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The Business Model Innovation Factory: How to Stay Relevant When The World is Changing by Saul Kaplan

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Chapter 10

Nonprofits Have Business Models Too

During my six years as an accidental bureaucrat, after spending 25 years in the private sector, my friends often wondered how I could do it. They routinely asked versions of the question, “Doesn't government move too slowly for you?” My standard reply was that, yes, the public sector moves slowly—but then, big companies don't move so quickly either. And come to think of it, I teased my friends in higher education, I'm sure that colleges and universities move more slowly than either business or government! The point is, all institutions move slowly.

What surprised me wasn't how slowly the different institutions moved, but the different language, behavior, secret handshakes, and views of each other I found across sectors. Xenophobia runs rampant within public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit silos. Each silo has created its own world completely foreign to inhabitants from other sectors. Visiting emissaries are always viewed with skepticism. We have all heard and maybe even uttered the following sentiments: “I'm from the government and I'm here to help to you”; “I'm from the social sector because someone has to save the world from itself”; “I'm from the private sector because someone has to be accountable for real results.” It's enough to drive anyone trying to work across the sectors to solve complex social challenges crazy.

Each sector thinks they are the only one that really matters. Each sector views all the others with extreme ...

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