Our World

Skoll World Forum: Designing With Empathy

I remember my time at the Skoll World Forum last year as one of my favorite weeks during the fellowship. The opportunity to spend time with the fellows and share our stories, reconnect with Acumen Fund, and participate in inspiring conversations around social entrepreneurship was truly a magical experience. I was very excited to return this year and was even able to convince IDEO’s CEO, Tim Brown and Co-Creative Officer, June Fulton Suri, to join me.

The Forum did not let anyone down and the excitement I felt upon arrival has stayed with me since. The energy and optimism around social entrepreneurs and those supporting them is incredible. Participating in discussions about scale, microfranchising, and climate change were especially stimulating and the lens of culture, which was a focus of the forum this year, was a great addition to the many more economic-based conversations we tend to have in this field.

I was fortunate to lead a workshop with my colleagues from IDEO, Tim, Jane, and Aaron, about using empathy as a tool for social impact. The purpose of the workshop was to give a quick taste of the IDEO design process and teach a few observation techniques for social entrepreneurs trying to understand different cultural contexts. While IDEO workshops are always fun, the quality of the observations and ideas that come out of them is quite varied. Working with a group of 60 esteemed practitioners, we were very impressed by the depth of observations they noted and the innovativeness of ideas that they generated.

If in only two hours teams could come up with ideas like midwives on bikes, wandering microscopes, and health pods, just think of what they could do in a few weeks.


Reflections on the India Fellows Seminar

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together up to 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India. During the fellowship year, Fellows remain in their jobs and meet every 6-8 weeks throughout the year for 4 seminars and 2 collaborative projects, each about a week long. As the India Fellows Associate, Jacqui is responsible for supporting all aspects of the program recruitment, logistics, marketing and strategic planning. Below, Jacqui reflects on the first seminar, Foundations of Leadership. You can read more about the fellowship program here[Read More]

Adaptive Leadership in Action: Addressing Cultural Norms & Giving Women a Voice

In the fall of 2013, +Acumen launched the course Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change in partnership with the Cambridge Leadership Associates. This course is for anyone who wants to become more effective at leading their organization through change. Below, one of the course participants shared her story about how this course impacted her work and ability to affect change. [Read More]

Making Sense of Social Impact in Action: The Value of Educating Our Youth

At Acumen, one of the most common questions we get is how we measure social impact. Our newest +Acumen course – Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis. – will provide an entry point for how to think about impact and we’ll share frameworks that help us define what to measure and why. Makoto Matsuura, founder of cobon a not-for-profit focused on youth education in Jakarta, Indonesia and Osaka, Japan, took a pilot version of this course and shared his reflections with us. [Read More]

Good news for philanthropists in the U.K. and Europe

We are excited to announce that Acumen now holds a CAF Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom. CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation, is a registered U.K. charity. By donating to Acumen through CAF, you can use Gift Aid if the amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax you’ve paid for the tax year in which you make your donation is at least equal to the amount of basic rate tax  [the charity or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and any other charities or CASCs] you donate to will reclaim on your gift. CAF will reclaim 25% Gift Aid from HM Revenue & Customs and pass this through to Acumen.  The donor can claim higher rate tax relief (for more information, please refer to CAF’s online resource, What Is Gift Aid?). [Read More]

d.light Leaders Named 2014 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

We are thrilled for our portfolio company d.light and Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO, along with cofounders Ned Tozun, President, and Sam Goldman, Chief Customer Officer, for being named Social Entrepreneurs of the year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. d.light is a for-profit social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products with primary markets in the developing world, today announced that d.light, along with 37 other individuals and organizations in the 2014 class, will be fully integrated into the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum. [Read More]