Melbourne Business School Events and Information Sessions Building the capability of social purpose organisations: Adapting business models

Building the capability of social purpose organisations: Adapting business models

Friday, 24 July 2020
10.00 AM - 11.00 AM

The impact of the recent drought and bushfires, followed by the health and economic crisis of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement raising the awareness of racial inequality and injustice in Australia, is felt by everyone, but particularly by the most vulnerable. Social purpose leaders are having to rapidly pivot their organisations to continue to make a difference in the lives of the communities they serve. This webinar unpacked the strategy, execution and human challenges associated with adapting business models during a time of crisis.


From this event

Watch Melbourne Business School's Geoff Martin, Greg Harbidge and Jody Evans as they unpack the strategy, execution and human challenges associated with adapting business models during a time of crisis.

Your questions answered

On the question or impact through narrative and/or data, how does that concept apply when trying to influence government, particularly considering emphasis on evidence

We need to remember that governments are made up of people, with all the same cognitive biases and mental short-cuts for decision-making that we all possess. Whilst we need to support any request for funding or partnership with strong evidence, data alone will not motivate action. We need to get better at integrating data and narrative. Research reveals that, in the battle for both head and heart, narrative will consistently outperform data in its ability to influence thinking, shape attitudes and motivate action. Don’t assume that numbers will tell your story. Find every opportunity you can to engage key decision-makers beyond the application form. Practice your narratives and build a repertoire of 3-5 that you can draw on in formal meetings and also in more social occasions. Sometimes telling the story of One can be more impactful than telling a story about many.

Jody Evans, Associate Professor of Marketing, Melbourne Business School

What if you're working with others who are risk adverse and not keen to experiment? How do you encourage them to embrace a growth mindset in very unsettling times

Three ideas come to mind for me immediately:

  1. Role model it
  2. communicate why you are experimenting 
  3. Reward people for trying (don't 'punish' when it doesn't go well)

Greg Harbidge – Senior Learning Consultant, Melbourne Business School

Do you see the current situation as a great opportunity for NFP’s to really hone their narratives and qualitative indicators? What are the best ways to approach this?

This is a common “measurement” problem. You have two options that i can think of. First is to use input rather than outcome measures. Eg., number of workshops, introductions, scholarships etc. The second is to keep logs of how you spend your week and use that to identify and draw out the powerful stories about impact. Eg., through influencing media you brought to life the amazing story of success of a family in the Sudanese community that lifted their collective esteem and self-respect.

Geoff Martin, Professor of Strategy, Melbourne Business School

About our speakers

Geoff Martin

Geoff Martin


Geoff worked at the highest levels of international finance before becoming an academic focusing on risk-taking by executives. He has received several research excellence awards from the University of Melbourne.

Greg Harbidge

Greg Harbidge


Greg is a leadership development expert with a particular focus on creativity, innovation and design thinking. He teaches on the Melbourne Health Accelerator program as well as our short courses.

Jody Evans

Jody Evans


Jody is an expert in branding, marketing strategy and economic and social impact who is committed to focusing on research and programs that encourage better business for a better world.

Our Partners

This webinar is presented thanks to the generous support and partnership of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust-MBS Endowment, Krystyna Campbell-Pretty and the Evans Fund.

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