Design for the next step (scaling up?)

I have helped a lot of people start up their Social Enterprise or NGO, around the world since 2012. These where exiting times for those people, but what is their next step?

I am happy to visit my friends at the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development again here in Peru. With their community led development approach high up in the Andes, they not only have reached out to over 30 local communities and helped build school and family greenhouses, but they also reached out to students, professionals in the United States and other countries to offer on site experiential learning and research workshops in Calca and the local communities in the Andes.

A lot of these organisations have exciting times starting up their businesses in the first years!  But what is next after the initial succes they have?

The start up scene in general is booming and most of them don’t get the millions of investments some of them get. And if you don’t get them or want them, how do you make sure to secure the future of your organisation? How do you design these next steps to scaling up without losing your core vision out of sight?

The same question I kind of got from Irene Hofmeijer Merkelij from Life out of Plastic in Lima. They have a huge succes with their beach clean ups and sustainability campaigns but how do they avoid getting stuck in a sales target situation with recycled bags?

My guess their are two answers two that; Just as Toms‘ founder Blake Mycoskie says in his article in the Harverd Bussines Review go back or stay close to the Why! Why did you start your NGO or Social Enterprise?

And the other thing is that you constantly need to keep on designing and prototyping your next steps. 5 years ago when this new breed of NGO’s and Social Enterprise started, al lot of what they that was new and innovative but now they are not new anymore and they have competition of people doing similar things.

Co-design starting from your “why” and prototype constantly with the “why” in the back of your mind & be open to surprisingly new opportunities!

Author: Jeroen Spoelstra
Featured image: Jeroen Spoelstra

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