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The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation

What do the Rolling Stones and FrontlineSMS have in common? Not much, you might think. Well, they’re not users, they’re a little better-off than us and they’re considerably more famous. But there is something a little more subtle we share with them – management innovation.

In his autobiography – “Life” – published last year, Keith Richards describes the evolution of The Rolling Stones‘ management. Three quite distinct individuals played key roles in getting the band to where they are today. From an article last November in The Week magazine:

“First up was Andrew Loog Oldham – described as an oddity of the London music scene – who successfully branded The Stones as the “dirty, snarling and mean” antidote to the then clean-cut Beatles. Then came Allen Klein, a lawyer expert in negotiating with record companies. Finally, there was Prince Rupert Lowenstein, a private banker with no roots in the music industry, who professionalised the outfit – establishing separate companies to handle publishing, merchandising and touring – which made The Stones one of the richest bands in history”

The evolution and management of FrontlineSMS can also be broken down into three phases:

  • Technology innovation
  • Organisational innovation
  • Business model innovation

As The Stones example demonstrates, each phase requires a very different skill set, and it would take an extraordinary individual to be able to manage and deliver successfully on each. While I may have been the right person – in the right place at the right time at the very least – to successfully deliver on Phase One, that doesn’t mean I’m the right person for Phase Two, or Three. A large part of building a successful organisation is assembling a talented, diverse team with complementary skill sets. Identifying gaps and being honest about our own strengths and weaknesses is a large part of the process.

The social entrepreneurship sector, however, remains largely laser-focused on the innovator, the person behind Phase One. Recognising that organisations develop in phases, and have different needs at each, there needs to be a slight shift in how we view – and support – entrepreneurs and the vehicles or organisations they help create.

With this in mind, there might well be a few things the social entrepreneurship sector could learn from The Rolling Stones.

109 comments

1 Ken Banks { 07.12.11 at 11:40 am }

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2 Oludotun Babayemi { 07.12.11 at 11:40 am }

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3 Simpl { 07.12.11 at 11:43 am }

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4 Fr@nthro { 07.12.11 at 11:52 am }

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5 Bruce Burke { 07.12.11 at 11:52 am }

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6 changefeed { 07.12.11 at 12:01 pm }

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7 Nick Temple { 07.12.11 at 12:06 pm }

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8 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.12.11 at 12:13 pm }

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9 Tony Colville { 07.12.11 at 12:20 pm }

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10 Scott Goodstein { 07.12.11 at 12:26 pm }

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11 openinnovation { 07.12.11 at 12:42 pm }

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12 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.12.11 at 12:46 pm }

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13 Jason Knobloch { 07.12.11 at 3:00 pm }

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14 The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation | Global Health Hub { 07.12.11 at 3:25 pm }

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15 Ken Banks { 07.12.11 at 6:10 pm }

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16 Liz { 07.12.11 at 6:17 pm }

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17 Ivo Mortani (Movere) { 07.12.11 at 6:22 pm }

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18 Anil Hasham { 07.12.11 at 6:31 pm }

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19 Horacio Coutiño { 07.12.11 at 7:28 pm }

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20 Alfredo Narvaez { 07.12.11 at 7:30 pm }

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21 The Rolling Stones school of management innovation | Build it … « Management Fair { 07.12.11 at 7:53 pm }

[...] post: The Rolling Stones school of management innovation | Build it … Comments [...]

22 Guido Kerkhof { 07.12.11 at 8:11 pm }

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23 Victor d'Allant { 07.13.11 at 12:57 am }

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24 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.13.11 at 1:13 am }

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25 socialedge { 07.13.11 at 1:44 am }

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26 蘇適(蘇軾的蘇,舒適的適) { 07.13.11 at 1:46 am }

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27 Law for Change { 07.13.11 at 1:54 am }

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28 Law for Change { 07.13.11 at 1:55 am }

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29 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.13.11 at 2:20 am }

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30 G2Deals { 07.13.11 at 2:26 am }

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31 WealthResearchLtd { 07.13.11 at 2:27 am }

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32 SchooltoCareer { 07.13.11 at 3:09 am }

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33 Ashoka UK { 07.13.11 at 9:55 am }

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34 Omidyar Network { 07.13.11 at 5:34 pm }

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35 ricard valls riera { 07.13.11 at 5:34 pm }

