“Build it n’ Flip it” is one of the key themes that emerged from the Structure Lab process I experienced in Boston in February. The purpose of the Lab process is to help social enterprises proactively protect their mission and values by teaching them how to think about the optimal legal structures that can be used to further their mission. Knowing how to think about this is very empowering process, which will filter through to the strategies that social entrepreneurs employ in many contexts, including finance.
Criterion Ventures, a U.S. based organization that identifies, examines and solves social problems by launching social ventures, held the workshop that I participated in. I did so because I agree with their perspective on the role of legal structure vis-à-vis strategy. Their innovative process to discussing legal structure is, appropriately, one where the social entrepreneur identifies their core mission in the form of their values, relationship, and assets, and then builds their venture “from the Mission Up.” Ultimately, the basis behind the perspective that legal structure is linked to strategy is simple: legal structures manage relationships.