Mind The (Impact) Gaps At The Action Forum

As entrepreneurs, you all know the power of a leader. You know the rush of starting something new, of growing your next innovative idea, of being the founder of something you believe in.

But in the world of social change, we don’t just need more founders. We need more positive social impact. To really tackle those vexing issues, we need an understanding of the system, not just singular solutions. Before embarking on a new venture, wouldn’t it be great learn from what’s been tried? Understand what’s worked and what hasn’t, in a wide variety of contexts? Unpack the root issues of the problem? Listen to the ideas of other passionate, talented people? And importantly, avoid the trap of heropreneurship?
Courtesy of Daniela Papi-Thornton
These are the questions we’re hoping to further in with our new Resnick Aspen Action Forum component, the Action Group Workshops. Over the two-days of workshop, Action Forum participants will work together to identify allies, resources, key issues, and innovative solutions within specific issue areas. Specifically, we want participants to:
  • Roll up their sleeves to better understand and solve societal challenges;
  • Break apart a problem and help participants zero in on opportunities for impact;
  • Leverage the collective knowledge of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

By doing so, we hope to activate new efforts to be led by individual Fellows or groups of Fellows.
So what's this all about? 
We’ll be borrowing a methodology from research done by Daniela Papi-Thorton at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship called the “Impact Gap Canvas.” It's simple design exercise that helps you map the landscape of a current problem, understand what solutions are already being tried, and identify missing opportunities for positive change.
We’ll tackle 10 different challenges, called Challenge Clusters, each presented by a Challenge Framer. Hopefully by now you’ve already selected which challenge you’d like to address. These challenges are major contemporary issues, like finding opportunity in the refugee crisis, reconciling America's legacy of slavery, and redefining education for the modern era.
Participants will use the Impact Gap Canvas to guide the conversation of how we work together to "close the gap" between a current challenge and existing solutions to it. Watch the short video below for an explainer and take a closer look at the Impact Gap Canvas. 

Click the Impact Gap Canvas to enlarge it!
So how will this work? 
At the Action Forum, we’ll meet twice for 90 minutes within our Challenge Cluster, first on Friday July 28th and then again on Sunday July 30th. Within each challenge cluster, we’ll divide up into smaller working groups so we can have more intimate brainstorms. These sessions will be working sessions to ideate creatively, collaborate and populate the canvas. We don’t expect you to have all the knowledge or answers on hand – but we do expect you to know where you need to dig deeper and ask for help. That’s why on Saturday July 29th, the canvases will be hung throughout the Action Forum and we invite all participants to take a look and feed in. Doodles, references and connects all welcome!
In the end, we hope these workshops will lead participants to find smart ways to take action and help close the gap on issues they care about, while also walking away with a new tool to apply to their own work. 

Have questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them!
Posted by Philip Javellana on May 17, 2017 7:51 AM America/Denver