iMpact—Mobile Impact Measurement

iMpact—Mobile Impact Measurement: Lean data that drives true socio-economic change.

Cambridge, United StatesKindia, Guinea
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Social impact should be data-driven, enabled by the seamless collection of lean data that informs and amplifies. iMpact provides an integrated mobile monitoring and evaluation platform that tracks financial indicators and impact metrics—offering high-quality data quickly and efficiently.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if social impact practitioners—on the ground and afar—could view real-time data that enabled them to be more effective and accelerate the end of global poverty?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Ask any development professional and they'll tell you that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a broken system. We’ve been training and financing youth social entrepreneurs in West Africa for three years. We’re first to admit that our M&E processes are reactive and ineffective. There is a growing demand for proving the impact of every dollar spent, but no appropriate tools and methods for effectively collecting and analyzing that data.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We will use a mobile platform to integrate the M&E of outputs and outcomes into a simplified accounting system. With the ubiquity of cellphones and cloud services, there is no reason that collecting and analyzing KPIs should not be seamlessly integrated into business functions and the need to do so is greater than ever. Better data can paint an authentic picture of the reality on the ground—without it many organizations are flying blind, simply hoping or assuming that they’re effecting positive change. Through the use of lean experimentation principles, this solution will enable the gathering of high-quality data quickly and efficiently—“lean data” that drives true socio-economic change.

Awards

We won the PayPal Small Business Challenge with this concept and have been working part-time with developers from the company for several months to build our MVP.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Aliou is a young social entrepreneur in Guinea, West Africa—creating Guinea’s first mobile veterinary clinic, he’s become a beacon of change within his community. With iMpact in-hand, Aliou is empowered with a simple to use bookkeeping, impact reporting, and storytelling tool that’s integrated into and enhances his operational decision-making. The Dare to Innovate staff is provided transparency into Aliou’s operations, able to proactively advise him and drive impact for both parties. By operationalizing M&E, iMpact empowers actors at every level of the “impact chain” to innovate, improve, and accelerate their theory of change.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We’re prototyping iMpact with our programs, using human-centered design techniques to drive the platform’s development, while the data and insights drawn simultaneously enable us to improve our operations. In 2013, over $9B was spent on M&E for international development projects. According to a grant manager at a leading development agency, 45% is spent on staff, 30% is spent on transportation, and 25% is spent on materials. Our approach will drastically reduce headcount and transportation because it distributes the M&E burden to the beneficiary and creates a system for remote M&E. In a KPMG survey of development organizations responsible for $100B in annual spending, 72% reported getting access to data was a major roadblock to effectiveness.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Official Development Assistance grew by 14% in the year leading up to 2013. If M&E increases in parallel, spending on M&E will be $15.5B by the time we fully enter the market in 2017. We calculate our 2017 addressable market to be $8B. We also believe that since no adequate solution exists, we can capture a large part of this market. The combination of an $8B addressable market and white space in the marketplace make this an incredibly attractive opportunity for those who want to make an impact. We have partners eager and ready to implement iMpact as their M&E system.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Once developed and ready to go to market, iMpact will be financially self-sustaining. The first time we pitched this concept, one of our foundation funders asked us when it would be ready because they wanted to start using it ASAP. By providing a better M&E tool to social impact organizations, iMpact will be able to achieve a double bottom line—catalyzing greater global social progress, while enabling the platform’s continued success.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is a dearth of M&E tools for impact practitioners, let alone those that leverage the proliferation of and advances in modern technology. A KPMG survey of development organizations noted, "When asked about use of technology to collect, manage and analyze data, the vast majority of respondents said that “ICT enabled visualizations” were “never” or “rarely” used.” Current M&E practices are passive, human-capital intensive, error-prone, and slow. Our solution is active, automatic, reliable and real-time. We account for impact and aggregate for meaning.
Team

Founding Story

We met serving together in the Peace Corps in Guinea—working together ever since. Dare to Innovate empowers young West Africans to fight pressing social problems with market-based solutions using creativity and innovation. Through a network of interconnected initiatives and context-specific curriculum, we create systemic solutions that catalyze youth to design and jump-start their own social enterprises. None of this matters if we cannot determine if we are truly having an impact and use data to constantly improve our interventions. We are fostering the conversation and building the tools to transform M&E from passive reporting drudgery to an active tool for amplifying impact.

Team

Three members of the Dare to Innovate Board of Directors are dedicated to the development of iMpact, providing a steadfast foundation the enables the integration of partners. The members come from backgrounds including International Development, SaaS Technology, Innovation Consulting, Human-Centered Design, and Finance, forming a diverse and synergistic set of expertise that will enable the platform’s success—ultimately, accelerating greater socio-economic change and ending global poverty.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka Social Media

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder, Director of Communications

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

We have grown Dare to Innovate has from a Peace Corps project to a truly a global organization: born in Guinea, raised on the two coasts of the US, we have monthly tête-à-têtes via video chat that span three continents and a fourth of the world’s time zones. We have the soul of a nonprofit and the mind of a business. We seek exponential growth of good ideas and are ready to toss aside those that have minimal impact. We care about cash flow and strategic goals as much as we care about “warm fuzzies”. We view 501c3 as an incubator that can give birth to ideas that will change the world, but in doing so may also change the structure that protects them. At the end of the day, our DNA is shaped by the Peace Corps. They’ve been espousing human-centered design since before it had a name. We were brought together by fate, ambition, and John F. Kennedy himself to go out into the world and solve needs with people who strive to improve their livelihoods. Everything we do is done with, not for, our beneficiaries.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We won the PayPal Small Business Challenge in June. We have been working with a team of expert engineers and business leaders to determine and setup the organizational and technological foundation necessary for the development of a prototype and ensure long-term operations, in addition to building a demo. Our Board of Advisors, and greater network of mentors provide continuous insight, feedback, and connections that further the platform’s development. Our Board of Advisors includes successful tech entrepreneurs, innovation consultants, and leaders in international development.