New Business Model Offers Compelling Proof of Innovation

Photo by    Shannon Rowies

Dreamers, visionaries, and out-of-the-box thinkers.

These words aren’t just for the large companies who promise to innovate new products and services.  These words often lie at the core of entrepreneurs and describe many small businesses

And they are often seen within Benefit Companies and Benefit Corporations, who each commit to the triple bottom line of People, Planet, Profit. As a certifier for Benefit Corporations for Good,  we understand and applaud these innovators.  

After all, everyone has the potential to dream and create. As children, we often used our imagination to create all sorts of make-believe games, even fantasy friends and worlds. And then somewhere along the line many of us stopped dreaming – losing that sense of wonder, excitement and enthusiasm for ‘doing things differently.’ 

But not the Benefit Corporations we have encountered!

The strength of their entrepreneurship is evident in all our communities.  Some fueled by Millennials, the most cause-driven generation ever, Boomers who aren’t retiring, and new immigrants and refugees who bring creativity and a new way of looking at things.

And,  some would say it is these small businesses, these start-ups who are the ones who really change the world.

Here are few stats to consider:

1.       The United States provides the best environment for cultivating entrepreneurship, ranking 1st out of 138   Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index. (Source: GEDI 2017)

2.       6.02 percent of the US adult population owns their own business as  their main job. (Source: Kauffman Foundation 2016)

3.       39.2% of business owners have a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Source:

4.       83.1% of entrepreneurs founded their own business, 11.3% purchased, 2.8% inherited, and 4.4% was a transfer of ownership or gift. (Source: United States Census Bureau 2016)

Let’s remember that Albert Einstein is recognized as a beacon of innovation.  Yet, according to an article in Inc. Magazine, “Innovation is the Key to Entrepreneurship”,   he did not spend all his days working but much of his time was spent in thought. It is said he shared, “If I had 20 days to solve a problem, I would spend 19 days to define it.”

We see this in the small businesses we meet with as we advocate for the triple bottom line. They share  that each day presents an opportunity to dream, to think fresh about themselves and  the products and services they offer to others.

Some key lessons they offer:

  • Change is exiting and not something to fear. Be bold, willing to change the business model.

  • Innovation is dynamic and a never-ending process. An idea gets developed, then comes the solution, and finally actualization, which may be disruptive or even transformational.  It’s can be a long journey after that ‘Eureka!’ moment.

  • Being an innovator is a path full of bumps.  It’s about problem-solving every step of the way and pivoting for sustainability.

  • Broadening one’s horizon is critical. Look outside your own industry or profession. Learn from other disciplines. Step out of your comfort zone.

And, truth be told, the innovators we encounter aren’t always just blazing examples of creative people.  Anne Fisher, a contributor to Fortune magazine states, “Great business innovators are made, not born. “

According to Todd Henry, creativity guru, and author of The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moments Notice, there is a single step everyone can do to be more creative:

Give yourself permission to set aside one hour a week to generate new ideas, predictably scheduled, no exceptions…this is not time to do work. This is time to think about work. Although there is a myth that creativity in the workplace is a mystical and elusive force, anyone can boost their capacity for regular flashes of creative insight.

So,  thank you to all those Benefit companies that each day find innovative ways to be more sustainable,  create more common good , all while making profit.

Let’s not bury those ideas. Keep them flowing and share with others. Who knows what is possible? Your dreams and ideas may be the path to a better world.