Systemic and Systematic Assessment Methodology for Technology-Based Social Enterprises

Tara Sulewski, Rachel Dzombak, Carey Bell, Khanjan Mehta

Abstract


Social enterprises that focus on appropriate technologies for socio-economically marginalized populations in developing countries are on the rise. However, standardized methodologies to assess the success of the venture and their economic, social and environmental impact are almost non-existent. Current assessment strategies focus on tangible outputs such as customers reached and revenues generated, which creates a disconnect between an organization’s mission and the impact created by the products and services provided. An emphasis shift from outputs to outcomes requires a move away from the solely growth-based measures to include mission-based measures. A systemic and systematic assessment methodology has been developed by our team for comprehensive and efficient assessment of early-stage social enterprises. This methodology uses a hierarchical framework to assess metrics at various levels of the venture while tracing them back to the overarching objectives of the venture. Current assessment practices used by nonprofits, social enterprises and academic ventures are discussed in detail to establish the need for systemic and systematic frameworks. The principles and mechanics of our assessment framework and its operationalization are presented with a culminating case study of the application of this methodology to a telemedicine venture in East Africa over the last three years.

Keywords


Assessment, Evaluation, Systems Thinking, Lifecycle

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