Disruptive Innovation: Nonprofits Ready to Fail?

The newswire that I thought was most fascinating in today’s NPQ lineup was the one about the Center for Public Integrity, written by Rick Cohen.

The story is notable for its business model drama, which is always at a constant roar in publishing these days—but then sometimes we in the field amplify the roar into a shriek as we try new things. And we all experiment with nearly everything: the pace and style of our content; our delivery systems; our graphics; our partners, community building, and funding strategies. It is a full-on melee.

And the situation is that many publications must take risks and fail from time to time to keep up and find the right approaches to serve their markets. BUT if you are a nonprofit, this is hardly what investors want to hear. So you try to take controlled risks, but when things don’t move quickly enough, sometimes you just go for broke.

This is the reality of entrepreneurship—especially in a field that is in such tumult. But we know that many organizations of all types are reworking their “business” models. Some have lost staff and eroded cash reserves, and that is not a great position from which to experiment. But experiment we must, and do.

NPQ would love to hear about any risks you have taken or major adjustments to your program/business model you have made in the past year. Have you tried something new that failed or succeeded and that feels like it gives you a window into the future?

We’d love to hear from you (email: [email protected])! Let me know if you might be willing to write a piece about risk/innovation/failure and the future. But no puff pieces, please (you know that—“ain’t we grand” stuff!).
 
Help us learn along with you.