Using genetic engineering, scientists can take qualities of a weed for hardiness and transfer those strengths into a food crop. In the same way, you can genetically engineer your business model by adding on all of the attractive qualities of complementary business models. If you combine enough business models, you’ll have an amazing advantage that will deliver myriads of benefits to large numbers of people.
Most people try to improve what they do by working on one element at a time. When it comes to creating more benefits for stakeholders, a better approach is to combine many complementary improvements by building on what other highly successful organizations have done in other fields. Let’s consider three cases:
1. Some Hawaiian resorts keep fish pools that attract tourists, provide a place to entertain diners, allow children to learn to fish, and are kept stocked by feeding fish with stale bread sent back from diners’ tables.
2. Earthwatch helps scientists perform experiments by asking volunteers to give of their time and money. When a scientist makes the tasks interesting and puts them in an attractive location, volunteers stand in line to help.
3. The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has helped eliminate poverty by providing low-cost, small-value loans and teaching its savers and borrowers how to live more fruitful lives and to start businesses.
With all of these ways to cast bread upon the waters and build a better tomorrow for all, you can see that there exist many opportunities to create hybrid business models from these successes. Consequently, these new business models will ensure even richer and higher quality harvests by expanding the community of those who can imagine better ways to create them.
As an example of what’s possible, the Hawaiian-style combination of tourism and scientific research with dolphins described above could be combined and transported to rural parts of underdeveloped and developing countries.
This business model might require a partnership among community leaders, scientists, Earthwatch, lenders willing to help start Grameen-style banks to establish infrastructure, and the local tourism providers.
While in the rural communities, tourists could work on interesting scientific experiments, share their practical knowledge with local people through translators and educators in the community, consider investing in local versions of Grameen banks and projects, and gain useful knowledge to use in creating new markets for local products and services after they leave.
Although this kind of experience would not be appealing to every tourist, many would find that it combined all of the appeal of a safe Peace Corps assignment, an Earthwatch experiment, and a vacation without the need for excessive time and economic commitments. Each involved person could become richer in both human and economic terms, as a result of the process. For those who wanted to, there could still be an opportunity for plenty of recreation time by extending the vacation’s length after the intense involvement was over.
What can stakeholders gain from other successful business models that are complementary to your own?
Copyright 2009 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved