Back to top

Stories as Data

Author: Denise Whithers
Published Date: 25 September 2013

By Denise Whithers

Via the Stanford Social Innovation Review

The challenge of scaling up plagues thousands of thriving social enterprises that are keen to grow, yet lack business intelligence and models to advance their labors of love. Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre, are good examples. Founded by the same expert team, the two enterprises offer independent, fee-only financial literacy services to educate and empower women. Both can demonstrate terrific impact but struggle to engage a mainstream audience.

To begin to address this challenge, I’m helping them conduct a relatively simple narrative analysis of their clients’ success stories as a way to generate intel that will inform their scaling strategies. The two companies have a combined roster of more than 2,500 alumni, all who have unique stories that contain specific details about how—exactly—they gained control of their finances. By collecting and analyzing a statistical sample of these stories, we’ll be able to find out what worked to help them make change and why. How did they identify barriers to managing finances? Set goals? Engage allies? Name fears? Change patterns? And after completing an initial story analysis, we’ll synthesize the aggregated story data to identify common trends and patterns. The research findings that emerge will inform the development of a systemic model of change that will guide scaling and impact strategy for both organizations.

To read the full article, please follow the link to SSIR.

Tags: Tools