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January 17, 2011


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ed bernacki

I think you are making some pretty big assertions about innovation in the not for profit sector. I spent five years working for a large not for profit association. I learned, for example, that 'not for profit' does not mean 'break even'. Our profits went into 'retained' earnings which then funded our next new venture. We held weekly 'idea' meetings to solve problems and create new opportunities, set targets to launch new 'revenue' sources each year, developed new ways of making our services more productive and innovative, and so on. After five years, I joined a national consulting firm thinking I would learn how real businesses work. I was shocked by the lack of focus on new ideas. They did not harness the passion and ideas of staff and clients, nor did they intentionally grow the business. I think the corporate sector could learn alot from the not for profits, particularly innovations in the service sectors.


Thanks, Ed. I appreciate the insight. I think we are saying the same thing - organizations that have less resources and run a lean operation tend to be more innovative naturally because they have to. That said, I have worked with a number of non-profits that still need structured methods to boost their innovation performance. And, as you point out, I have worked with commercial firms that need the same thing.

Event 360

How does the Drucker quote go? ..."the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs." I completely agree that is applicable (and probably more important) for nonprofits, where resources are extremely limited. Good post. http://bit.ly/fdwjhm

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