How do you know when you’ve revolutionized an industry?

How does Ashoka assess impact? How do you know when a system is changed?


Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry. (Bill Drayton, Ashoka Founder and CEO)

Ashoka defines impact as the system changes that result from the fellows, ideas, and networks we support. After surveying 217 Fellows from 42 countries, in this report we identified 5 paths to social system change ('revolutionizing a field'):

  1. Market dynamics and value chains – 54% of Fellows have changed market dynamics at a national level within 5 years of election; this means increased access to goods and services, income for the poor, changed the flow of market information, etc. 

  2. Public policy and industry norms – 57% of Fellows have contributed to changed national policy within 5 years of election, through drafting legislation, providing testimony or research, organizing citizen action. 

  3. Full inclusion and empathy – 54% of Ashoka Fellows achieved national impact to fully include marginalized groups in society within 5 years of election.

  4. Business-social congruence –  56% of Ashoka Fellows have achieved business-social congruence at a national level within 5 years of their election; this means that: 61% Fellows receive revenue through a for-profit element providing an average of 41% of their budget & 28% of Fellows have a joint venture with a business.

  5. Culture of changemaking – 66% of Ashoka Fellows have created cultures of changemaking at a national level within 5 years of their election.

Read living examples of Ashoka Fellows in our full report: