Social Impact measurement is an increasingly hot topic for social innovators, social entrepreneurs and third sector organisations alike, recently sparking plenty of debate in the social impact space. Let’s face it, it’s not enough to have an innovative idea anymore to make a difference – for this idea to become a sustainable impact venture, it not only needs to generate social value, but also needs to be measurable.
Before social innovators can even begin to talk about these latest trends, it is crucial that the context from which they are operating allow for innovative ideas and social experimentation. And this is not necessarily the case, especially for third sector organisations and public bodies which generally operate from less nimble and agile structures.
With less than two weeks to go before the Euclid Summit, we turn our attention once again to Zagreb where international experts and stakeholders will come together on 24-26 February to showcase and discuss the latest trends and skills needed to drive positive change. The summit’s ‘knowhow for impact’ stream will explore these latest trends and help social innovators, social entrepreneurs and third sector leaders identify the key skills for social impact required in the years to come.
Ideation & creation for social impact in Denmark
It’s true that third sector organisations have an important role to play, with their unique potential to challenge existing practices and potentially create systemic change. But what does it take to create the right conditions for social innovation in a third sector organisation? How can innovation and a stronger demand for evidence-based practice go hand in hand?
Co-founder of Social+, Anne Bergvith Sørensen, thinks it is important to create an environment of social experimentation, one where the risk of failure is closely connected to ethical concerns and systematic generation of new knowledge. To do this, we need to take a look at roles and skills in our organisation. We need to develop a new professional identity and a new set of competencies. We need to consider ourselves a mix of three professional archetypes: The Action Researcher, The (social) Engineer and the Laboratory technician.
Social+ in Denmark have looked in depth into the new conditions and roles needed to create more and better social innovation and social experiments in Third sector organisations. During the past four years, they have worked with over 100 organisations to create new social inventions and social innovation in the third and public sector. This has lead to more than 25 new social inventions in Denmark with a total project volume of more than €12.000.000 - mainly funded by philanthropic foundations.
Social+ will be presenting some of their key learnings from the past four years in a masterclass in Zagreb.
Generating social value in Portugal
Assuming you are operating in the right conditions for social experimentation, how can you then develop an inspirational idea into an impact venture?
IES Social Business School in Portugal have developed a framework that can be used to build, design and assess a sustainable solution to a specific societal problem identified by a team of social innovators. Through a mix of knowledge sharing, case studies and practical tools, this framework aims to help social innovators turn an inspirational idea into an impact venture. According to Carlos Azevedo, Academic Director of IES Social Business School and founder of ESLIDER-PORTUGAL (National Network for Civil Society Leaders), the process involves three stages:
- Identifying the problem: what are its causes, its level of importance and the dominant competing solution?
- Creating a value proposition – what is the value to the target audience and to other stakeholders, including its level of positive externalities or spillover effects
- Designing a solution - description of the solution provided, its economic model, impact model and level of differentiation compared to the dominant competing solution.
IES Social Business School will be presenting the ‘Social Value Generator’ framework in a masterclass in Zagreb.
Measuring social impact
You’re in the right working environment and it’s now clear: your innovative ideas have real social value and are potentially scalable. What’s next? Impact measurement!
To help us make sense of the array of impact measurement tools out there, the Centre for Social Investment (CSI) in Heidelberg can help you distinguish those that pretend to from those that actually measure impact. CSI has a long-lasting reputation in social investment and innovation research, which has led them to develop a clear preference for a refined social return on investment approach.
At the Euclid Summit in Zagreb, Gorgi Krlev, a research associate at CSI and a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford (Kellogg College) specialising on social impact measurement, will look at the most critical questions you need to address in the impact measurement process and the skills required for performing it.
So, do you think you are ready for impact?
Find out more on the latest skills and trends for social innovation at the Euclid Summit in Zagreb, 24-26 February. It’s happening very soon…but there is still time to register here!