How do you do more with less? This is essentially the question that I put to the numerous Skoll attendees that I met over thought provoking sessions and excellent cheese.
We are all looking for ways to increase our impact without necessitating another $5 million grant. I personally started getting frustrated at the challenges of increasing impact about two years ago when running an NGO working in the livelihoods and microcredit space in Ghana and Northern India. My frustration was scale. I saw many successful, well evaluated programmes that remain small. Many of these models are truly addressing a local need but help 100 people rather than the 100,000 or more they would need to really address the scale of the issue.
The other frustration was reinvention of the wheel. Social entrepreneurs and even larger organisations start new projects to address social needs rather than properly researching what has gone before, learning from it and designing for scale. This is compounded by the fact that funders generally prefer funding ‘new’ ideas which means that social organisations are obliged to ‘innovate’ to get funds even when there are proven methods that work.”
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