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36 Frank Bonsal III { 07.13.11 at 5:38 pm }

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37 Virgilia Singh { 07.13.11 at 5:39 pm }

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38 Ashley Ellis { 07.13.11 at 5:43 pm }

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39 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.13.11 at 6:05 pm }

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40 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.13.11 at 6:05 pm }

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41 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.13.11 at 7:11 pm }

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42 Laura Walker Hudson { 07.14.11 at 5:07 am }

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43 Katherine Lucey { 07.14.11 at 5:13 am }

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44 Ursula Stephens { 07.14.11 at 5:55 am }

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45 INNODEV { 07.14.11 at 7:50 am }

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46 Josep Maria Miró { 07.14.11 at 7:53 am }

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47 Josep Maria Miró { 07.14.11 at 7:54 am }

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48 Elmira Bayrasli { 07.14.11 at 9:47 am }

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49 Alex Hardie { 07.14.11 at 9:53 am }

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50 Roger James Hamilton { 07.14.11 at 10:11 am }

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51 Peace Dividend Trust { 07.14.11 at 1:01 pm }

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52 Kitty Hawke { 07.14.11 at 11:16 pm }

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53 SocialUniverseBuzz! { 07.14.11 at 11:25 pm }

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54 Daniel Arlt { 07.15.11 at 7:25 am }

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55 Paul Polak and team { 07.15.11 at 5:00 pm }

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56 News On The Cloud { 07.15.11 at 5:01 pm }

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57 SandySkees { 07.15.11 at 5:01 pm }

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58 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.15.11 at 5:02 pm }

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59 Blair Hickman { 07.15.11 at 5:05 pm }

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60 Alan Simon { 07.15.11 at 5:10 pm }

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61 Tasha Gallegos { 07.15.11 at 5:15 pm }

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62 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.15.11 at 5:35 pm }

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63 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.15.11 at 5:35 pm }

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64 Diversity in Soc Ent { 07.15.11 at 5:46 pm }

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65 SocialEntrepreneur { 07.15.11 at 6:07 pm }

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66 Andy Milligan { 07.15.11 at 9:00 pm }

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67 MIX { 07.16.11 at 1:45 am }

RT @OutofPoverty: What businesses might learn from The Rolling Stones. http://is.gd/ACbG3s via @kiwanja

68 Jeffrey Newman { 07.16.11 at 8:30 am }

RT @OutofPoverty: What businesses might learn from The Rolling Stones. http://is.gd/ACbG3s via @kiwanja

69 Luis Berastain { 07.16.11 at 10:55 am }

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70 Weekly Roundup: TEDGlobal, Big Society In The UK, and Google+...++ | Dowser { 07.16.11 at 3:18 pm }

[...] a fun one to send you off: Kiwanja of Frontline SMS points out that social enterprises could take a few lessons from The Rolling Stones. Categories:  News and Ideas, Weekly [...]

71 Weekly Roundup: TEDGlobal, Big Society In The UK, and Google+…++ | Freelance and Blogger Jobs World { 07.16.11 at 6:48 pm }

[...] a fun one to send you off: Kiwanja of Frontline SMS points out that social enterprises could take a few lessons from The Rolling [...]

72 miraj khaled { 07.16.11 at 9:00 pm }

RT @hackmanagement: RT @OutofPoverty: What businesses might learn from The Rolling Stones. http://is.gd/ACbG3s via @kiwanja #socent

73 TechChange { 07.18.11 at 3:08 pm }

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74 Fiona Bradley { 07.18.11 at 3:10 pm }

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75 Taylor Thomander { 07.18.11 at 3:30 pm }

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76 happy toy machine { 07.18.11 at 3:36 pm }

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77 Heather LaGarde { 07.18.11 at 3:49 pm }

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78 Kevin Franco { 07.18.11 at 11:48 pm }

Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation http://t.co/C5RfWxH – Mick, Keith and Andrew taught me everything I know about branding.

79 Harambe Cameroon { 07.21.11 at 7:47 am }

briliant RT @kiwanja What the social entrepreneurship sector might learn from The Rolling Stones. http://is.gd/ACbG3s #socent #innovation

80 Alphachimp Studio { 10.15.11 at 3:19 am }

Talked with @kiwanja about organizational development. Suggested @TopsyRT: The Rolling Stones School of Mgt. Innovation http://t.co/Ei8R61wq

81 Visualizing Social Innovation « Monkey Mind { 10.15.11 at 3:53 am }

[...] scaling up for real impact. He referred me to a blog post of his that has gotten some attention: The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); [...]

