Social Innovation: beyond the buzz

From organ transplant deliveries by drone to smartphone apps that help diagnose eye disease and plant-based burgers that taste just like meat right through to entrepreneurship programmes that aim to build thriving early child development centres – the social innovation sector is a varied and dynamic one that aims to find innovative solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems. …

5 Things We Have Learnt About Measuring Social Impact

Over the past seventeen years we’ve assisted numerous social investors, philanthropists, grantmakers and development organisations to not only become more sustainable, but to also create greater social impact. In the process, we’ve collected many insights into social impact innovation, social investment and development.  In this article we aim to share some of our insights in the hope that it’ll contribute …

Understanding the concept and value of social innovation

The term social innovation has been used in a number of ways. Some of the earliest references, dating back to the 1960s, use it to refer to experimental research in the social sciences and humanities. Since then, the term has been used in reference to social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, technological innovations which yield social benefits, corporate social responsibility and …

Social capital – its value and how to measure it

The newly revisited concept of social capital is now prominent in several fields of social science. For Next Generation Consultants, the concept became important with the introduction of the integrated reporting framework that requires companies and organisations to report on how their activities either contribute to or diminish capital formation. The International Integrated Reporting Council’s guidance suggests that a company’s …

The value and importance of socio-economic research and baseline studies in social investment and development practices

Definition: Socio-economics is the study of the relationship between economic activity and social life. In many cases, however, socio-economists focus on the social impact of a specific kind of economic change. Such changes might include displacement of people due to a closing factory, village-to-city migration, market manipulation and even the signing of trade treaties, etc. Value: The goal of a socio-economic study …

Determining impact and return on investment: Searching for a holy grail?

Assessing the impact of sustainable development programmes, especially ongoing performance measurement and management, has gained momentum in recent years. The interest and growth in numerous approaches, technologies, processes and systems that aim to understand the difference a development intervention can make can be attributed to impact investors’ and other stakeholders’ expectations. But determining impact and return on investment can at …

What is wrong with current monitoring and evaluation practices?

Questions about whether development programmes “work” have preoccupied the development sector for a long time. In today’s reality of continued economic hardship, coupled by diminishing resources and mounting sector scepticism, development practitioners face even more pressure to demonstrate the results, change and impact of their activities. Management consulting in this field therefore has to include monitoring and evaluation. Measurement practices …

Towards better monitoring and evaluation practice in performance measurement

Performance measurement is at the heart of all efforts by social investors and grantmakers to make social/community investment and development more effective. Philanthropists, donors, social and impact investors, governments and development agencies alike need more credible and timely evidence about their performance. While acknowledging that financial resources alone cannot drive sustainable development, the industry must strive to better understand how different types of development and …