“Count something and make it count” is a catchphrase in the social enterprise and impact investing community… but as notoriously been stated:
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. (Einstein)
Trying to quantify and tracking social impact and navigating between impact intent and impact metrics are challenges social entrepreneurs must confront. Over the last couple of decades different methodologies have been developing, spanning different point of views, and reflecting different expectations and goals.
Developing an impact measurement plan can reveal as an extremely arduous task and also very costly, time consuming and complex.
Entrepreneurs also can incur the danger to get so focused on “how” of what they are measuring, that they are distracted from what they are actually finding. So how to measure the impact remains a recurring and often open question.
How to ensure that the impact measurement becomes a means to en end rather than an end in itself? How to keep the process manageable and affordable? Which options to consider among the so many currently available? How much should an entrepreneur spend? How to talk about impact? How to avoid heavy impact measurement requirements?
The selected business cases for this specific field will provide a starting ground for an in-depth exploration.
You Attract The Right Things When You Have A Sense Of Who You Are
Funding is one of the greatest challenge social entrepreneurs face, it isn’t enough that you are a creative genius who has hit on a great way to solve a social problem, that you are rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done while sacrificing everything else in your life, and that you are able to show that your idea both solves the problem and brings in enough of a return to keep going. You still need to work long hours and elaborate a huge amount of thoughts figuring out how to lure investors so that your enterprise can growth, flourish, expand.
The enterprise need the right team on place, the right expertise, the appropriate language to navigate the funding landscape.
Fundraising can have a substantial implications on mgmt decisions as well as organizational culture depending on the type of capital that it has been sought and whether the organization is structured as a for-profit, nonprofit or hybrid.
But what first matters is that “you attract the right funding when you have a sense of who you are”.
WHY TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION?
The crowds of refugees and migrants who are crossing borders and get settled in host countries are relying heavily on technology and especially on new smartphone apps. Thanks to the new smart tools, migrant populations are developing new strategies which allow them to keep a link with their country of origin, as much as to integrate into their host country.
“Our phones are more important for our journey than anything, even more important than food”
a Syrian named Wael told Agence France Presse on the Greek island of Kos.
Also for the above reason, the last couple of years has seen an overwhelming surge of social and technological innovation to address the migration challenge revealing the unique ability of the tech industry in moving quickly and collaborate across borders. New tech solutions touch different stages: the process of settling into a new home helping newcomers navigate local services; getting them into work or training; and providing access to community-based housing and services.
We have already witnessed stories of initial failures of some of the tech community’s proposals but also several champion social enterprise proposing effective and potentially scalable solutions addressing the main challenges migrants face in their everyday life. The key recurrent success elements we have found in these tech market based solutions are:
- The Co-creation process between refugees/migrants and local communities
- A Proper understanding of refugees/migrants situation and needs (as perceived by the same community)
- A Constructive interaction between digital and physical space.
Despite being an essential instrument in ameliorating the ongoing migrant challenge there are also dark sides the tech community and practioners are increasingly concerned about, the use and potential misuse of technology solutions and assets.
During our boat journey we will investigate the potentialities and constraints of this space and the assets the most promising social enterprises leverage on.
WHY STORYTELLING & BRANDING?
That storytelling is the most effective way to convey a brand message is now a well-accepted concept: when told well, they move audiences in ways that facts and figures cannot. Studies have shown that stories that are supported by visuals lead to increased comprehension and recall. Stories move viewers in a way that facts and figures cannot.
People can be motivated to be a part of a impact business brand as customers, investors, donors or volunteers by showing them a positive picture of the outcome of its efforts. Imagery that shows happy emotions, feelings of liberation, and satisfaction of achieving something stimulates us.
Visual stories create instant human connection and transport the viewer to a world the brand wants them to experience; the viewer gets a taste of a brand’s daily effort, a slice of the struggle involved and the triumph of goodness. However the million dollar question is what kind of story you need to craft for your brand.
In this track we will learn on how to effectively convey a message leveraging on storytelling/digital tools and images. According to a study by Wzyowl, humans tend to remember only 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read. As against this, they can strongly remember and recollect 80% of what they see.
How much can strategic relationships reinforce the enterprise’s market positioning, reshape it and make it more effective? How can ties with multiple players open new pathways, services and product segments? These are just some of the issues we intend to explore in our endeavours. Any Business experiments and implements collaborations every day, it can be for instance along its supply chain, in its talents’recruitment and management, overall in its strategic choices and processes. There are social enterprises that are founded on and designed around extended collaborations with other players, to the point of creating a company based on collective teamwork in terms of both product expectations and identification, as well as market positioning and operational mgmt.
In any case, creating partnerships is a fundamental strategy for pursuing impact and operations effectiveneess (e.g. external skills, outsourcing innovation), to strengthen distribution (e.g. additional sales channels), to bring out the value proposition (e.g. brand diffusion) to position the enterprise in the market and become more competitive. Starting from the cases that have successfully built their product and identity by leveraging on strategic partnerships, you can clearly see why and how the partnership strategy can be a significant key to the success of the enterprise.