and their brand, not something that is temporal, or campaign-oriented. This is an exciting trend for social enterprise, and the mass adoption of that practice, as a full integration of impact into a business model is precisely the point of social entrepreneurship. That said, this is also a scary trend for traditional nonprofit organizations, in regards to philanthropy, and it is a disruption that large organizations need to start planning for.

Traditional philanthropy in the business sector looks like a corporation writing a series of checks to several organizations across several causes and regions. Now, with social enterprise calling for a more focused form of giving that is integral to the brand promise of a product or service, we are seeing a wave of new businesses that give to only one cause or organization, period. This is a fundamental shift in the relationship between nonprofits and for profits, but I am optimistic enough to think it will still lead to something great.

The Four Ways AIGA Can Change The World

In a recent statement from the AIGA (the largest professional design organization in the world), it was made clear that the organization has a commitment to social justice. Further, on July 26, 2016, the organization will be holding a virtual town hall meeting to discuss matters of Racial Justice. As I enter my third year on the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles chapter, and as a long-time advocate for social design practices, I feel the need to contribute to the conversation by providing 4 ideas to help the AIGA, our members, and I, walk the walk. 

1. Extend Design for Good Initiatives and Define Pro-Bono Service as a Requirement for Membership.

Pro-bono (which is short for pro bono publico: “for the good of the public”), has roots that are set deeply within the legal industry, traceable to years as early as 1876. “Civil legal aid,” as it is referred to, began when the German Society of New York launched an organization that had the specific goal of protecting recent German immigrants from exploitation in the states. The dedication to leverage legal aid as a means to protect those who could not access protection was soon extended well outside of the German immigrant population and eventually the Legal Aid Society of New York was founded in 1890.

Legal activist, Reginald Heber Smith, in 1919, wrote a text titled “Justice and the Poor” that was crucial in the advancement of thought leadership around the necessity of pro-bono, eventually inspiring the American Bar Association to create the minimum pro-bono obligations that students and practitioners today uphold in their respective practices. Pro-bono soon became prevalent in fields outside of the legal industry, but it has yet to be seen as an obligation - or right of passage in any other industry. What if AIGA required every member to complete a pro-bono project for the cause of their choice? Pro-bono work is especially critical for designers to engage in. Every year, in the United States alone, nonprofit organizations will spend upwards of $8,000,000,000 on people who offer the services AIGA members provide: design and marketing. This is deeply frustrating due to the incredible potential a monetary value like that could have, if allocated toward the cause itself. Just imagine what a spare 8 billion dollars could accomplish... by engaging in pro-bono service, then, designers can help solve some of the world's most persistent problems.

2. Demand Equal Representation Across All Chapter Boards and Event Programming.

Among the many important dialogues that the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked in our society is around the need for a more holistic diversity. In corporate marketing and strategic practices, we see an underwhelming stab at equal representation that is often limited to making decisions around who is in the photograph on the cover of a brochure. This is not enough, because in reality, diversity is not about who is on the banner of a website, but instead it is about designing for relevance by integrating an approach to design that does not assume a one-size-fits-all solution. An attempt to be all things to all people is dangerous.

The good news? Human-Centered Design practices accomplish this by inspiring designers to design with their audience instead of for their audience. Put simply, a board room full of white people simply cannot design a successful event or initiative for black people. In my mind, this is one of the critical messages of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the reason saying "All Lives Matter" is so controversial. Of course all lives matter, that's not the point. The point is that the experience of each life is drastically different than the other. As designers we should know this already. What woks for one person does not work for another person. It's experience design 101. Very often, AIGA's attempts at attracting a more diverse membership stops at ensuring an event has a diverse panel. While this is an important step in the right direction, there is more to be done. So what can AIGA do about this? It's simple: Inspire local chapters to build boards that better represent the world. In doing so, and by inviting diverse communities to design events with us, we can achieve relevance in the content we put out, and can pave the way for a more systemic approach to building a diverse membership.

