Dipstick study: Identifying gaps in Management Practices in the Social Impact Sector

There has been a growing consensus around the need for developing and promoting essential management practices within organizations in the development ecosystem. Since organizations primarily draw these practices from the mainstream corporate discourses, their application often lacks contextualization in the social impact space and the cornerstone mission-and-value driven approach. To address this gap, ISDM and Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University undertook a joint initiative towards curating, co-creating, and disseminating knowledge commons on enabling management practices for wider use by the ecosystem. Conducted in two phases over August-September 2020 and 2021, the study entailed interviewing 20 thought leaders with various organizational roles and experiences across domains. The interviews sought to understand how management challenges play out differently for NGOs, funders, and ecosystem builders, and how these different players can benefit from a collaborative approach to creating knowledge infrastructure. Some of the insights emerging from the study include:

  • Unearthing existing and new models of excellence in the sector to enable learning and capacity building around management practices among individuals and organizations
  • Bringing together a database of case studies that map exemplar work done by individuals, institutions, networks, and organizations in accessible forms for the perusal of different stakeholders within the ecosystem
  • Setting up platforms for sharable and application-oriented knowledge commons, and building an active and engaging community of users for enhanced knowledge retention and application