Raising the bar for impact management practice, with stakeholders at the center

  • Clara Barby leads an initiative that has achieved something few in the impact measurement space thought possible: consensus. Barby, a partner at Bridges Fund Management, is CEO of the Impact Management Project, which has worked with some 2,000 practitioners to build shared norms for impact measurement and management. One area of agreement: stakeholder feedback belongs at the center of impact management.

Deeper, focused customer impact assessments can also deliver business value

  • Sara Taylor and Martina Castro of the CDC Group, the U.K.’s development finance institution, want to make sure measuring the impact of investments of the CDC's Impact Fund goes hand-in-hand with delivering business insights to firms supplying products and services to underserved populations in developing markets.

A strategy for unlocking an investment’s full gender – and financial – potential

  • Too many of investors are applying gender-lens strategies that are too narrow or shallow, leaving potential impact and financial gains on the table. MEDA’s Gender Equality Mainstreaming framework helps investors and companies unlock unrealized value in achieving gender-parity.

Evaluating global development can be fast and innovative

  • ImpactAlpha spoke with members of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s agricultural development team for our Measure Better series with Acumen. Chiara Kovarik, a program officer, along with Laura Birx, deputy director for strategyare using Lean Data to evaluate global development grants.

Asking the right questions to guide investments in closing racial wealth gaps

  • Living Cities’ Ellen Ward and Brinda Ganguly chart how Living Cities’ $37 million Blended Catalyst Fund is investing in racial justice. Ward and Ganguly share seven questions they now ask of every transaction.

Customer survey data that makes it simpler to embrace the complexity of impact investing

  • Jessica Kiessel cut her impact chops conducting randomized control trials on global development programs for Innovations for Poverty Action, the research organization known for its rigorous evaluations. Now she’s tasked with evaluating the impact of products and services of early-stage firms and other companies in the Omidyar Network portfolio that are tackling challenges in education, financial services and citizen engagement.
 

Jed Emerson on getting beyond ‘the metrics myth’

  • Even Jed acknowledged progress in a conversation for ImpactAlpha’s Measure Better series, produced in partnership with Acumen. Lean Data, Emerson says, has lowered the cost and timeline of impact measurement, and could potentially raise the bar for the quality of data as well.

Impact investors can gain real feedback from their portfolio companies’ customers. Do they want it?

  • “The single most important feature of Lean Data is its focus on listening to customers in order to serve them better,” writes Alnoor Ebrahim, a professor Tufts’ Fletcher School. Acumen’s Lean Data methodology is no silver bullet, he says, and “is better seen as a complement to evaluation approaches such as randomized control trials rather than a substitute.”

Measuring the impact of impact investments – by talking to customers themselves

  • Acumen's “Lean Data” impact measurement methodology lets the firm hear “directly from customers, even those in the most remote locations, in ways that creates value for them, for the companies that serve them, and for investors,” write Acumen’s Sasha Dichter and Tom Adams in the Measure Better series opener.