By challenging yourself and your team to develop a burger business with a purpose to maximize its impact on society, new insights on your own business can be gained. Additionally, using a visioning tool can help you articulate your company's purpose. Complete the two exercises below to find an answer to the question: what are the strategic differentiators, what is value for society and in which areas might there be room for sustainable innovation to create a more circular business model?
Time required: 3 to 3½ hours
Step 1: The McDonald’s Business Canvas
The workshop starts off by discussing an abridged version of the McDonald’s business model visualized through the popular Business Model Canvas, as developed by Swiss business model guru Alexander Osterwalder and management information systems professor Yves Pigneur. With the company’s impressive footprint globally, most if not all workshop participants will have abundant knowledge of the McDonald’s experience, thereby guaranteeing lively exchanges.
The Business Model Canvas of McDonald’s can be described as follows:
Step 2: Developing your own fast-food restaurant
After introducing the McDonald’s case in the plenary kick-off, participants are divided into teams of 4 to 6 individuals with an assignment to re-design the business. More specifically, they are asked to come up with an inspiring fast-food store concept in a city nearby, that maximizes its impact on society while running beyond break-even. The (non-exhaustive) list of ideas introduced by participants can become quite broad ranging from renewable energy, healthy menus and sustainable beef to a hangout for local youth or a training institute for restaurant employees.
Step 3: Presentation and discussion
The teams present their ideas to each other, and explain specifically:
Finally, back as one group, discuss the most significant and remarkable ideas that emerged in the team presentations, and how these concepts or ideas could be applied to your current business.
Time required: 1 to 1½ hours
The Cover Story is a visioning tool designed to help firms generate a company purpose. In essence, the Cover Story approach entails the development of a future cover page. This is usually conducted in a workshop format with a maximum of 20 participants with as many diverse backgrounds and roles as possible. To apply the tool, make sure to start by dividing the workshop participants into groups of three to four individuals.
Step 1: Designing the 2024 cover
Ask the groups to write an article for the cover of Forbes Magazine five years from now, featuring the company, its purpose statement and its outstanding achievements in society, starting with the headline of the article. The obligatory components of the front page, next to the central headline, are a suitable picture and a (short) story of what contributed to the company’s success. Most importantly, the story needs to contain the description of the secret ingredient that made the company’s sustainability program into a gigantic success.
Step 2: Presentation & developing a single headline
Ask some of the groups to quickly present their solutions and start working on a plenary version of the headline.
Step 3: From planning to action: 100-day action plan
After completion of the plenary version, challenge the audience to turn this attractive foresight into reality by generating a 100-day action plan.
The Bob’s Burgers Workshop, the Cover Story tool, and many other tools can be found in Winning Sustainability Strategies (Palgrave 2018, Leleux and Van der Kaaij) which presents numerous award-winning cases from IMD business school and examples from companies such as Unilever, Torres, Patagonia, Tumi, DSM and Umicore alongside original ideas based upon 20 years of consulting experience.