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]

Three ideas to keep in mind for leaders who tackle poverty

+Acumen chapters are self-organized, volunteer-led groups learning and sharing Acumen’s principles and approach to help change the way the world tackles poverty. We have 20+ chapters across the globe.  Carolyn is the co-chair of the London+Acumen chapter and recently attended a retreat with four European +Acumen chapters. Below is a reflection on four key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector. [Read More]

Human-Centered Design: Common Aspirations, Uncommon Action

Are you an aspiring social change leader looking for tools to affect change in your community or specific area? Acumen and IDEO.org are partnering for a second time to offer Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation. The seven-week course is based on the fundamental belief that gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes, and aspirations of potential customers and the lives they live yields incredible inspiration for new solutions. Human-centered designers learn by doing and evolve their solutions based on real-time feedback. [Read More]


At +Acumen, our goal is to share tools that can help unleash the full potential of all the aspiring social change leaders in our community. Through our course Acumen Essentials I: Intro to Moral Imagination and Challenges in Poverty Alleviation, participants dig deep in developing their personal leadership skills and discover their own leadership styles through the lens of moral imagination – the humility to see the world as it is and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be.  The challenges and activities make you think, question, discuss and debate what it means to lead positive change and build a world based on dignity. Rhoda, a past course participant from Kenya, shared her story from her Everyday Barriers assignment with +Acumen over the phone. This is her story: [Read More]

Storytelling for Change: Create a Winning Presentation. Change the World.

At +Acumen, our goal is to share tools that can help unleash the full potential of all the aspiring social change leaders in our community. We believe that storytelling is a critical leadership skill and are excited to collaborate with The Ariel Group to offer a 6-week online course, Storytelling for Change, that is free and open to all. Register by January 14 to join the course. Here’s a story from Marica Rizzo, one of our former course participants.  [Read More]

Reflections on Skoll Forum: A call for leadership

Having trained as a Biomedical Research Scientist for over 7 years, transitioning into the social innovation space comes with its advantages of being unlimited by preconceived notions. Attending the parallel conferences of Oxford Jam and the plenary sessions of the Skoll Forum this year, I could feel a difference. Even just being in the presence of Nobel Peace Laureates Muhammad Yunus and Kofi Annan, was quite a unique experience, a mix of inspiration and reality. That is not to say medical professionals cannot provide both; in fact, I had a warm reminder of the overlap during the Skoll plenary session when Richard Jefferson, a molecular biologist who has won several awards for his social entrepreneurial ventures, highlighted how the human DNA is hard-wired to innovate but there are only about half a dozen “novel discoveries” out there. He emphasized the greater need for problem solvers than innovators to transform existing models to help alleviate poverty. This was a notion that was echoed by Jacqueline Novogratz who eloquently articulated where Chapter 2 of the Impact Investing story needs to go. She identified that in Chapter 1, social innovators focused rightly on the experimentation phase and that Chapter 2 is about moving  on to the next rung of the ladder: Leadership. [Read More]