In this blog post, we explore The Art of Living Business Model to explain and understand how the Business Model of the global social organization is structured and to learn about how The Art of Living makes money.
“The Art of Living” is a global organization with a mission to create a stress-free, violence-free society by empowering individuals through personal development and social transformation. Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian, the organization has grown exponentially, impacting millions of lives across the world. In this blog post, we will examine the business model of “The Art of Living” using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. By understanding the various building blocks and strategies that have shaped the organization, we can better appreciate its impact and learn valuable lessons for entrepreneurial success.
- The Art of Living Story
“The Art of Living” was founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, born in 1956 in Tamil Nadu, India. Growing up in a spiritual environment, Sri Sri developed an interest in ancient Indian scriptures and the science of yoga. He received an advanced degree in Vedic literature and physics, which led him to explore the connection between the inner and outer worlds. In the early 1980s, Sri Sri developed the Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique that became the cornerstone of the Art of Living programs. Realizing the profound impact of these techniques on individual well-being and societal transformation, Sri Sri founded “The Art of Living” in 1981.
- Business Model Canvas of The Art of Living
Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that allows entrepreneurs and businesses to visualize and define their business model. It consists of nine building blocks, which we will use to examine “The Art of Living” in detail:
a) Customer Segments: “The Art of Living” serves a diverse range of customer segments, including individuals, families, educational institutions, corporations, and government organizations. The organization has designed its programs to cater to various age groups, professions, and cultural backgrounds, ensuring its relevance and appeal to a global audience.
b) Value Propositions: The value propositions offered by “The Art of Living” include personal well-being, stress reduction, emotional resilience, and societal transformation. Its programs leverage the power of the Sudarshan Kriya, meditation, yoga, and ancient wisdom to foster physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Participants often report improved health, increased productivity, enhanced creativity, and better relationships as a result of attending these programs.
c) Channels: “The Art of Living” employs both physical and digital channels to reach its customers. It has over 10,000 centers in 156 countries, offering in-person programs and workshops. Additionally, the organization has embraced digital technology by launching the “Sri Sri Yoga” app and offering online courses and live webcasts, allowing it to cater to a wider audience and adapt to the changing needs of its customers.
d) Customer Relationships: The organization maintains strong relationships with its customers through regular communication, personalized support, and a sense of community. It has a dedicated team of volunteers and teachers who provide guidance and assistance throughout the learning journey. Social media platforms and local community groups also play a vital role in fostering connections and driving engagement among participants.
e) Revenue Streams: “The Art of Living” generates revenue through various streams, including course fees, donations, and the sale of books, CDs, DVDs, and other merchandise. The organization operates as a not-for-profit entity, with any surplus revenue reinvested into its charitable initiatives and outreach programs.
f) Key Resources: The key resources for “The Art of Living” include its founder and spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, its global network of centers, its intellectual property (such as the Sudarshan Kriya technique), and its vast community of volunteers and teachers. These resources are crucial in delivering the organization’s value propositions and maintaining its global impact.
g) Key Activities: “The Art of Living” undertakes various key activities, such as program development, delivery, and evaluation, teacher and volunteer training, marketing and promotion, and research and innovation. These activities enable the organization to provide high-quality programs, expand its reach, and continuously improve its offerings.
h) Key Partnerships: The organization has formed strategic partnerships with various stakeholders, including educational institutions, corporations, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations. These partnerships facilitate the delivery of programs in different settings, enable collaborative projects, and enhance the organization’s credibility and impact. For example, “The Art of Living” has partnered with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank on various initiatives related to peace, health, and sustainable development.
i) Cost Structure: “The Art of Living” operates with a cost structure that includes expenses such as program delivery, administration, research and development, marketing and promotion, and facility maintenance. As a not-for-profit organization, it strives to optimize its resources and minimize costs to maximize its impact on society.
- The Growth and Evolution of “The Art of Living”
Over the past four decades, “The Art of Living” has grown from a modest beginning in India to a global organization, impacting millions of lives. Its growth can be attributed to several factors, such as its strong value propositions, a diverse customer base, and the scalability of its programs.
a) Global Expansion: The organization’s initial success in India led to its expansion in other countries, starting with the United States in 1987. Recognizing the universal appeal of its programs, “The Art of Living” began establishing centers and training teachers in different countries. Today, the organization operates in 156 countries, with a presence on all continents.
b) Diversification of Programs: “The Art of Living” has continuously innovated and diversified its program offerings to cater to different customer segments and needs. Apart from its flagship programs, such as the “Happiness Program” and “Sri Sri Yoga,” the organization has developed specialized courses for children, teenagers, senior citizens, and corporate executives. It has also designed programs to address specific challenges, such as addiction, trauma, and mental health issues.
c) Social Impact Initiatives: The organization has leveraged its resources and expertise to address various social and environmental issues. Its initiatives include disaster relief, rural development, education, prisoner rehabilitation, and environmental conservation. These initiatives have not only enhanced the organization’s reputation and credibility but also created new opportunities for collaboration and growth.
d) Embracing Technology: “The Art of Living” has recognized the potential of digital technology in expanding its reach and enhancing its offerings. It has invested in developing online courses, mobile apps, and live webcasts, allowing it to reach customers in remote locations and adapt to the changing preferences and needs of its audience.
- Lessons for Entrepreneurs
“The Art of Living” offers valuable insights for entrepreneurs seeking to create a successful and impactful business. Some key lessons include:
a) Develop a strong value proposition: At the core of “The Art of Living” is a set of powerful techniques and programs that deliver tangible benefits to its customers. Entrepreneurs should focus on developing products or services that address real needs and create value for their target audience.
b) Embrace diversity and inclusivity: The organization’s ability to cater to diverse customer segments has contributed significantly to its growth and success. Entrepreneurs should be open to serving different markets and creating products or services that are accessible and relevant to a wide range of customers.
c) Foster community and relationships: “The Art of Living” has built a strong sense of community among its participants, volunteers, and teachers, which has been crucial in driving engagement, loyalty, and word-of-mouth referrals. Entrepreneurs should prioritize building relationships with their customers and creating a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters long-term connections.
d) Innovate and adapt: The organization’s continuous innovation in program development and its adoption of digital technology have allowed it to stay relevant and responsive to the changing needs of its audience. Entrepreneurs should be open to experimenting, learning, and evolving to stay ahead of the competition and deliver value in a dynamic market.
e) Leverage partnerships: “The Art of Living” has formed strategic partnerships with various stakeholders to enhance its impact and reach. Entrepreneurs should be open to collaborating with other organizations, both within and outside their industry, to create synergies and achieve shared goals.
f) Align with a higher purpose: The organization’s mission of creating a stress-free, violence-free society has been a powerful driving force behind its growth and success. Entrepreneurs should consider aligning their business with a higher purpose or social cause, which can inspire customers, employees, and partners and create a lasting impact on society.
“The Art of Living” serves as an inspiring example of how a business can achieve both commercial success and social impact through a well-defined business model and strategic execution. By examining the organization through the lens of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, we have gained valuable insights into its key building blocks, growth strategies, and lessons for entrepreneurs.
As a global organization, “The Art of Living” demonstrates the importance of developing a strong value proposition, embracing diversity and inclusivity, fostering community and relationships, innovating and adapting, leveraging partnerships, and aligning with a higher purpose. By applying these lessons, entrepreneurs can create businesses that not only deliver value to their customers but also contribute positively to society and the world at large.
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