Saturday, April 16, 2011

Light Weight Business Models

As promised in last week's post, here are my slides from the Enterprise Solutions session at the Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale this afternoon. My hope is that it will help my bleeps design business models that are focused on "ounces of prevention" rather than "pounds of cure." I tried to share some of my thinking on how ideas from "lean start up" folks can be applied to social ventures working on global health challenges.

At the end of my presentation, I offered a free consult to anyone in the audience that was willing to publicly commit, then and there, to design/redesign a business model for a global health venture. I look forward to finding out more about the 16 people who took this first step to jumping in!

I also learned a lot from my co-presenters, and wish that we had more time for discussion following the session. Check out Ted London's new book, "Next Generation Business Strategies for the BOP" as well as the HBR article he referenced. Very helpful resources for thinking about what you want to do, and how you might go about it. It is much easier to travel light if you have friends along the way and rely on local resources, as Ted recommends.

If you enjoyed Michael Fairbanks of SEVEN Fund, I'd encourage you to check out his new blog, the Daedalus Experiment, where you can find out why some social entrepreneurs are like "self licking ice cream cones." Be careful... too much of that type of ice cream will put on the pounds, and you want to design a lean and light weight venture which can fuel itself off ounces of prevention.


Tamedu said...

Great talk, and great insights, I will be following up on the 'free consultation'. You can check out

Daniel said...

I would like to question a bit the notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you consider something like mefloquine/lariam, which tends to produce some disturbing side effects and is less than 100% effective against malaria strains, compared to anti-malarial drugs that are cheap, easy and highly effective, I would argue that in some cases, an ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention.

Of course, there are more effective tools for prevention like treated mosquito nets.

Anyway, I'm not entirely sure how this point relates to business models, but I'm pretty sure that there are instances there as well where people spend too much time planning for issues that will be much easier and cheaper to resolve on the fly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Paul...I have often found myself confused about the missions of certain disease treatment organizations (of all stripes). It seems to me that they rarely ask the questions about why their diseases exist in the first place and seek to prevent them from occurring. We still need the shift in thinking from "fix" to "avoid". With Earth Day tomorrow, saying "no thanks" to the "green" give-a-ways that will no doubt be readily available might be a small step in prevention.