I was surfing the channels last night and happened upon an interesting program on CNBC, entitled Executive Vision: Leadership in Action. This segment was on "philanthrocapitalism", which is a term for a new approach to solving social problems based on innovative partnerships between business, nonprofits and government. I have not yet read the book of the same name by Michael Green and Matthew Bishop, but plan to.
Entries in hybrid organizations (5)
August is back to school month and one of the busiest for our household. This year has been particularly taxing. We weighed our educational options for each of our five children and have made four separate choices: Private college, private high school, charter school and home school. In times past, there were much fewer choices we could have made. The options were extremely limited.
A few short years ago, I provided an innovative alternative to public and private school. I combined homeschooling with private schooling and taught multi-aged children in my home. Now, with the creation of charter schools, there are multiple creative approaches to meet educational needs.
For two of our daughters, we chose Texas Connections Academy @ Houston which is a new virtual charter school run through the Houston Independent School District and the Baltimore for-profit company Connections Academy. It is a true hybrid where a for-profit company collaborates with a school district to provide a public school in the home. Wow! I never conceived that such a marriage could ever be made. One third of the 1000 new students for the 2009 - 2010 school year come from families who previously homeschooled. We are one of those families. This is huge step for our family. None of our children have ever entered public school. The value proposition was compelling enough for us to give it a try. Click here for an interesting article on Texas Connections Academy @ Houston.
This gives me hope for the health insurance overhaul that is underway. If we can lay down the politics and personal agendas, I know that good health care options will produce good health care choices for the American people.
I am always looking out for hybrid business models where the for profit and nonprofit are interdependent or where the for profit facilitates the sustainability of the nonprofit. I think I just found another such business. I just heard the news report on CNN about a home-based daycare provider who also had an illegal business of selling moonshine. You can read about it here. If proven true, this could be considered a good hybrid business model where the sell of moonshine might help sustain a quality daycare. However, it is somewhat paradoxical. Note to self - Hybrid business models should not be built on hybrid values.
A few weeks ago I had lunch with a CEO of a for profit company and I was attempting to explain to him that I want to help nonprofits become more innovative and discover other ways for earned income. His response to me was a cynical, "I don't think that will ever happen". Feeling rather shut down at that moment, I never explained to him why I want to develop that side of my business.
I must admit, I too have a certain amount of unhealthy cynicism I need to rid myself of. After working in the corporate environment for many years, by and large the cultures,in my opinion, have always had a tinge of greed in them. Don't get me wrong, I know we all need money to live. I just don't want that to be my sole reason for getting up in the morning. I am motivated by helping others.
Years ago, I left the corporate world to start a traditional private school with our local church. I don't have the time or space to recount the dramatic events that followed. Since that time, I have been searching for the almost perfect hybrid organization. And I think I have found it in TOMS Shoes.
I come from the for profit world, and was recently reminded by someone in the nonprofit arena that, in general, nonprofit agencies do not consider themselves businesses. It is not our intention to change nonprofits into for profit businesses. I believe there is much to be learned by incorporating the best of both sectors into one hybrid model.