[Challenge:Future] From Outputs to OutcomesPresentation Transcript
From Outputs to OutcomesFrom Ideas to ImplementationFrom a Competition to a Challenge my plan for taking C:F to the next level & how I’m making that plan reality
Slide 1: Over view If C:F is going to achieve its aim of “accelerating ideas and talent for a future that works for all”, what matters is not so much the number of people reached or the number of ideas generated, but rather how that translates into lasting positive impact. To that end, I propose that C:F becomes the worldwide umbrella social innovation competition and focuses on providing tangible support to social innovators at various stages of venture development. This is best done by partnering with leading youth pro-bono service organizations worldwide. I have already confirmed partnerships with a student graphic design company, a student consulting company, and student legal support firms, and am in discussions with student financial service firms. This strategy has already reached over 3200 students, and has the potential to expose C:F to many more. This is consistent with C:F’s desire to become a youth ‘DoTank’ and not just a ‘ThinkTank’.
lide 2: St atus Quo S In order to prepare for this Quick Challenge I undertook anonymous surveys of people who have been involved in C:F to determine the main areas where C:F can improve. It quickly became clear that there are three key areas for improvement:1. C:F should focus on outcomes not outputs: C:F currently measures its success mostly by outputs such as the number of people reached, the number of community members, and the number of ideas. None of these measures provide good evidence of impact. Indeed, even many of the competition finalists did not start their projects due to C:F. They would have done it anyway, so C:F cannot really claim credit for the impact of those ventures. C:F needs to recognize that what matters in terms of impact are the ideas that are brought to market due to the existence of the C:F platform.2. C:F could improve its brand consistency: My market research revealed that different people described C:F in very different ways based on their specific involvement with C:F.3. C:F should adapt the platform to shift the focus from ideas to implementation: At the moment the vast majority of ideas on the platform are not implemented because (a) often those who develop ideas do have the desire or capacity to implement them, (b) during the competition ventures are forced to conform to a specific time-frame of venture development even though different types of ventures take different lengths of time to develop, and (c) there is not that much concrete support provided on the platform.
iness Plan Slides 3-5: Bus C:F could easily overcome these aforementioned shortcomings by making four changes to the way the main C:F competition operates:Suggestion 1: Become the Worldwide Umbrella Social Innovation CompetitionThere are hundreds of social innovation competitions worldwide. Rather than being “just anothercompetition”, C:F should differentiate itself by positioning itself as the umbrella competition. Thewinners and runner-ups of each of the small social innovation competitions around the world couldbe given automatic entry into the second round of the C:F competition. This is the best way toreach more talented students and get the best ideas on the platform. By being the umbrellacompetition it would be very easy to grow 10x in size in the next year alone.Progress made towards this: I have already spoken with the organizers of social innovation competitions at SydneyUniversity, Oxford and Cambridge, and they have confirmed they would be happy to partner with C:F in this way.This alone would expose C:F to over 1800 more students.
Suggestion 2: Have Dynamic TeamsMany people come up with ideas but don’t want to implement them. It should be that even if theperson with the original idea leaves, the project still goes ahead. People could list what skills theyhave in a transparent way (e.g. computer programming or accounting) and others could search forideal team members. In this way those that are good at coming up with ideas could come up withideas, and those who are better at implementation could focus on implementation.Progress made: I have met with people from major IT companies and discussed how this could work.Suggestion 3: Have a Suite of Support Services Available for the Best TeamsAt present few concrete support services are provided on the platform. C:F should partner withleading student service organizations so as to provide support to the best teams. All teams thatachieve key performance targets should be eligible for these services. That is, teams should beassessed objectively rather than relative to others in the competition. That is why C:F is a“Challenge” and not just a “Competition”. Services could include consulting, graphic design, legaland financial services. High-profile mentors could also be allocated to top teams. If mentors weredrawn from corporate partners they would become more invested in the competition and retentionof sponsors would be more likely. It could even be that investors commit to funding teams but onlyif specific baselines are met. This suite of support services would help ventures move from theideation stage, to the design stage, to the pilot stage, and then to the scale stage.Progress made: I have arranged for 180 Degrees Consulting (www.180dc.org) to provide consulting services,DesignMode to provide pro-bono graphic design services, and legal firms in Australia and India to provide legalsupport to top C:F teams. By partnering with these large student organizations thousands more students around thewould be exposed to C:F and be a part of the C:F movement, and many more ideas would end up being implemented.
Suggestion 4: Make the C:F Summit More of an “Innovation Lab”The C:F Summit is already fantastic, however one shortcoming is that most of the finalists did notfind that their ventures progressed substantially during the Summit. To rectify this, the focus of theSummit could shift from “presenting ideas” to “further developing ventures”. Each day differentspecialists could be brought in to work with top teams at the Summit to refine their businessstrategy, develop better ways to scale their ventures, work out the best way to finance the venture,discuss alternative legal structures etc. The social ventures should be more progressed at the end ofthe Summit than at the beginning. The aim of both the Summit and the suite of support servicesshould be to bring ventures to the point where students are able to commit to them full-time whenthey graduate. Whilst many teams would be eligible for the suite of support services, only the verybest teams would go to the Summit. In this way the Summit itself acts as a prize.Progress made: I have spoken with many experts in various fields (such as finance, legal, and IT experts) who haveexpressed a willingness to work directly with teams on their ventures.Summar y The best way to increase the breadth of reach of C:F (that is, the number of peoplereached) is by being an umbrella social innovation competition and by partnering with studentservice organizations. I have already arranged for partnerships with three social innovationcompetitions and have confirmed partnerships with three student service organizations. This alonemeans C:F reaches an additional 3200 students, and further partnerships would reach many more.However, and very importantly, this strategy also increases the depth of C:F’s reach. Ideas would bemore likely to be implemented, causing numerical outputs to become tangible outcomes. This focuson outcomes should come before trying to develop viral marketing campaigns, as otherwise the viralcampaigns (even if they did take off) would be of limited benefit. Put simply, this approach meansC:F becomes integral to the success of social ventures. An exciting future awaits Challenge:Future!