3. Leverage Student Groups As Catalysts for a New Grassroots Movement in Design-Driven Social Impact.

During any election cycle, we are reminded of the power of grassroots. Students, especially, are on the front-lines of energy and excitement for rallying together mass groups of virtual/physical communities to create impact. A quick search on Google brings to the forefront several critical social movements throughout history that were elevated due to the tireless work of activists on college campuses across the country:

  • University of Michigan Teach-In, advocating against the war in Vietnam
  • The Berkeley Free Speech Movement, fighting for the rights of students across the country
  • Protests for Gay Rights, primarily taking place on campuses (800 organizations by 1973)
  • Emma Sulkowicz, driving national awareness against sexual assault by carrying a mattress

So what is AIGA's on-campus movement? As an organization, we need to recognize that our student chapters are more than just a formality. Instead, these incredible students have the potential for generating significant impact in both design, and the world. Yes, students still need programming around career and portfolio development, but they are also capable of much much more. We must reflect upon the tools and resources we can give our students to empower their inclination toward activism and social impact. How can the AIGA see its student chapters as assets and allies in driving social change? Again, we need to treat our students as peers. We need to take their perspectives seriously.

4. Inspire the Design Industry At-Large to Solve the Right Problems by Becoming More Preemptive.

In my new book (launching August 1st, 2016), Toward a Preemptive Social Enterprise, I write about the necessity for social entrepreneurs to move from a practice that is motivated by reaction to one that is informed by preemption. From the back cover: "Social entrepreneurship is almost always too late. As practitioners of social enterprise, we hold the assumption that our responsibility is to exclusively act post-crisis in order to gradually chip away at a persistent problem, or to maintain a state of peace. The art of reaction is necessary, but the expectation of post-traumatic innovation as the singular starting point for an entire industry is limiting. What if social enterprise was also responsible for preemption? What if social entrepreneurs were also futurists? This is the message of our manifesto."

I would like to extend the message of this anthology to the design industry, and in the context of AIGA, I want to challenge us all to reflect deeply on our practices. Are we limiting ourselves to reaction? Are we solving the right problems? We must realize that our job does not end at the printing of a poster, or the launch of a website. We must, instead, recognize that our responsibility is to design the world we want to inhabit. This takes time, energy, people, devotion, and passion. The good news? AIGA, and its members, have that. AIGA can make that happen. By integrating more content and programming that is centered around systems design, business design, and design futures, we can arm our members with the skills needed to balance traditional design practices with long-term, critical thinking.

Changing the world takes time, and this list of suggestions is in no way exhaustive, but this is a place to start. In writing this post, I challenge the national leadership to consider how, before the end of 2016, we can begin to prototype a new AIGA – one that is even more giving, diverse, grassroots, and preemptive. One that is an example for the industry to continue to take pride in following.

Design Thinking Workshop at Center for Nonprofit Management 6/1/2016

Hey Los Angeles! We're bringing our design methodology for innovation to Center for Nonprofit Management on June 1, 2016! This 8-hour workshop will be led by verynice Design Strategists, Marlon Fuentes and Megan Tremelling, and will walk participants through the practice of design thinking and how it’s applied in a nonprofit business setting. Participants will walk away with concrete recommendations for changing the way their organization approaches problem solving and learn the tools and strategies necessary to go from stakeholder needs to viable business models with our popular Models Of Impact method! 

verynice workshop | Strelka Institute, Moscow, Russia. 

Snapshot of the day!

  • Explore the different managerial mindsets required to think like a designer
  • Practice the tools and skills verynice uses to understand human needs in order to inform the production of new products, services, and ideas.
  • How to interview “need knowers”
  • How to encapsulate real human experiences
  • Mapping to help identify the good and bad experiences of your stakeholders
  • How to identify opportunities for design - Uncover areas worth pursuing
  • Rapid ideation of new products and services - Bring your insights to life!
  • Prototyping - Make it real!
  • Testing methods - Going beyond gut instincts to real feedback
  • Models of Impact - Design your own business model!

Bring Design Thinking to Your Organization

All of this in 8 hours? Sure! We tailor design thinking education to fit your conference theme, corporate retreat, or 1-on-1 experience. To learn more about our work and start the conversation, click below! We'll follow up with next steps for customizing an engagement to fit your needs.  

