Nowadays, impact is on everyone’s lips and has experienced momentum. Indeed, according to research conducted by SEIF, over 50% of start-ups coming out of the leading Swiss technical universities address one or more UN SDG’s. Yet, SEIF has identified that start-ups are unsure how to measure their degree of impact as the term remains ambiguous. Based on its expertise with impact-driven start-ups, SEIF has developed an impact assessment tool, allowing to measure and compare their socio-environmental impact in a standardized and systematic way.

In that idea, SEIF is eager to share its knowledge with participants who would like to better understand the impact of their tech solution and/or start-up, but also with overall impact enthusiasts.

A couple of weeks ago, the EPFL organised Showcase 2030, « a unique virtual event experience that brings together impact-driven start-ups, leading researchers, professors, students, core partners and investors – all to showcase disruptive, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that address the most pressing challenges of our time ».

The event was composed of short lightning talks, fireside chats, high level keynotes speeches, inspirational case studies, roundtables and interactive masterclasses.

SEIF Founder Prof. Mariana Christen Jakob and Project Manager Eléonore Güntzer were thus invited to attend this year’s Showcase 2030. They had the honour of leading an interactive masterclass, sharing their data-driven approach to assess tech for impact solutions.

During the masterclass, different impact management frameworks were presented alongside concrete examples. SEIF’s approach to impact measurement & management was then explained in more detail, which was followed by a case study as well as a participatory and interactive assessment of a tech for impact solution.

The participants were guided through the assessment, which gave them insights into the various dimensions of impact management, as well as an understanding of the potential hurdles and dangers that arise during such a process. Nevertheless, the participants mastered the task with flying colours and were enthusiastic about the structured approach of SEIF. The event was rounded off by a lively discussion, during which the participants also had interesting debates on various impact criteria, for example on potential negative risks, but also on the definition of beneficiaries.

It was inspiring to see other impact enthusiasts realize the importance and potential in not only integrating the impact dimension in the newest technological developments, but also in emphasizing the impact measurement and management of these solutions.

Eléonore Güntzer

Furthermore, it was great to witness cross-sectoral collaboration between academia, the public and private sector, as well as governmental actors during this two-day event. SEIF aims to strengthen these partnerships and share their knowledge on impact management with this large panel of actors, in order for positive impact to become a key indicator of success.