Idea Overview:
Innov8social creates events (i.e. Impactathon®) and content to inspire and support social entrepreneurs––with the mission of making social entrepreneurship more actionable, accessible, and transformative.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
Innov8social partners with local universities, foundations, local governments and corporations to co-convene Impactathon events, that bring together individuals to experience social entrepreneurship through forming teams, listening to brief talks, engaging in short workshops on social enterprise, and ideating and working on their own social enterprise ideas, culminating in a pitch to judges. Additionally, Innov8social is creating a children's book series to introduce a problem-solving mindset to young learners. On the release of the first book in the series, in 2023, Innov8social will facilitate workshops with local schools, educators, and parent groups to introduce the core concepts of the books to kids.
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Sector the idea belongs to:
Business services
Is there a similar idea to be found?:
Yes, there are a number of hackathon convening entities, including StartupWeekend and AngelHack. StartupWeekend organizes 54-hour hackathon weekends throughout the year, all over the world. While StartupWeekend is a wonderful experience, it is different from an Impactathon. While Impactathons are focused on introducing social entrepreneurship through interactive learning, StartupWeekend is primarily focused on any kind of entrepreneurship. This is also true of AngelHack.
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
More than ever young people, retirees, students, and professionals seek meaningful ways to create impact in the community and world, while also pursuing profit. They seek to solve nuanced issues . This has led to the rise of social enterprise legal structures, business models, and technology tools to support the growing sector. However, most people in the US (and globally) have never been part of a hackathon experience. We seek to change that through sharing the Impactathon model inclusively. Additionally, the pandemic led to a rise in reading, especially among young learners. Additionally, adults are not the only ones to experience worry and uncertainty about the future of our communities, children feel this, too.
Who would be the ideal customers?:
Universities, companies, foundations, schools, cities, government--- who would like to convene internal or community members around social enterprise. This could be to support general impact-focused entrepreneurship, or to address a particular issue faced by that group or locale, etc. Additionally, for the upcoming children's book series--- local schools, libraries, and communities of students or parents would be a good fit.
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
Marketing using more Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram ads, and hiring a lean sales team to reach out to potential local partners. This is true for the Impactathon events as well as the children's book series.
How far have you developed this idea?:
We have co-convened 21 Impactathon events in twelve cities, with over 750 participants. The book series is being edited and illustrated.
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
The Impactathon events have received 95% rating of 'very good' or 'excellent' by participants. There are are various qualitative stories and quantitative metrics that we use to assess the impact and 'success' of the events. For the children's books, they have been shared with families with children in the target age range with overall positive feedback.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
A slide or few about Impactathon and the Pineapple Friends book series.

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6 comments to “Innov8social”

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  1. Bill Murray - February 25, 2023 at 2:37 am

    Neetal, congratulations on your success so far! At this point, you have 21 existing customers from whom you can learn why they brought you in for an Impactathon. Talk with them about their motivations and the outcomes they have seen since your event. You mentioned more Google ads. I’d recommend against spending that kind of money. Your growth should now come from promotion. Your passionate customer should be where you put those resources– to promote your product. Ads and cold calls are very expensive compared to a personal phone call from an existing customer to their peers. Your sales team should spend their time in that space. As you move from early adopters to the early majority customer, their main concern is risk. Lowering that risk by showing them the success of their more adventurous peers will activate the FOMO reflex. Regarding the children’s books, be careful of trying to do too much. Getting really good at one thing is what you want to do. Adjacency businesses will emerge as you master that one thing. Specific advice: build a model of your current customer. Go to those customers and shake them down for their peers that match that model. Work with your customers to promote your events through personal contact and social media promotion of your events to your customer’s peers. Do sizzle videos of your events and one-on-one quick videos with participants. Keep pushing these out to the network you’ve created with your customers to make it really easy for that more risk-averse customer to say “yes”!

  2. Krystal Lucado - February 25, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Congratulations on your team’s success increasing our collective human potential by co-creating impactathons with institutions, for profit eneterprises and non-profit organizations where social entrepreneurship becomes more inclusive and accessible for everyone in our global ecosystem. What I found most inspiring on your website was your Theory of Change to shape a better world for future generations and our planet You say that “We believe that to catalyze the change we wish to see, the social impact sector must be more inclusive of diverse voices, communities, problems, and solutions. We do this by partnering to serve, collaborating to build, and scaling to impact.” I agree. Hard stop. You are building an alliance. Let’s talk. linkedin.com/in/krystallucado

  3. Chris Fox - February 25, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    It sounds like things are going well, so congratulations.
    I wonder if the is one business or two? Are their synergies between the Impactathons and the childrens books at the supply side, within the operations or among the target market? It’s not clear.
    There is nothing wrong with having two businesses, of course. But I suspect it is twice as much work, and you might be better of ensuring the success of one before branching out.

  4. Tim Strege - February 25, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Wow! 21 Impactathon events in 12 cities with 750 participants! That is a lot of early traction for your enterprise. From reading your book and the Ideas Nest description, you have an understanding of teamwork, sharing, collaboration, knowledge transfer and working together strategies. This is different from the Hackathons I have attended in which groups work separately with a competitive edge in the process. The world has shifted to a greater role for social purpose enterprises – especially for those who want to be part of a process to “change the world for better” without having all the skills nor answers all by themselves. So your Impactathon model is well timed. Now, how can you build revenues from these events and recurring products (such as the children’s book series)? Maybe it is a subscription in which people join (free base offering and several layers of live/hybrid/resource levels) and keep current on social enterprises forming in the Innov8Social network, participate in opportunities to support various enterprises and get a quarterly/annual report on the status of social enterprises and what they are doing. BTW – maybe showcase your Impactathon at major events such as the annual Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, journals such as the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Nonprofit Quarterly.

  5. Mark Cardwell - February 25, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    Social entrepreneurship hackathons are definitely a thing. On the one hand that means you don’t have a competitor-free “blue ocean” for your idea. But on the other, it provides evidence of demand, and gives you a set of competitors to analyse.

    Since you’re essentially offering to outsource the running of hackathons, it might be worth thinking about who will be prepared to outsource. Some companies would buy an outsourced Impactathon as an add-on their ESG programme, as a marketing exercise. Other companies take a more organic approach – for example the BNP Paribas Social Enterprise Hackathon uses BNPP talent, presumably doubling as a leadership training mechanism. Some universities would add an outsourced hackathon, but those with a business school or an accelerator would be more likely to keep it in house – for example “Hack for Good” from the LMU Accelerator, or the IMPACTathon and Social Impact week from the Impact Consulting Club at the London Business School. Then there is indirect competition from the many social impact meetup groups.

    It would be good to map out the landscape, so you can think about how Innov8social can be positioned most effectively.

  6. Mario L Castellanos - February 27, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    You’ve received many great accolades so, good for you. Have you developed a revenue plan? If you have, I missed it.