At the end of 2006, I heard about the group coaching process Pro Action Café and attended the monthly Café in Brussels in December.
I have talked to one of the founders today and we are currently planning to start the Pro Action Café in Berlin in a few weeks. So stay tuned…
What is the Pro Action Café?
Based on the World Café method, roughly 20 people had conversations around the questions that mattered to them. 4 table hosts offered their questions to the group. I hosted a table putting forward my question: “How can you turn social change into a business model?”, a question that more and more people have asked me a lot in my work for the movement We Are What We Do (WAWWD) and I have to come to terms with in order to sustain myself as a social pioneer.
We started off with people stating why they have been attracted to the question. And more questions emerged:
• What is it that you have to offer?
• For society: what is the offer and what is the need?
• What is making us happy? Community and conversations?
• How do we define happiness? Where is the market? Where are the unhappy people?
• What is social change?
• Do we want to change the world?
My key learning in the first round:
Between the social change and the business model we need the intermediate step of COMMUNITY BUILDING. How can we use WAWWD to build communities?
New people were welcomed at the table and the discussion summarized.
Again more questions:
• What is the product?
• How can you persuade people to pay money for an intangible product (i.e. memories, ideas, emotions)? Coca-Cola is selling: friends, fun, being young, happiness, an experience, etc.
• Example of Landmark Forum is given: personal development workshops – sell WAWWD in workshops: “Do you want to change but don’t know how?”
• Look at all actions: where are the actions that can both be generating money + change the world
My key learning in the second round:
What do we sell at WAWWD? We need to know exactly how to put that into simple words for everyone. If I want to apply for a loan what do I tell the bank?
And the last group of participants arrived…and here are some conclusions and even more questions 🙂
• WAWWD is selling social responsibility. Is there a market for social responsibility?
• You cannot separate social responsibility from spirituality.
• Do not ask what is your product but rather what is your service.
• How can we find synergies between your world and my world?
• Do we need NGOs? Aren’t Shell or Nestlé, etc. better equipped and managed than NGOs?
My key learning in the third round:
WAWWD is a service organisation that is selling social responsibility.