Unpack Impact is an interdisciplinary research initiative led by Visiting Scholars Joanna Cea and Jess Rimington within Stanford University’s Global Projects Center.
This three-year research endeavor explores the business case for including beneficiaries in the design of projects/services intended to improve their lives.
Unpack Impact is investigating a critical question: More than ever before, today’s leading for-profit companies are involving consumers in the design of products and services. Yet why is it that beneficiaries continue to be largely excluded from design processes in the for-impact sector (non-profits, social enterprise, development agencies, and the vehicles by which they are funded: philanthropy, impact-investing, and aid)?
Our data demonstrates that when you design with only 10% of the relevant intel, you come up with answers that are only 10% solved. By continuing this way of doing business, in which only 10% of the world’s population is seen as the experts, designers and decision-makers of “impact,” urgently needed insight is being lost.
Our findings show that this fallacy is having very real—and often dire—consequences for the lives and well being of many people with whom we share this planet. For this reason we believe the for-impact sector is in need of an urgent reformation—a sort of evidence-based civil rights movement, asserting the equal capacity of all people to be problem-solvers, experts, innovators and dreamers.
Unpack Impact is sparking a conversation among actors across the for-impact sector to join us in investigating and co-creating new ways forward. Together, we seek to evolve the for-impact sector’s operating mindset and methodology, toward creating the capacity and incentives to unlock 90% of the world’s ingenuity.
We will be producing articles, action guides and more. Sign up for updates and to join the conversation. We invite you to listen to the 90% waiting—to unpack impact.