The main thing to have in mind: impact needs to come from a place of purpose and passion. You can’t force people to work on impact. Also, impact takes a lot of time and change is really slow. If you stop at the first resistance, impact doesn’t happen. You plant the seed, you water it and you hope something will grow from there. It’s not a field for people who want things fast, it’s a place of depth, hard conversations, and a lot of influence, but it’s amazing and really inspiring.
Many of the innovations they have seen in their field were led by Design, and they believe that Design’s contribution is what distinguishes solid impactful solutions. They see Design’s role in Positive impact companies, organizations, and startups summarized in three areas:
- 1. Problems that have been around for long, that need deep research and analysis on why it hasn’t been solved yet
These problems need a lot of user research to understand why the implemented solutions are not working.
Often these products are adapted to an audience that is not the end-users. This sometimes causes this common assumption that people are very resistant, and they don’t want to use their products or services, instead of taking the time to understand their real end-users and take their needs into account.
- 2. Social problems that require creative funding mechanisms/ operational models.
Innovative models are needed when facing social problems that are recurring and that traditional standardized mechanisms are not able to respond in order to find a solution. Therefore, creative mechanisms and models come into place, benefitting the multiple parties involved with ways to address those social problems.
- 3. It takes a lot of research and market analysis to build successful lock-step models
All the start-ups Maze works with have sustainable business models. It’s not just building something great for the planet, profit, and the people, it needs to have a financial return. The lock-step model consists exactly in that, the more impact you have, the more revenue you create. But in order to do that, a lot of research is needed to understand why the people you’re serving are underserved, and how could you start generating revenue from that.