A recent article examines emerging alternatives to traditional corporate structures.

We're used to thinking about innovation in technology, in products or services, or even in management methods or business models. But in a recent article in strategy+business, Marjorie Kelly highlights a type of innovation that is less commonly discussed: innovation in corporate structure, ownership and governance.

Kelly, a senior associate with the Tellus Institute, suggests that some of the behaviors that helped lead to the financial crisis in 2008 are a result of the intense focus on short-term profits that characterizes many contemporary for-profit companies.

She suggests that new emerging models — such as a "social business" that has a social mission as well as a profit-making one and that does not seek to maximize the profits investors receive — "can be thought of as emergent new organizational species, occupying a new sector of society that is a greenhouse of design experimentation in which the future of our economy may be growing."