Entrepreneurship vs. Replicaneurship: Why is Reinventing the Wheel so Popular among Changemakers?
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately: why do so many social enterprises and NGOs start from scratch instead of replicating a previous model? By extension, does ego and the drive to be unique have anything significant to do with it? Or is it just operational challenges, resistant stakeholders (like governments) and the nature of funding that prevents most social enterprises from going “McDonalds” with their model? More profoundly, in a world where we keep touting the virtues of collaboration and doing things “together” why does it seem that the predominant social change model presupposes individual organizations growing “big and strong” rather than spreading their idea and business model seeds out “far and wide”? So instead of McDonalds, why is it less common to have more blatant “me too” brands like Burger King’s, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Quicks and Lotterias in the world of social enterprises, if the world is crying out for more (good) burgers?
I don’t know if this term has been coined somewhere else, so pardon me for not citing credit, but perhaps we want to consider the possibility of “replicaneurship” as another viable career option to us, rather than classical “entrepreneurship”. Immediately I am thinking of the role of competition vs. cooperation and that its premises seem to potentially conflict with the basic dual purposes of social enterprises to be somewhat self sustaining (like turning a profit) while pursuing social mission that should reach as far as possible. Well, what do you do when two social enterprises work next door to each other with very similar goals? Do they shake hands and live happily together? Do they get married (merge)? Or do they fight it out with a smile for the same world of donors and investors and let the “fitter” survive? Or do they fight and don’t smile?