The Why and How of Customer Development

As strategic advisors using the Models of Impact method for business model design, we work with thousands of entrepreneurs to guide them on how impact and revenue can come together to both make profits and give back. The method introduces game elements into the business model design process and identifies opportunities, risks, and testing methods for validating the viability of the venture. Among those critical testing activities is lean customer development. Why customer development and how do you do it?

What is Customer Development?

First of all, customer development differs from user research, market research, and product development in the sense that this activity is specifically about what your customers really want. Through a hypothesis driven approach we explore:

  • Who the customer really is 
  • What problems and needs they have
  • Which solutions customers will give you money for (even if the product has not yet been built)
  • How to provide solutions in a way that works with how your customers make decisions, procure, buy, and use. 

The First Challenge

Change is difficult for many new and established businesses. For many organizations with years of experience selling to their audience, there may be a great deal of assumptions and intuition about what the customer wants. You may have found success previously but what if market conditions change or you enter a new category altogether? This changes all of that. Lean customer development is about taking a step back and validating all of those assumptions. It means taking a scientific approach to scaling a business and reducing risks in the process. So for many, getting buy-in on these new strategies can be the first hurdle. 

Customer Development is Not Just for Startups

With drastic changes in markets and technology, large firms cannot guarantee that their business model will remain static indefinitely. In fact, if you look at the volatility of the S&P500 over the last 100 years you will notice that the average lifespan of an S&P company has dropped from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today! And according to Richard Foster from the Yale School of Management, 75% of S&P firms will be replaced by new firms by 2027. That means nobody can sit still while the world rushes past it (cough cough... Radio Shack).

Lean Customer Development in 5 Steps

Knowing whether or not your thinking is correct begins by asking human beings how they feel about your product or service. Here are five steps toward achieving your own customer development methodology. 

  1. Form a hypothesis! 
  2. Find potential customers to talk to. 
  3. Ask the right questions. 
  4. Turn their answers into key insights. 
  5. Figure out what to build or continue learning. 

Looking for a partner in building out this strategy? Great! 
Our team of strategic business designers can help you scale your idea. 




Business Design Tip of The Day | Approaching Pay What You Want

Marketing functions under the principle that value is perceived. The seller never decides the value of an offer. We may have a hypothesis about the needs of the customer and design a marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion) to fit their need, but ultimately our buyer decides what they are willing to pay. Now what if we are unsure about how much people are realistically going to spend on our product? By testing new product ideas with a pay what you want model, you can begin to understand where your most profitable price point is as well as gain insights into the effectiveness of your promotion, point of sale, and the product itself. 

Let's Consider the Following Scenario 

Urban Design Inc works to help builders of new public transportation facilities. Their mission is to support this segment with relevant information and recommendations for healthy urban design solutions. However, their need to find additional streams of revenue prompts them to think of new ways to do business and they realize their site has a lot of appeal to audiences who simply want to lower commuting expenses and live a more active life. How can they monetize this audience? 


One way of leveraging web traffic and learning about whether or not people are willing to put a price tag on your product is to explore a pay what you want strategy. In this exercise, Urban Design Inc could continue granting access to their pro bono beneficiaries through a login process while establishing a call to action that prompts the general consumer to valuate the product and pay the price they feel is right. Some will pay nothing, in which case you can still monetize by acquiring an email, or utilizing web tools to require the user to promote the product in order to unlock the content. Some will pay above what you would have asked for. And ultimately, you will find a price equilibrium that can inform future product design and marketing strategies. 

In the graph above, it is clear that selling 650 units at $7 is more profitable than 83 units at $25. One thousand people are not paying at all but are at the very least identifying themselves for further segmentation and targeting.

In the graph above, it is clear that selling 650 units at $7 is more profitable than 83 units at $25. One thousand people are not paying at all but are at the very least identifying themselves for further segmentation and targeting.

Another way to monetize content is to develop e-books, workbooks, and other downloadable resources that would require the user to engage in the purchasing process. Overall, you should be looking at ways of monetizing the byproducts of your work. If you have an expertise at something that there's a market for, teach it! If you have developed tools and resources in the course of your work, sell them! Overall you should aim to create real value for your audience, and approach this strategy with creativity, agility, and a desire to learn about your business. 

