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Streams of Research & Practice - Vision & Mission

As we have had many new members join our group, I was reminded by my colleague Antony Upward that we should summarize again for their benefit the main research streams of SSBMG (the original introduction to the group and its research streams was posted here back in April 2012)

Vision & Mission

Our objective is to assist and accelerate the shift of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at any stage of development (from start-up to long lived) to a strongly sustainable mode of operations;  we believe one key approach to achieving this via the design and successful implementation Strongly Sustainable Business Models and hence actively sustain "the possibility that human and other life can flourish on this planet for seven generations and beyond" (our member John Ehrenfeld, 2000).  [See here for alternative words this group understands as meaning the same as flourishing].

We refer to organizations that are striving to achieve this level of performance as "Flourishing Enterprises".  Flourishing enterprises do good to do well.  They excel because humans are flourishing and nature is thriving (Our member David Cooperrider).  And, they will have unprecedented levels of innovation, accountability and transparency across entire inter-dependent social, environmental and economic value systems. 

We label as "Future-Fit" enterprises that are reliably enabling the possibility for flourishing for all their stakeholders, society and the environment at large, and themselves.  Future-Fitness can be measured using the Future-Fit Business Benchmark, one of the many initiatives of the members of this group (see list on the right of this wiki).  It is based on the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development

Relationship To Our 'Superior' Discipline

We can think of the members of this group as (one of?) the world's first communities of micro-ecological economists!  i.e. ecological economists focused on the micro scale of business / organization - macro-meso-micro-nano  (whole planet/society/government/policy - industry associations/locations - individual human organizations - individual human)

Relationship to Our Epistemological Community

And we can think of the members of the SSBMGroup as (one of) the worlds first communities of organizational / enterprise / business systemic-designers! We apply the epistemology, and associated research approaches, frameworks, methods, tools and practice development by the Systemic-Design Network.

Many of our members are also members of the Systemic Design Association

Theory of Change

Our focus is to use the practices of systemic design thinking to bring about our vision through a focus on enabling Small and Medium Enterprises to design, adopt and execute Strongly Sustainable, Flourishing, Thriving, Vital, Business Models.  Since SMEs form 90%+ of all businesses globally, it is vital we enable them with business models that proactively drive enterprise financial viability, social benefit creation and environmental regeneration – doing good to do well.

Our theory of change is based on the huge influence of human enterprises, and SMEs specifically, have on our economic, social and biophysical systems.  Hence, we see the adoption of strongly sustainable business models as a vital contribution to humanity proactively embracing our responsibility of planetary steward in the Anthropocene.  Enterprises that adopt such business models proactively contribute to “sustaining the possibility for human and other life to flourish on this planet for seven generations and beyond” (Ehrenfeld, 2000). 

Strategy & Tactics

To achieve our vision & mission our research and practice agenda is organized along a number of "streams":
  1. Human-centric research about how leaders in SMEs actually make decisions and what role, if any, business models play in this context.

  2. Develop and validate an ontology for strongly sustainable business models and a visual tool for modeling such businesses (the SSBMOntology and Flourishing Business Canvas)

  3. Explore advanced methods of impact definition, measurement and valuation of the social and environmental benefits that can support decision making in organizations, particularly in the context of business models.

  4. Identify and map the processes related to business strategy decisions in SMEs.

  5. Use design methods to develop a toolkit for SMEs and test the kit with organizations to further improve it and to create case studies.
There is a strong collaboration and cross-pollination between the various research streams expressed in bilateral and multilateral collaborations and exchanges. We welcome members interested in contributing and actively participating in our research activities.  Members document their finished research and practice on this wiki here, introduce their current and on-going initiatives here, and collaborate using the remainder of the wiki.

Our Invitation to You

The SSBMG community of practice invites you to explore with us how we can join forces to realize our shared vision and mission at scale and quickly. 

As a starting point to determine how we can collaborate with this goal in mind, we suggest and encourage you to join us in our LinkedIn Forum forum.SSBMG.com and then volunteer to present at our monthly meetings.  We want to hear how you see your vision and practice intersecting with ours. From this we have a good basis to make collaboration proposals of mutual value to achieve our shared goal.

We also welcome your invitation to present our work to your community. 

Please also follow us on Twitter @StronglySustain, like us on Facebook facebook.SSBMG.com and watch our videos on YouTube tv.SSBMG.com.

If you have any questions, please consult our Learning Map, or if would like to present to us, invite SSBMG to present to your community, of if as a member your need to add your initiatives to the wiki, please contact me, Prof Nabil Harfoush or Antony Upward for assistance.