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Start with ‘Measurement’ in mind

Eoghan Stack & Deirdre Mortell at Day 1 of THINKTECH Accelerator

On January 5th, Day 1 of the THINKTECH Accelerator, our Awardees hit the reset button. A new year meant being open to new thinking. Everyone had committed to a number of technology based milestones to be completed by June so the pressure was on. Helen McBreen of Atlantic Bridge Ventures set the tone for the voyage that lay ahead with key learnings from her days leading the NDRC Accelerators – “think-plan-do” & “always be learning”.

We often charge head first into projects but the simplicity of having a well developed plan that’s rooted in simple milestones with measurable metrics can be a defining task that sets you up best for success.


Pick a metric and set SMART goals

The day continued with a technology planning workshop run by Alex French, successful technology consultant of Bitbuzz & FrockAdvisor. Again the core messaging was clear and consistent;

  • Plan your technology project into sequential tasks (For example an app, Tinder for Towns, where people swipe left/right against proposed ideas for your city)
  • Nominate what you’re testing for and define what success looks like (People like ‘street swipe’ functionality)
  • Pick a metric that best measures the success you want to achieve (90% positive user scores from test period)

The commitment to measurement isn’t just the collection of data, but drives an organisation’s vision, plan and goal setting. It also allows organisations to stop and ask ‘are we using the right metric and do we need to change’.


Avoid the trap of saying ‘I wish I had measured that’

The day concluded with a focused fundraising talk from Eoghan Stack of the DCU Ryan Academy, and Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s CEO, Deirdre Mortell. As CEO of the One Foundation, which spent €85 million over 10 years funding a number of non-profit organisations solving social issues, she always placed an early focus on social impact. Questions like the below focused organisations to start thinking immediately about social impact;

  • What does success look like in 10 years? and,
  • What would you need to measure now to ensure you got there

When defining success there’s often a need to track both direct and indirect social impact. For an example of direct impact, an ageing organisation may measure the number of older people supported by volunteers &/or app technology. An indirect impact example may involve a change in attitude towards older people living at home longer. There are clear differences in ownership of impact from the above examples but to measure one and not the other (often the indirect) would be a disservice to the impact your organisation is influencing.


No time like the present!

So lesson 1 from the Accelerator was crystal clear. Whether it’s project planning, technology development or social impact, the importance of selecting SMART metrics and committing to consistent measurement can prove crucial to telling the story of your organisation’s success.

By Eoghan Ryan, THINKTECH Fund Manager

Start with ‘Measurement’ in mind

On January 5th, Day 1 of the THINKTECH Accelerator, our Awardees hit the reset button. A new year meant being open to new thinking. Everyone had committed to a number of technology based milestones to be completed by June so the pressure was on. Helen McBreen of Atlantic Bridge Ventures set the tone for the … Continue reading Start with ‘Measurement’ in mind

What is Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund?

Ireland is renowned for having one of the most highly educated workforces in Europe. Yet, the education system that delivers this is not without its faults, leading to regular media debates about whether it fit for purpose for the 21st century. It is clear that some groups of students are just not able to succeed … Continue reading What is Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund?

THINKTECH Winners Announced

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney: “To be in a position to support and encourage innovative solutions to such fundamental social challenges is what good government is about.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Four innovative projects which use technology to tackle chronic social issues like homelessness and food waste have been selected for Ireland’s first ever “thinktech” … Continue reading THINKTECH Winners Announced

Lessons from THINKTECH’S Workshop

Collage of Ws

From the time we opened the call for THINKTECH, our applicants have been eager to promote their projects to us. Having reached the final 11 of our selection process, we wanted to hold an event that would encourage finalists to start thinking about what they could get from the programme while having a little fun … Continue reading Lessons from THINKTECH’S Workshop

A few thoughts about Social Innovation in Ireland

As we approach the end of the THINKTECH screening stage, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on some of the application trends we’ve noticed and what this means for the Social Innovation sector in Ireland moving forward. Data, data, data…. The standard of application writing for THINKTECH was high. In many ways the application … Continue reading A few thoughts about Social Innovation in Ireland

Trends of THINKTECH Applications

20160811 all TT apps Map

On 31st July 2016 the call for applications closed for THINKTECH, this date also marked the beginning of the selection process – the most exciting time of year for us at Social Innovation Fund Ireland.  During this process, we get our first introduction to many projects and gain insights into the great work being done … Continue reading Trends of THINKTECH Applications

Learnings from THINKTECH Talks

THINKTECH Dublin Talk on July 7th

As we approach the THINKTECH Call for Applications deadline, it seems fitting to look back on the 5 short weeks since the amazing Launch at Google Foundry on June 21st, and Minister Coveney’s call to action for the social innovation sector. He called on everyone in the room and all innovators to ‘make this a success’ … Continue reading Learnings from THINKTECH Talks

Why THINKTECH Talks?

We were delighted and honoured when Minister Simon Coveney T.D. launched THINKTECH at Google Foundry on June 21st. He spoke passionately about his hope that this programme could become the catalyst for a thriving social innovation system. A system that will become the best in the world for scaling ideas to making real, measurable change … Continue reading Why THINKTECH Talks?