Exactly 10 years ago a small group of young entrepreneurs in London asked themselves the…
Impact Hub is about pioneering a just and sustainable world where business and profit are used in service of people and planet. It is our core belief that such a world is only possible through the combined accomplishments of compassionate, creative and committed individuals focused on a common purpose. Our ambition is brought alive every day by 12,000 members and 1,000 makers in our 85+ locations worldwide.
But how do we know if our ambition actually translates into tangible outcomes and whether we achieve measurable positive impact?
Together with the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, we evaluate our direct and indirect impact as a network on an annual basis. On the one hand, we are committed to measuring our own direct impact: how do we as Impact Hubs live up to our own expectations in terms of role modeling new ways of doing business? Our Global Maker Survey addresses all 1,000+ makers, who are working and leading local Impact Hubs to get deeper insights into impact models and sustainability of Impact Hubs. Furthermore, our Global Member Survey closely reviews how we succeed in inspiring, connecting, and enabling entrepreneurial action among our 12,000 members. We want to support our members along their entrepreneurial journey from idea to action. We recognize that the different stages of entrepreneurial development come with different needs and review how Impact Hubs address these needs and support members in their development. On the other hand, to get a full picture of our collective impact as a network, the Global Member Survey is also looking at the impact that our members’ work creates in the world. We are particularly interested to learn in what fields our members are working, what issues they are addressing, what impact model they are pursuing, the number of jobs they are creating, and more.
The insights and feedback we get through the annual Global Member and Maker Surveys help us in many ways:
Continuous learning and improvement of local and global membership experience: The results enable us to assess stage, trajectory, and focus area for members’ ventures and help us to better understand their support needs. Past results showed that further support was needed at later stages of entrepreneurial development, the scaling of social enterprises. As a result of this insight, the Impact Hub Scaling Program launched in 8 European Impact Hubs in 2015, allowing up to 100 social entrepreneurs to scale their social innovations throughout Europe. The scaling program helps entrepreneurs to connect regionally and to access new partners, mentors, and markets. We plan to further expand the program within Europe and beyond.
Strategic management: The surveys allow us to integrate members and makers needs and perspectives into local and global strategic development. The results and feedback informed Impact Hub’s vision of building a global entrepreneurial community for positive impact. They showed that both global connectivity of members as well as the ease with which members are able to find partners, new staff, and valuable connections were areas of improvement. These insights strengthened our strategic focus to build a global membership experience and platform to allow members to more easily identify and realize valuable connections within the local and global community. A global membership experience pilot was tested in 2015 by Impact Hubs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and is now being further developed to scale.
Communication and Positioning: The surveys’ results also allow us to communicate with a clearer and louder voice to the world who we are as a community and what we are trying to achieve. Increased ability to communicate our network’s impact has been key to establishing the credibility necessary to attract support and partners for our strategic vision. It enabled us to grow in emerging and developing markets, working toward our vision of becoming a truly global community for positive impact. The Africa Seed Program and the Resilience Africa Program are examples of regional incubation and acceleration programs to strengthen the pipeline and attract capital into entrepreneurial communities for impact in emerging markets. Earlier this year we launched the Latin America Seed Program to further grow and diversify our network and community.
Find out more about past results in our 2014 Impact Report.
If you are a member at one of our 85 locations, help us measure our collective impact as a network and share your feedback with us by filling out our 2016 Global Member Survey.
If you are maker and bring the impact community alive in one of our 85 locations, please share your insights and feedback on global services by participating in our 2016 Global Maker Survey.
This story was created by Sarah Stamatiou Nichols, Impact Coordinator