Of the 13 publicly traded technology companies worth more than $100 billion, six are headquartered in Silicon Valley. Yet as models for nonprofits seeking to scale up quickly, the lessons we can glean from them aren’t so much about geography, local cultures, or even stunning technology. Rather, they are about blazing-speed business model innovation—a process my co-instructors and I call “technology-enabled blitzscaling” in the class we teach at Stanford.
Nonprofits often need a radical new business model or an innovative new approach to scaling their existing one. They also need to be prepared to manage quick growth, and be willing to accept the risk and a lack of efficiency that come with it.
You could argue that nonprofits are fundamentally different from for-profits when it comes to scaling—that they don’t face the same competitive pressures and potential for massive investment (and returns). They do, however, sometimes face the need and have the opportunity to scale up rapidly.
Even as organizations grow and change, they need to constantly think about the institution as a whole, and consider: How will we allocate and grow talent? How will we communicate? How will our competitive landscape shift? How will we hold on to our culture?
All this may sound daunting, and it is. Blitzscaling isn’t for every business, and it’s certainly not for every nonprofit. But by studying its principles, nonprofit organizations seeking to scale quickly may find answers they might not have otherwise imagined.
No matter how the answers to these questions change, finding innovative ways to scale greater social impact—blitzscaling for good—will always be relevant.
Read the full article about nonprofit scaling by Chris Yeh at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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