82 C.line Brandicourt { 10.15.11 at 6:51 pm }

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83 Ken Banks { 12.08.11 at 9:30 am }

One of my favourite posts of the year. "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation". http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

84 Brad Jones { 12.08.11 at 9:32 am }

One of my favourite posts of the year. "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation". http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

85 Irene Becker { 12.08.11 at 9:40 am }

One of my favourite posts of the year. "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation". http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

86 Andy Narracott { 12.08.11 at 11:05 am }

"building a successful organisation is assembling a talented, diverse team with complementary skill sets" @kiwanja http://t.co/RCjHw4fe

87 adele_b { 12.08.11 at 11:25 am }

One of my favourite posts of the year. "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation". http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

88 Trina DasGupta { 12.08.11 at 2:49 pm }

RT @kiwanja What the social entrepreneurship sector might learn from The Rolling Stones. http://t.co/oYyd0wUo #mobile #innovation #socent

89 socialedge { 12.08.11 at 5:31 pm }

Must read: "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" by @kiwanja http://t.co/bwImoB16 #socent

90 Campus MFI { 12.08.11 at 5:35 pm }

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91 Give a Damn { 12.08.11 at 5:36 pm }

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92 Ny Whitaker { 12.08.11 at 5:46 pm }

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93 Jonathan Joseph { 12.08.11 at 5:47 pm }

Must read: "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" by @kiwanja http://t.co/bwImoB16 #socent

94 janellegibson { 12.08.11 at 5:48 pm }

Must read: "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" by @kiwanja http://t.co/bwImoB16 #socent

95 Mark R. { 12.08.11 at 6:00 pm }

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96 Elvis Choruma { 12.08.11 at 6:37 pm }

RT @socialedge: Must read: "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" by @kiwanja http://t.co/Xu6xDZRY #socent

97 Agil Projektledare { 12.08.11 at 6:57 pm }

RT @TopsyRT: The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation http://t.co/mFrpYxxK

98 Agil Projektledare { 12.08.11 at 6:58 pm }

One of my favourite posts of the year. "The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation". http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

99 Jorge Burgos { 12.08.11 at 7:38 pm }

RT @TopsyRT: The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation http://t.co/7v5BBxXp

100 Alpha lewis { 12.09.11 at 2:11 am }

'Thinking outside the box' can be considered maverick. Creating your own profit making reality, now that's rock… http://t.co/BXElbHxv

101 Ken Banks { 05.14.12 at 8:44 pm }

Re-reading my "Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" post. Still one of my favourites. http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

102 Ken Banks { 05.14.12 at 8:59 pm }

Re-visiting my "Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" post. Still one of my favourites. http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

103 Laura Walker Hudson { 05.14.12 at 9:17 pm }

Re-visiting my "Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" post. Still one of my favourites. http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #socent

104 Ned Breslin { 05.15.12 at 12:57 pm }

Love @kiwanja "Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation" post, have an alternative coming #punk http://t.co/WUdiaUDZ #socent

105 Ken Banks { 05.15.12 at 12:59 pm }

@NedBreslin Thanks, Ned. Glad you like it. Looking forward to reading your #punk alternative! http://t.co/bpMN2IKO #innovation

106 A transition announcement from our Founder, Ken Banks : FrontlineSMS { 05.29.12 at 3:20 pm }

[...] new set of skills to take it to the next level. In one of my favourite blog posts – ” The Rolling Stones School of Innovation Management” – I wrote about how the Rolling Stones needed three different managers over the course [...]

107 Innovation: Beyond technology. | Build it Kenny, and they will come... { 06.07.12 at 1:26 pm }

[...] important announcements in the near-seven year history of FrontlineSMS. As I hinted in my “Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation” post last December, I only felt able to take the project to a certain level and that it [...]

108 Silvia Giovannoni { 06.22.12 at 2:35 pm }

Thanks for this Ken! Awesome post @TopsyRT: The Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation http://t.co/pxKg0zHO

109 Ashoka Ireland { 06.22.12 at 4:09 pm }

Rolling Stones School of Management Innovation: http://t.co/0v7YfeCF #socent

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