Mind The (Impact) Gaps At The Action Forum

As entrepreneurs, you all 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 to learn from what’s been tried? To 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 will explore with our new Resnick Aspen Action Forum exercise, the Action Group Workshops. Over the course of two days, participants will take a systems approach to work together to identify allies, resources, key issues, and innovative solutions within pre-selected issue areas. Specifically, our goals for you are to:
  • Learn more about your chosen challenge, the landscape of current solutions, and impact gaps;
  • Experience a high-speed version of an ecosystem mapping process that can be a useful tool for you and your teams in the future in taking further action;
  • Connect with and learn from people from across the network who have shared interests in order to foster possible future collaborations and action.

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 Gaps Canvas.” It's a 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, if you're attending the Action Forum, 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 Gaps Canvas to guide the conversation of how we work together to "close the gap" between a current challenge and its existing solutions. Watch the short video below for an explanation and take a closer look at the Impact Gaps Canvas. 

Click the Impact Gaps 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 28, and then again on Sunday, July 30. Within each challenge cluster, we’ll divide up into smaller working groups so we can have more intimate brainstorms. These 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 29, the canvases will be hung throughout the Action Forum and we will invite all participants to take a look and contribute their knowledge. Doodles, references, and connections all welcome!
By focusing on system mapping, we hope you'll find smart ways to take action and help close the gap on issues you care about, while also walking away with a new tool to apply to your own work. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and start mapping.

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