Looking for ways to create additional revenue and impact by leveraging your creativity and expertise? Our team of business design specialists can help. 

Click here to learn more and contact our team.

Architecture for Humanity Re-Launched Today as Open Architecture Collaborative

By Matthew Manos | Founder and Managing Director, verynice

Great News in our feed this morning: Architecture for Humanity re-launched today as "Open Architecture Collaborative". For context, Architecture for Humanity initially launched over a decade ago, and was a leading voice in the pro-bono movement. After going bankrupt, some of their previous employees and volunteers decided to re-launch the organization on their own. They reached out to verynice to see how Models of Impact could help them in that re-launch process, so we did a series of seminars for all of their chapter leads, resulting in a new business model for their phoenix of an organization. Now they have 32 chapters all around the world, and they are officially re-launched! Big victory!

Interview | Open Architecture Collaborative's Business Model

What was something new that you learned through the Models of Impact process and report?

It's difficult to think about the breadth of business models without proper framework. Models of Impact gave each chapter that framework to begin asking themselves the core questions that contribute to the creation of a new business.

How did engaging your team with business models in this way serve as a personal development tool for the chapter leads and volunteers?

Most chapter leaders are architects and designers who do not have formal business management training. The Models of Impact exercise gave them a much needed framework for what to think of when establishing a new business and how to prioritize efforts. The initial overview with Matthew also helped set the broad strokes for the various types of business models to choose from or combine. It was a much needed base for which to jump off of and turn into action.

In what ways has this process helped to shape the next step for Architecture for Humanity?

Getting all the active chapters involved in one uniform process helped us collect the necessary data to understand what page everyone was on. Analyzing the data allowed us to realize our alignment and see that we needed to remain a non-profit entity as a network. Each chapter leader now has a few more tools up there sleeves when thinking about how they will articulate their own development as a local business.

Business Model Design with Models of Impact 

Models of Impact is a strategic business-design toolkit. Our mission is to promote legacy and entrepreneurship in the social impact community by developing tools and resources that make it easy (and fun!) to design disruptive business models. Click here to download!


Learn from our toolkit for designers and enhance your client engagements, in-house strategic planning and design initiatives, and service offerings with non-profit and for-profit clientele.


Whether you’re in the early ideation phase, or already have a thriving enterprise, leverage the entrepreneur toolkit in order to gain clarity on your business model and potential for impact.


Many non-profits rely on donations and grants to get by, but this is not a sustainable business plan. Our toolkit introduces you to models that can propel your organization into the future.


Integrate our methods to supplement your coursework in business modeling and entrepreneurship. Our educator toolkit includes a range of curricula for High School and Higher Ed.

For more information regarding business model consultation at verynice
Contact our team:

Travelogue | My journey to Moscow by Matthew Manos

By Matthew Manos, Founder and Managing Director

Moscow, Russia  

As a media-skeptical American who has spent way to much time watching spy movies, I wasn't sure where I landed on the whole concept of flying to Russia by myself to speak, essentially, about how awesome capitalism is. I'm excited to say that my recent trip to Moscow to teach business-design and social entrepreneurship to local students and leaders, was among the most incredible experiences of my life.

Why I do what I do. 

My greatest passions in life fall under two categories: providing access to education and empowering others to create sustainable impact. It's no surprise, then, that my favorite thing that I get to do at verynice is facilitate workshops with communities and clients around the world. Over the course of my career, I have been able to work with thousands of students, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and organizations in order to build their capacity on topics that include branding, product design, and social entrepreneurship. With the launch of Models of Impact, the majority of my focus in the workshops I have lead more recently has been on impact-driven business-design.

I define "impact" quite broadly. Of course my roots are in social impact and social entrepreneurship, but we often experience that people have aspirations that may include environmental and personal impact as well. How can I help people? How can I help the planet? How can I help myself? These are the questions people that come to our Models of Impact workshop hope to find answers to. 

