We envision a world where technology doesn’t force social impact practitioners to choose between spending their time on learning versus doing good, but where learning is enabled by technology and becomes a crucial part of continuing to do good.
Before the conception of b.world, the threshold.world team set out to do discovery research to understand the landscape of program design and Monitoring & Evaluation across the nonprofit and social impact sectors. We were interested in practitioners’ pain points, bright spots, semantics used, digital and analog tools used, informational and process gaps, and overall needs and desires. The goal of this research was to inform product opportunity gaps in the social impact technology marketplace, and was completed in parallel to our collaboration with a global cohort of subject matter experts that collectively contributed to the sector-defined Common Data Model for nonprofits, stewarded by our trusted partners at Microsoft Tech for Social Impact.
During the course of our research, we examined a series of templates and software available for creating logframes and theories of change, and one of our most poignant findings was that logframe templates largely cater to information documentation and don’t facilitate storytelling. One of the key reasons for this pitfall is that logframes are intimately related to, yet often disjointed from other project lifecycle components including theory of change, project plans, budgets, indicator libraries and more. Simply put:
There are few digital tools that blend some of these together and none that incorporate all of them!
In the social impact space, the implication of disconnected information could be a mere inconvenience in some cases but, in others, the consequences could mean the difference between life and death. Manual work, non-interoperable systems, siloed departments, and decentralized, difficult-to-locate information could slow data analysis, communication, and decision making, potentially costing lives.
These findings availed the opportunity to create a digital tool—b.world— that not only seamlessly links the end-to-end impact lifecycle, but also facilitates and focuses on storytelling and information access; fosters a culture of learning by making project information easily accessible; and expedites new project creation by supporting and encouraging colleagues to reference, copy, and enhance projects across their organization.
Data, supporting narrative, and documents are not only collected for reporting purposes, but more importantly accessible by all b.world team members to build a knowledge bank which facilitates information curation and enables informed creation.
We envision a world where technology doesn’t force social impact practitioners to choose between spending their time on learning versus doing good, but where learning becomes a part of and is crucial to continuing to do good.
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