Ben Powell Impact Investing In Action 2013 1

Impact Investing in Action

We recently participated in Agora Partnership’s conference, “Impact Investing in Action” in Washington DC.  The conference was focused on social entrepreneurship and impact investing in Latin America, and how to start bringing these conversations into more mainstream channels. They gathered an inspiring and diverse group of entrepreneurs, investors, foundations and academics, reflecting Agora Partnership’s mission of becoming an “ecosystem creator”.

Purpose Generation was invited to participate in the closing panel titled, “The Millennial Generation and the Future of Impact”.  We were encouraged by the emphasis and integration of millennials, pop culture and impact investing throughout the conference. On the panel, we were joined by David Burstein, author of “Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping our World”, Steven Olikara, Founder of the Millennial Action Project as well as our moderator Gordon Bronson, Co-Founder of and Former White House Associate.

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The Buzz

  1. New tools to bring ideas to scale
    • By leveraging social media and crowdsourcing, our generation has the tools to reach masses more effectively and efficiently than ever before.
    • Wanting to change the world is not solely a defining factor of our generation but we have the networks and connectivity to make an impact at scale.
  2. Digital Natives and Influencers
    • Millennials are the first generation to grow up straddling the line between pre-digital world (think writing papers in the library without Wikipedia) but still experiencing the shift of growing up with the coming of Facebook and social media. Future generations will not experience the gap between phonebook and facebook.
  3. Power dynamics have shifted
    • Millennials have the collective voice to influence traditional power dynamics and hierarchies by being digital megaphones commenting on the success and failure of big business.
    • Millennials are redefining impact by using crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer influence to shift consumer decisions, investment strategies and donor behavior.
  4. Big Business, Big Change
    • We have to encourage the rise of intrapreneurship within large corporations to inspire change to happen from the inside out.  Supermen in suits exist but need the flexibility and support to change the system.
  5. Instant Feedback
    • With examples like Kiva, we are seeing platforms that utilize technology to provide instant feedback and transparent results to donors, investors and consumers are #winning.