I Dream of a Database: My StartingBloc Pitch

Hey Everyone,

Right now I’m in sunny Southern California attending the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, and really having my mind blown by the kind of talented, hard-working, incredible dreamers and doers here with me.

I’ll write more about this when the Institute is all done and I’m back in New York, but I wanted to share my pitch for what my dream is. I pitched this to 99 other social entrepreneurs and amazing people, and I’ve gotten some good feedback on it. So now, calling all developers, artists, and dreamers, help me make this a reality!! Here it is:

“While many folks are doing great work on recording and databasing quantitative measures of social impact assessment, not as much is being done to do the possibly more challenging work of gathering, recording, and databasing qualitative measures of social impact. I want to create a database that mission-driven organizations can reference for qualitative social impact assessments that will contribute to helping improve programming and connect seemingly disparate organizations through measurable qualitative social impacts.”


4 responses to “I Dream of a Database: My StartingBloc Pitch

  • Andrea - Worldways (@AndreaWorldways)

    Interesting idea- one question that comes to mind is how you will populate/maintain the data within the database. Will you perform these assessments directly, will organizations opt-in and volunteer their data? Although the social innovation community is supportive, I would suspect there still may be some hesitation in volunteering proprietary business information. Even if it’s reported anonymously, what is the value for the organization to contribute?

    • Emily Rotella

      Thanks so much for this great comment! I’ve thought about these very questions a lot, and to be completely honest – I’m not sure of the answers. If I had all my time to devote to this project, I would visit and spend time with organizations and help them collect the data to contribute. But I would also love to find sets of common-enough questions/prompts that could be answered independently. I hope that the outcome would be a sharing of information that could help measure, evaluate, and improve on programs and activities. The value to contributing would be to learn and share best practices with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of any and all social ventures. I hear you on the point that some org’s might not want to share proprietary info, and maybe we wouldn’t get all social ventures to participate. But for the ones that do, I’m hoping they will learn the most effective methods from each other, share ideas of how to improve, and help build a database that will allow researchers and experts to study empirically the most effective programs out there and how to adapt and scale the successes. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this, and of course welcome all suggestions for improving on this theory/idea/project. Thanks again for your comment!!

  • OM

    Dear Emily,
    I’m thinking about starting a similar project in Germany and would love to get in touch. Just drop me an email!

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