After helping to launch and grow hundreds of businesses and organizations over the past decade, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what made the most successful get that way. What I learned was that the most successful of our clients got that way because they managed to strike a perfect balance between defining their impact and revenue strategy. As a result, our methodology teaches that a business model is the marriage of an impact model (how will I make social/environmental/personal impact?) and a revenue model (how will I make money and sustain myself?). 

Getting to Russia.

Over the course of a given month, I travel to 3-5 countries.... via Skype. This tends to look like me sitting in a dark office in the middle of the night, chatting with people around the world who want to learn more about pro-bono service, or impact-driven business. 

One of my personal goals for 2016 was to do more public speaking and workshop facilitation outside of the United States. The convenient thing is that shortly after making that resolution, I got an email from Maria Polyak of the Strelka Institute for Art and Design in Moscow, Russia. She invited me to come to their school in order to share our Models of Impact methodology with the Moscow community and film an online course for entrepreneurs across Russia. Obviously, it only took me a day to say "yes".

To prepare, I held regular meetings with Maria to gain a more clear understanding of the country's social/economic/political landscape. In addition, we developed scripts and web-friendly workshop activities for the online course, which is set to go live on Vector in April 2016. The school was kind enough to fly me out, and get my visa in order. However, because I embarrassingly haven't left the country since I was 11 years old, I had to scramble a bit to get an updated passport. That said, everything went as smooth as possible.

Day 01. 

The first day I was a bit jetlag, but I had a public lecture with 200 registrants just hours after landing in Moscow, so I had to pretend like sleep was not a necessity in life (it wouldn't be the first time I did that). The talk was about our Models of Impact research as well as my book and business model, "How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free". Nothing new there, as I talk about those things at least 3 times per week, but what was thrilling was the fact that the majority of the audience did not speak English. As a result, I worked with a live translator to deliver my talk and to answer questions. This was the first time I had ever delivered a speech with a translator - super interesting. After the talk we hashed out a plan for the big day, tomorrow, where we were to film our online course.

Day 02. 

The entire second day was dedicated toward filming our online course for the Vector platform. This was an incredible journey which took months to plan in terms of content, and then was filmed over the course of about 6 hours on campus and around the city center of Moscow.

At verynice, we've taught hundreds of workshops, but one of the privileges of a workshop is that we are actually there, in-person, to provide clarity in moments of confusion. When you are teaching an online course, however, this privilege does not exist. As a result, we took the content very seriously and would play out every single scenario in which a student might be confused by our content in order to film answers to any perceivable question. Because the course was to be presented in Russian, we also had to make sure my statements would translate clearly. This resulted in a series of re-shoots to get it just right.

Aside from the intensive sessions where we filmed the meat of the course, we also developed a trailer to help promote the course. The trailer included footage of me hanging out at a local bar...., but also included several scenes where I was skateboarding (yes) around the snowy (yes) streets of the city center of Moscow (yes). Those are three things I never thought I would do, all in one scene. 

Apparently the filming went much smoother than anticipated. This means we ended the day about 3 hours ahead of schedule. To take advantage of this free time, I went on a 5km walk around the city center. We explored the Kremlin and the Red Square, and took the long way to avoid the wind. The beauty of taking the long way is you see things you might not have expected. For example, because of the cold weather (extra cold for a fragile Angeleno) their are tons of underground walkways to stay warm. It reminded me of a NYC Subway, but it was packed with small businesses where entrepreneurs were selling their goods and services to the community. We also were very close to the Cathedral where Pussy Riot was taken into custody. Awesome. 

After the stroll around Moscow, we head back to Strelka just in time for me to do a one-on-one session with their students. I was thoroughly impressed by the projects, and am excited to see how they further develop!

Day 03.

After hitting the hotel buffet once again for smoked salmon, canned peaches, and scrambled eggs, I head to Strelka to host an all-day Models of Impact workshop with local entrepreneurs and students. With over 1,000 people interested in signing up for the workshop BUT only 24 available seats, there was a lot of buzz, and expectations were high. The audience consisted of a balance of individuals who were already in the midst of launching their own business as well as individuals who have not quite come to an idea for their venture yet. As a result, we designed the workshop experience to best fit the needs of both participant profiles.

