Deeper Insight: Innovating with Enterprise
The Imperative for Innovating with Enterprise: Innovating with Enterprise is crucial to the survival and success of nonprofits because our current method of delivering and financing our work is unsustainable. Organizations of all sizes and types must turn to innovation to identify lasting and meaningful results.
Innovative organizations engage in generative thinking and discussions, and they impose hypothetical constraints on their current reality to help them identify new solutions to existing challenges, emerging opportunities, and potential risks.
High-impact organizations innovate with enterprise by encouraging staff in all positions at all levels to challenge the status quo. They recruit and hire diverse individuals with different backgrounds who challenge one another and conventional wisdom in order to foster new ideas and connections and actively thwart conformity and groupthink.
Innovative workplace cultures often bring together individuals whom are comfortable with ambiguity because they recognize that working through difficult, uncertain situations often inspires creativity. Staff understand their own and their organizations’ risk tolerance and purposefully experiment.
Organizations financially support risk taking, sometimes through innovation funds, skunkworks, or other means. In turn, organizations think creatively and may develop social enterprises that maximize their missions and assets to generate earned revenue.
Everyone at high-impact organizations is continually thinking about how to be better—more responsive more efficient, and more effective. They take calculated risks and are beta testing new practices and approaches all the time. Because they view failure as a pathway to success, they never punish it; instead they reward failure and success, only discouraging inaction. High-impact organizations operationalize a continuous process of trying, testing, analyzing, learning, and improving.
To fulfill its Vision 2020 strategic plan, The Children’s Home of Cincinnati sought to build a deliberate process for innovation and to fuse that process into its day-to-day operations. Its program and product development system allows The Children’s Home to initiate new and expanded services for the organization and to take multiple ideas through planning and development stages. The process includes five steps that include idea generation, strengthening ideas, assessing viability through quick math and resolution of death threats, developing the business plan, and executing the plan.
Key Alliance Resource for Innovating with Enterprise
Disruptive Forces: Driving a Human Services Revolution published in 2011 by the Alliance, identifies six major changes that were expected to fundamentally change and transform the nonprofit human service sector over the following three to five years. The Alliance launched the Disruptive Forces in Action project in 20013 to follow up on the report and showcase the innovative ways Alliance members and other leaders in the sector are innovating around the disruptive forces to seize new opportunities.
Resource Collection for Innovating with Enterprise
Staff of Alliance member organizations may request the electronic collection of resources on Innovating with Enterprise curated by Severson Center librarians.