Decks for Parks
Introducing social enterprise to the skateboarding industry.
In 2010 we had an idea for a new social enterprise – a skateboard company that would design and manufacture skate decks with the intention of donating half of the proceeds of each skateboard to non-profit organizations that build skateparks. Not many people know this, but our founder started skateboarding at age 4, and formerly skated competitively (at age 15 he was ranked 5th in Northern California). This personal connection to the sport opened eyes to the necessity of skateparks, especially amongst teenage skaters. Skateparks, when introduced to a community, dramatically reduce the risk of drug use, gang participation, violence, and vandalism. A skatepark is a community – a safe place where skaters of all ages can come together to express themselves through the art of skateboarding.
The design of the product itself is inspired by DIY culture, and the idea of building, or accumulating ideas. To represent these concepts, we chose to design a simple pattern that served as the background for a pile of faux-stickers that complete the design of the deck.
Managing director, verynice
Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds, many low-income communities in the United States and abroad can not afford the hefty cost of building and maintaining a skatepark. Luckily, there are a handful of wonderful organizations (such as the Tony Hawk Foundation and Skatistan) that not only promote the importance of skateboarding, but also help build parks. So what if a skateboard, at the point of purchase, could actually fund a park? This is where the idea of “Decks for Parks,” a social skateboard enterprise came about. The problem, of course, is time. With verynice being a very full-time job, we know that the idea of launching a new company would be impractical, and would not receive the attention it would require to get off the ground and have as much impact as possible. But instead of giving up, and abandoning the dream, we re-framed the idea as a model that is replicable and scalable – something we call a “Dynamic Social Business Model,” or DSBM.
A DSBM is a model of business we created that is designed to be implemented within existing for-profit companies. The model is not designed for a specific company. Instead, the model is designed for an industry – making it replicable and scalable across multiple corporations in order to yield the largest impact for the cause at hand. The fundamental idea behind a DSBM is that it is not exclusive to one entity, but instead licensed and shared across many platforms.
After creating our initial prototype of the deck’s design, and authoring a DSBM for the skateboarding industry, it was time to find our first partner to pilot our endeavor. Lucky for us, we found the perfect company to help make our dream come true: RWS Skateboards. RWS is a small skate company based in the Silicon Valley (California, United States) that specializes in manufacturing and selling decks that have a high attention to quality and detail.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a cultural phenomenon that poses a challenge to for-profit companies: what can you do to give back to your community? CSR tactics are being adopted by companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small shops, and we see the concept of a “Dynamic Social Business Model” as a strategic contribution to this evolving field. Oh, and we think the deck looks pretty awesome, too.
Our goal is to see this dynamic model make it’s way into the strategy of different skate companies around the world. We see the success of our first release as a confident insight into the power of social innovation. If you are a skateboard company that would like to adopt our model, and join us in this endeavor, please get in touch.