Risks and side-effects:

What is in your hands and what isn't

The previous sections looked at the positive impact your project wants to achieve for society and how to put together a viable plan that will help you achieve this goal. Looking back to the start-up phase, your project will now look significantly different to how it did when you designed it on the drawing board. No planning tools can change this: unexpected developments are par for the course, especially in the case of pioneering projects. The factor of chance: in the best-case scenario, you will encounter this factor in the form of lucky coincidences that open unexpected doors for you and reveal new perspectives. There is also the possibility that your project may have unwanted side-effects. It is not uncommon for a pioneering project to give rise to unintended consequences, which can upset the picture considerably, if not even reverse it.

Example VillageOffice

What role did chance play for VillageOffice? Chance reared its head often and worked in both directions, say founders Jenny and Dave.


• VillageOffice identified municipalities as a target group thanks to a rather random test.

• When the new business model emerged, the perfect individual to push ahead with the idea was already in the team in the form of Remo, the lobbyist.

• The coronavirus crisis boosted acceptance of ?new work? more than any lobbying had done before.


• Swisscom was the exception among the employers, which meant that the target group check was not viable at this point.

• The coronavirus crisis put a huge hole in the project?s finances.

My 0 to 100 moment:

When chance opens a door for you – and you gratefully step through.

How it works

Think thoroughly about the intended impact, as this is one of the factors that will determine your project's success.

But bear in mind that if this impact is achieved, it does not necessarily mean that this is also attributable to your offers. An impact can only ever be made through the interaction of a large number of factors and initiatives. And, as already mentioned, chance also plays an important role.

This means that not every success you celebrate will be solely down to you. Even if you have contributed to this success to the best of your knowledge and ability.

The knowledge we have with respect to the limits of predictability will, however, not prevent us from giving you and ourselves two further tips; because maybe some risks and side-effects are predictable after all?

SCOT analysis The SCOT analysis is a variation of the well-known SWOT analysis, which describes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a company. The SCOT analysis turns the tables: instead of looking at the opportunities and threats posed by the outside world from the confines of your project, you take on the perspective of society, which looks at the project unemotionally and ponders:

1. Are the business model and the team put together in a sustainable enough manner to actually have an impact (sustainability)?

2. What alternative solutions exist for the problem (competition)?

3. Does society benefit, even if the project fails as an organisation (opportunities)?

4. Does the project pose potential threats that the team perhaps isn?t aware of (threats)?

Devil's advocate

With this process, you put yourself in the shoes of a person who has a sceptical or even hostile view towards the project. For each link in the impact chain, you ask what undesired effects could result.


Think of the worst-case scenario for your project.

The pre-mortem analysis is an insightful role play for the team. It makes use of the simple psychological fact that our brains are also designed to anticipate risks in order to ensure our survival. If our project were to fail, why would this be? By consciously adopting this perspective, we can get a better picture of possible obstacles and threats.

Inner compass:

not every success is self-made, while not every failure is self-inflicted. This exercise shows you that what counts is what you make of it.