Growing beyond your reach: new approaches to scaling impact

Impacton
Impacton
Jan 30, 2019 · 5 min read

When one organisation cracks the code of a complex social challenge, the next question becomes: how can it get to everywhere needed?

The hard truths

Every organisation that chooses to work on a social or environmental challenge knows three things:

1) the challenge they want to solve exists, in one form or another, somewhere else too;
2) that challenge, globally, will never be solved by themselves alone;
3) they will always be short of resources.

The third constraint is a known one, mainly related to how social enterprises, non-profits and NGOs work on building their financial model, in order to ensure operational capacity and delivering on the objectives set, while serving beneficiaries that, generally, can’t pay for products or services.

The first two constraints, though, are not often spoken about.

Your formula is needed elsewhere. Now what?

When one organisation develops a project with strong evidence of positive impact, the natural consequence is a strong of ambition to grow, combined with the genuine desire to re-apply their formula and serve as many people and communities as possible, in as many places as possible.

This is exactly the story of Fundación Ecoinclusión, winner of the Google Impact Challenge 2017.

About the organisation

Fundación Ecoinclusión is a non-profit that works on recycling plastic, with a particular project composed oftwo modules:

  • a plastic recollection program for public and private entities
  • a unit focused on shredding plastic to produce eco-bricks.

“We are short of effective ways to recycling plastic, literally on a global scale.

On one side, organisations that want to do something about it struggle to coordinate with companies and public sector to collect the plastic: if there’s some program in place, generally from the municipality, the plastic ends up burnt or buried, polluting our lands and water sources.

On the other side, once the plastic is collected, the question becomes: how can we maximise its value for local people and communities?”

__ Fabian Saeig, Fundacion Ecoinclusion’s founder

Their formula

Plastic re-collection programs
+ eco-bricks production
=
plastic up-cycled into a valuable product, the eco-brick, used to build houses or community spaces.

Their struggle

In 2017 they won the Google Impact Challenge award and a grant of 600.000 USD to scale their solution globally, but they soon realised that even with that type of funding they couldn’t attend their 50+ replications inquiries.

They first thought to create a PDF manual of their programs to spread online and give to anyone interested, but that approach was soon proven very limited and ineffective: the overhead and cost to manage centralised scaling and screen potential replicators was too high, and travelling to directly re-apply the formula in different locations was too complex, slow and expensive.

“We soon realised we are not the right people to say to someone in Greece, or India, or South Africa how to replicate our formula. Let alone do it ourselves.

Our programs need adaptation, we only know the Argentinian context. We needed a model for potential replicators to suggest how they’d do what we do in their context, what would they change or improve. A way to learn from each other, and constantly improve our actions.”

_ Fabian Saeig, Fundacion Ecoinclusion’s founder

What we did together

Fundación Ecoinclusión needed someone to effectively analyse their formula, identify its pillars and variables, and synthesise it into an interactive tool accessible to any potential partner and replicator, anywhere in the world.

They took our Impact Assessment, to analyse their project and collect the parameters needed to summarise its value proposition, requirements and characteristics.

After a follow-up meeting to collect the “does and don’ts” and refine the questions for replicators, we published their Blueprint: the translation of their recipe into an interactive tool ready to be used by anyone, anywhere.

What’s a Blueprint?

A Blueprint is one project’s snapshot or recipe: it shares just enough information for people and communities to evaluate if, for example, Fundacion Ecoinclusion’s programs would be the perfect ally and base upon which building their own version of plastic recollection and recycling solutions.

And while the Blueprint is the cornerstone you are looking for to get started, its Replication Tool is what guides you to make it happen.

What’s the Replication Tool?

Normally, every potential replicator interested in re-applying Fundación Ecoinclusión formula would have to phone, email or skype the team in order to get to know the project, and acquire the necessary details to consider opening a new chapter somewhere else. Even with PDF manuals, the process is very slow, time demanding and expensive.

Instead, today Fundacion Ecoinclusion has just one dedicated link to share with anyone interested, for them to get started.

Any individual or organisation can use one Blueprint’s Replication Tool to evaluate their understanding of the project, deepen the analysis of the requirements and elaborate how they would bring it to life wherever they are.

This entirely removed the overhead of managing and screening replication inquiries, which Fundación Ecoinclusión would otherwise have to face.

The Replication Tool also provides you with suggestions for overcoming steps that you have no experience for, like forming qualified teams around the project replication, and enables you to handle all the necessary legal agreements for both parties to act in a protected and empowered environment of clear, shared responsibilities.

Fundación Ecoinclusión today counts with their projects’ Blueprint and Replication Tool in multiple languages, which is being adopted in more than 50 locations around the globe.

Map of Fundación Ecoinclusión on-going replications. (updated regularly)

About Impacton

Context matters, and so it does the adaption of projects to every new location.

At Impacton we stand for enabling impactful organisations to analyse the architecture of their formula (pillras, variables, context-adaptive elements, location compatibility) and make it available for other people to adopt, improve and replicate in their own context.

We believe that inviting communities to adopt an existing formula will be encouraged to act upon their challenges in an empowered way, avoiding to create risky and expensive solutions from zero, and focusing their effort in shaping the best version of that original project for their own local ecosystem.

Interested in knowing more? Check our website or reach out: hello@impacton.org

Impacton

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Impacton

Making proven, effective solutions globally available. #impact #techforgood #impinv #socinn

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