It stands to reason that COVID-times are inciting us to critically assess our daily routines and develop new, more responsible practices. Can we still stand for old ideas of growth and scaling, while planetary boundaries and human wellbeing are stretched to a maximum? Shouldn’t we rethink the way we are approaching technological innovations, considering them as enablers capable of driving more inclusive forms of collaborations and more democratic modes of knowledge production, rather than an end goal? What kind of value do we want to produce? For whom are we creating / trying to create value?
These are some of the questions that drive Meg Pagani, founder of Impacton.org, speaker, advisor, Forbes 30under30 entrepreneur, working at the crossroads of technology, behavioral change and societal impact.
On Thursday February 04th, Meg was UNIVER.CITY’s special guest, rejoicing VUB’s CERL-community with her expertise and joyful presence. She prepared a thought-provoking masterclass triggering reflection upon our impact narratives and strategies.
- What is impact, how can you develop a theory of change starting from the core value that you want to offer? What is the target and who are the partners you want to create it with? What practices and case studies on impact can inspire us? How can we analyze them? Does our strategy create codependency or empowerment, is our approached fixed or iterative, top-down or participative, …?
- How can you monitor, evaluate and iterate the impact of your program/project? What quantitative vs qualitative aspects do we need to monitor? What tools should we use depending on the target group and the context/circumstances, how can we avoid biased surveys, …?
- How can different actors and partners contribute to the creation, growth and diffusion of best practices? How can we reflect and train ourselves on how to best serve a larger ecosystem, identifying the key assets/skills/value that we can contribute with and help best practices become adaptable and shared?
Building on these questions, participants in the masterclass were invited to formulate their own impact stories and look for possible pitfalls and biases. Key message was the need for constant monitoring, reflection and adjustment, something our engaged lecturers/researchers are very conscient about. Thanks again to Meg Pagani for facilitating this session. If you feel a need to get inspired, want to know more about VUB’s CERL-community, have questions on how to monitor your societal impact, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we will be glad to share our tools and offer support!
Julie Bertone & Linde Moriau