Workshop Part 01: During the first half of the workshop, students worked in 8 groups of 3-4 strangers in order to start a new business concept from scratch. They did this by leveraging our Models of Impact methodology. Through our process, students were tasked with the challenge of inventing business concepts from scratch that could benefit their community, or fulfill a personal passion.

Participants went through this process three times, and as a result, generated three separate business concepts. Over lunch the small groups collaborated to select their favorite concept, and upon returning from lunch, they delivered a pitch to the group as a whole.

Workshop Part 02: During the second half of the workshop, participants learned how to write a business plan using the models of impact framework. With the time remaining, each participant was given the option to leverage this framework for their existing concept OR to continue working with their small group in order to further develop their plan and concepts. The day ended with a series of amazing pitches. 

Social Enterprise and Pro-Bono as a Movement

Meeting with local entrepreneurs from Moscow and St. Petersburg, I learned that the startup movement is growing strongly. With the current economic crisis in Russia, many individuals are seeing an equal risk in starting a business of their own vs. applying for a full-time job. As a result, a wave of entrepreneurs are hitting the scene. In particular, there is a strong emphasis on the idea of Urban Futures and Urban Entrepreneurship among the local social enterprise scene. In addition, our approaches to pro-bono were well received. While there are many new entrepreneurs hitting the market, many of them do not have the necessary funds to launch their business. Pro-bono, as a result, is an attractive system to inject in the local entrepreneur community as a means of developing an ecosystem around helping one another. 

Personally, the experience was incredibly validating for me. The need for tools and resources that can lower the barrier-to-entry in social enterprise is urgent. I'm proud that Models of Impact can be a leader in this space. Where to next?

For more information on Models of Impact training and consulting, contact:

Vélosophy | The Swedish bicycle company that gives a bike for every sold.

By Marlon Fuentes | Design Strategist, verynice 

Designing ways to make a great product while paying it forward is core to our work here at verynice. We see it as a way to give both organizations and customers a way to participate in making the world a better place. One of the latest companies to announce a one-for-one model is Swedish bicycle company, Vélosophy. In partnership with UNICEF, the bike manufacturer will embark on a three year project to empower young women by donating a bike to a girl in Ghana for every sold. But why bikes?

According to UNICEF, many girls in Ghana are unable to get to school or are forced to leave early due to the long distances and safety concerns of having to return late. A bicycle suddenly becomes a lot more than just a means of transportation, it's health, knowledge, and empowerment. And for those interested in quantifiable impact, the organization calculates that attendance can jump up to 60% when girls have a bike of their own. 

Thanks to the cooperation with UNICEF Vélosophy can extend support to vulnerable girls in Ghana and the struggle to get them to start, and complete, his schooling. – Per Westberg, UNICEF Sweden


In addition to the bike donations, Vélosophy will work with UNICEF to promote entrepreneurship and innovation through the "Bamboo Bikes" initiative that aims to create job opportunities as well as sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes for the creation of our beloved two wheelers. 

A very handsome bike!

The bike itself features a clean minimalist brushed aluminum body and comes in two variations, one for comfort, and one for sport.  Each comes equipped with alloy fenders, anti-rust chain and a smooth-shifting 3-speed integrated hub from Sram. The variety of color options is also a great draw, allowing each rider to travel in style while feeling good about the impact their purchase made. Giving back, looking good, and staying fit. Sounds good, doesn't it? And according to a recent study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of people with a driver’s license decreased between 2011 and 2014, across all age groups giving way to alternative forms of transportation and the emergence of integrated mobility hubs.

How do I start or develop my own One for One Business Model?

Even if you haven't shipped your first product, designing a business model that gives back can not only help you wake up feeling great about your work but also make a positive impact on your bottom line. verynice has developed a fun way to help organizations small and large, do this through business model design. Models of Impact is a strategic business-design toolkit. Our mission is to promote legacy and entrepreneurship in the social impact community by developing tools and resources that make it easy (and fun!) to design disruptive business models.   Click here to download!