The picture that resonated most with me is the ‘planetary system’ that Felix Oldenburg, head of Ashoka Germany and Europe, talked about. The meaning of this metaphor is that conversations between investees and different types of investor – so disconnected from each other that they are on different planets, so to speak – are happening in complete isolation. Often this means that investees have to create a different narrative, and sometimes even considerable shifts in the essence of the proposal, towards each investor’s interests or possibilities. This is a considerable stretch for the investees and does not really make for efficiency and maximum impact.
In addition, there is general agreement about the importance of measuring impact, and the EVPA guidelines have been well received. There were interesting discussions in our interactive session on measuring impact, such as how to use impact measurement to strengthen the organizational capacity of the investee and investee/investor performance or how to shift from measuring project performance to measuring the contribution to impact as part of a collective effort.
Another very valuable topic that came up during our panel was the acceptance of failure in the social innovation and entrepreneurship space, and thus in venture philanthropy, as part of a necessary learning process which in the first place is about generating social impact.
We very much look forward to the next EVPA conference in our very own Berlin next year!
Jürgen Griesbeck is founder and CEO, streetfootballworld.