Sustainability Models for Social Innovation Projects: An Empirical Perspective

  • Paolo LandoniEmail author
  • Daniel Trabucchi
Part of the Research for Development book series (REDE)


The literature is indicating an emerging need for customized tools to model how Triple Bottom Line organizations and nonprofit organizations deriving from social innovation projects have to operate to be economically sustainable. Starting from three editions of the top 100 NGOs as ranked by The Global Journal, NGOs are analyzed and classified according to the way in which they create value, generate revenues and collaborate with other organizations to reach their beneficiaries. This helps in defining the Sustainability Model Canvas, highlighting the peculiarities of the most successful nonprofit organizations and understanding their sphere of action. We rely on the analysis of the cases to describe the most common types of sustainability models. We identify and discuss the distinctive features of Triple Bottom Line organizations and the reasons why these organizations require sustainability models that are different from those used in the for-profit sector. We subsequently introduce and discuss the features required in a sustainability model to address the specific characteristics of these organizations. The proposed sustainability model combines multiple goals of these organizations while focusing on their long-term economic sustainability and the value already created in the existing tools for for-profit organizations.



We acknowledge the contributions of Elena Perondi during the development of this research and of Francesca Bazurro and Andrea Vucetich in the data gathering and data analysis. The usual disclaimers apply.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and Industrial EngineeringPolitecnico di TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.School of ManagementPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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