The ColaLife Approach gets the academic treatment

Journal of Management Studies LogoWe are pleased to draw attention to this paper: Social Entrepreneurs as Ecosystem Catalysts: The Dynamics of Forming and Withdrawing from a Self-Sustaining Ecosystem. Featuring exclusively ColaLife’s work, it was published yesterday (9-Feb-2024) in the Journal of Management Studies. We thank the authors: Paulo Savaget, Pinar Ozcan and Tyrone Pitsis. We are especially indebted to Paulo, who visited Zambia to study our interventions and has explored and developed his perceptive insights in various publications, working on this one for more than 4 years.

Based on analysis of interviews with key stakeholders in Zambia between May-2017 and Jan-2023, as well as with us, the paper describes the ColaLife Approach: acting in a catalytic way to gather local stakeholders around a new value proposition while gradually making ourselves redundant to create something bigger than ourselves that will go on without us.

The paper concludes that key requirements for success of this approach are that the catalyst organisation and any other external agents (eg donors) are invisible locally and that local systems are respected and strengthened where necessary. These are ideas we have tried to explain and promote for many years; this paper does an excellent job of explaining and framing our approaches and supplying an impressive academic framework.

We hope, in particular, that international donors and international NGOs can find more ways of supporting this approach. It may be challenging but is worth striving for to achieve sustainable system change.