Updates on 2016 Working Groups

April 8, 2016

Each of the Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) learning groups takes on a life and dynamic of its own based on the group topic and composition, yet all are tied together by common goals and characteristics. As this year’s learning groups kicked off with their first case presentations and in-person discussions during the PIA annual meeting on March 30-31, this coming together of PIA members and facilitators advanced one of the key goals of PIA: shared learning. Each of these groups – facilitated by a member of MIT D-Lab and co-led by a PIA member – will meet virtually each month throughout the rest of the year to continue advancing these learning goals and working toward identifying and realizing collaborative action. See below for updates on the content and members of each PIA learning group.

Measuring Impact









Group members: D-Lab facilitator, Laura Budzyna; PIA co-lead, TBD; Frédérique Desroches, Danone; Keith Dokho, World Vision; Karan Kapoor, Snow International; Michael MacHarg, Mercy Corps; Ben Mathew, Greenlight Planet; Sameh Seif Ghaly, TADE (Siemens Stiftung grantee); Karthik Subbaraman, Philips; Yasuhiko Toride, Ajinomoto; Duc Tran, USAID; Nitida Wongthipkongka, SCJ

The Measuring Impact group kicked off with a presentation by Michael MacHarg, Scott Onder, and Chris Walker of the Social Ventures and Social Innovations teams at Mercy Corps. The MC team set the stage by presenting the real case one of their investees “New Light Africa.“ They later framed some of the key questions for this group through the lenses of the multiple stakeholders interested in Impact measurement for the firm: the entrepreneur, the MC investing team, and NGO board of funders. The group split in 3 sub-groups representing the perspectives of each of the stakeholders to examine and answer the questions of What impact data should be measured, Why, How, and How should it be paid for. This exercise revealed interesting insights that will inform the future work of this learning group. Some of the key questions that this learning group will explore as the year progresses include: How do you decide what metrics to measure, weighing the needs of both the funder and the implementer? How do we develop a system to track those metrics? How do we do all of this in a way that is as relevant, useful and painless as possible?

Participatory Design & Innovation









Group members: D-Lab facilitators, Kendra Leith and Eric Reynolds; PIA Co-Lead, Winthrop Carty, Melton Foundation; Jagadeesh Attiganad, Philips; Ricardo Braun, Center for Environmental Practice and University (Siemens Stiftung grantee); Jean Capili, World Vision; Kelly Church, SIM Lab (Siemens Stiftung grantee); Karan Kapoor, Snow International; Juli Maier, Melton Foundation; Seema Patel, USAID; Eddine Sarroukh, Philips; Mushtaque Syed, Medtronic; Caroline Weimann, Siemens Stiftung.

This learning group builds on the work of last year’s PIA working group on Co-Creation and Local Innovation. Last year, the group defined co-creation as well as precursors necessary for effective co-creation in BoP markets, such as a design team with the right makeup, an enabling mindsets, and an enabling environment. During the PIA annual meeting, Eric Reynolds of MIT D-Lab and Winthrop Carty of the Melton Foundation, co-leads of the 2015 group, presented last year’s learnings as a way to establish a common language and create a framework for PIA members to process the case study presented later by Thomas Putzer of SC Johnson. The group broke into small discussion groups to workshop the SCJ case of the malaria prevention pilot in Ghana. Through this exercise, PIA members started raising new questions that could become the focus of the next few months. These include: when is participatory design/co-creation appropriate for product, business model, program, or systems innovation; what are the key tools or methods for implementing effective participatory design; and how can we measure the outcomes?

Inclusive Recycling









Group Members: D-Lab facilitator Pedro Reynolds-Cuéllar; PIA Co-Lead TBD; Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Wecyclers; Karla Araya, Melton Foundation; Jean Capili, World Vision; Winthrop Carty, Melton Foundation; Diego Durazo, Danone; Susan Letuya, TakaTaka Solutions (Siemens Stiftung grantee); Alana Libow, Danone; Michael Moscherosch, Johnson & Johnson; Collins Mwangi, Philips; Boluwaji Oyewumi, Wecyclers.

This group has focused its early conversations on establishing a common understanding of the definition of “inclusive” as it relates to recycling, and as it relates to the world of waste more broadly. Each of the group’s members brings distinct perspectives, from working with waste pickers in the field, to designing products with their after-life in mind, to studying the science of the materials. At the intersection of these various perspectives, some of the key questions emerging for this group relate to understanding: the extended responsibility of producers of waste; the opportunities that exist with using materials that can be reused, recycled, repurposed; and how to design inclusive recycling initiatives that balance between the social, environmental, and economic impacts. Libby McDonald from Prosperity Catalyst, who used to lead waste programs at MIT D-Lab and MIT Community Innovators Lab, set the stage for some of these questions with examples of her extensive work with waste picker cooperatives in South America and the Caribbean.

Pilots to Scale









Group Members: D-Lab facilitator, Saida Benhayoune; PIA Co-Lead, Valerie Mazon, Danone; Gunay Akdogan, Medtronic; Gaurav Bhandari, Greenlight Planet; Jean Capili, World Vision; Molly Christiansen, Living Goods; Luc De Clerck, Philips; Keith Dokho, World Vision; Nina Henning, SC Johnson; David Hoffmann, Siemens Stiftung; Michael Moscherosch, Johnson & Johnson; Tom Putzer, SC Johnson; Thomas Schumacher, USAID; Chris Walker, Mercy Corps; Marius Weckel, Smart Hydro Power (Siemens Stiftung grantee).

As is clear from the composition of this group, the questions related to bringing pilot programs to scale are of major interest to a large number and interesting mix of PIA members. Although scale may mean different things to different organizations and in different contexts, early conversations amongst these group members have led to narrowing the focus around questions related to the readiness for scale: How to determine that your pilot is ready to scale? What elements of the model are scalable; and what needs to be adapted at larger scale? During the PIA annual meeting, Nicolas Chevrollier from the BoP Innovation Center defined four distinct scaling strategies and presented a framework to analyze barriers to scaling inclusive business. PIA members Satoshi Kitamura from Ajinomoto and Raymond Owusu from World Vision presented a case about their collaboration on improved infant nutrition in Ghana, and challenged the group to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of their scale-up strategy. The case discussion brought to light many benefits and risks of partnerships for scaling inclusive business.