Key Activities

What are the most important actions you must take to make your business model work?

The Commercial Dimension

Like key resources, key activities are required to create and offer a value proposition, reach markets, maintain relationships, and earn revenues.  They can be categorized as production (i.e.., designing, making, and delivering a product/service), problem-solving (i.e., coming up with new solutions to customer problems), and platform/network (i.e., managing a platform, promoting a platform and providing related service). 

The Impact Dimension

Key activities across the commerce and impact dimensions of your organization may be complementary (i.e., business activities are complemented by and/or complement impact activities) or opposing (i.e., it is difficult to balance the two).  Complementary activities may be leveraged for greater efficiencies across the delivery of commercial and impact value. In the case of opposing activities, problem solving is needed so that commercial and impact imperatives are balanced or at least can co-exist.  Unpacking your impact activities is an important part of understanding your business model as a social enterprise. 

Professor Sarah Soule explains the goal of the key activities block, and poses questions for you to consider as you think through strategic options for your venture.  She will discuss the example of Equal Opportunity Schools, a national nonprofit organization with both earned income and philanthropic support. (1:38) 

Design Prompts

  • What are the most important tasks that your company needs to perform in order to provide the Value Propositions to your Stakeholders? In the short-term? In the long-term? 
  • What high level actions are necessary to design, launch, provide and support your offering(s)?

For-profit example


Key activities:

  • Industry research [c]
  • Product development [c]
  • Delivery of sales & marketing best practices [c]
  • Supply chain management [c]
  • Dealer recruitment, training & support [b]
  • Monitoring and evaluation [i]

d.light sells solar energy solutions to populations without electricity in 60+ nations. See project description and its Impact BMC

Nonprofit example

Equal Opportunity Schools

Key activities:

  • Data analysis [c]
  • Diagnostic review [c]
  • Action plan development [c]
  • Provide tools and support to students and teachers [b] 
  • Leadership coaching [b] 
  • Thought leadership [i] 
  • Impact studies [i] 

Equal Opportunity Schools helps minority and low-income high school students succeed in AP and IB courses. See project description and its Impact BMC

i = Impact dimensions,  c = Commercial dimensions,  b = Both dimensions 

Deep dive