Approach to Impact
Econogy is a social enterprise; this means that we value transformative impact on the lives of clients, communities, and our own people before profits alone. However, we pursue impact by leveraging the power of market principles through profit-driven companies.
Our approach to impact relies on well-crafted business models that are designed to achieve impact goals by maximizing profit potential. We monitor progress toward both aims by measuring impact and profit data with our proprietary “Impact Analysis” tools.
Econogy connects students with a series of 4-month engagements that can collectively extend for 3-5 years. Over this time, we provide mentor relationships, cutting-edge curricula, and project-based experiences that accelerate learning and cultivate workforce fit. Further, over 90% of our student positions are paid, well above minimum wage (up to $25/hr).
Our multi-discipline, diverse, and carefully-managed teams give motivated students the challenge they are looking for, while also equipping them with refined teamwork, advanced soft skills, and a new command of their technical capabilities.
Across the 600 students we have worked with to date from 7 universities and colleges, we see higher levels of personal agency and confidence, sophisticated teamwork skills, increased competence in their field of study, and higher levels of understanding of - and commitment to - the communities around them.
Key Student Numbers We Measure:
- number of students engaged
- number of Econogy or partner certifications
- improvement in soft skills (6 dimensions)
- improvement in hard skills (6 dimensions)
- network expansion
- cognitive, geographic and ethnic diversity
- increased agency and propensity to create new solutions
Businesses of all sizes - but especially small ones - need flexible access to high-talent teams of innovators, strategizers and doers that can help them discover their best path to sustainable success. But conventional business consulting is too narrow, too wedded to what worked in the past to provide useful guidance for growing in new industries and a new economy.
Our teams have helped more than 50 businesses uncover their best way forward. From expanding a taproom to landing $5 million in venture capital funding, businesses that work with Econogy report improved products and sales, a better understanding of their market fundamentals, and a higher level of ability to pivot.
We are working to flip the fail rate of entrepreneurial ventures by bringing these comprehensive and relationship-based talent solutions to the companies we engage. Over time, we believe our solutions will help 70% (rather than the usual 30%), of ventures to achieve growth exceeding 5 years from launch This change will not be easy, but we have seen the promising results of our approach.
Key Business Numbers We Measure:
- project-specific metrics,
- repeated service to each client
- expansion of our services for each client
- startup success rate
Our work with non-profits and neighborhoods (neighborhoodgrow.com) brings exceptional talent to problems that normally do not receive top-tier support. At the same time, neighborhood projects provide critical relationship-building and learning experiences for all parties involved.
For the students who work with Econogy, neighborhood engagement makes up the majority of year 1 and year 2 engagements, providing early opportunities to learn empathy and design thinking skills and become more familiar with the demands of client work. These engagements also vastly increase the willingness of students to give back.
The quality of the local community plays a central role in whether young professionals stay after college, and whether small businesses grow into prized anchors. We know that communities can learn from business methods and that businesses are made better by understanding what makes a great community. This is why Econogy’s student-driven teams are working in neighborhoods.
Communities that work with Econogy report higher levels of community engagement -- a sense that if there are young people are choosing to invest in our neighborhood, we must have something special to offer. And because Econogy teams are not embedded in old ways of solving community challenges, they bring new ideas and new strategies that shake up long-standing assumptions.
Key Community Numbers We Measure:
- project-specific metrics
- repeated service to each community
- expansion of services for each community
- increased agency of community members
- NEVI (Neighborhood Economic Vitality Index)
Systemic Barriers to Change
Because Econogy strives to create radical impacts on education, business and community growth, our services aim to overcome the systemic barriers to growth in these sectors - systemic barriers that block each of these sectors from realizing their potential. Such barriers throttle growth across all kinds of industries and geographic locations.
For example, the companies we serve are often unable to achieve growth, but not because they lack work ethic or misunderstand the challenges in front of them. Many fail to thrive for an overlooked reason: they lack properly-scaled access to the talent and resources from which their larger competitors benefit . A small business may have great products, but if all of the right people or skills are not in the right place at the right moment, the business may fail to be ready for a key seasonal rush. When that happens, the company may fail for preventable reasons - success or failure becomes a factor of chance. The fact that these failures happen so frequently, and disproportionately, to startups and small businesses indicate a systemic barrier to growth. In this case specifically, that barrier is limited access to the talent new ventures need, when they need it.
In fact, the best and most radical way to provide the support growing businesses need to thrive is to provide the education our students and young professionals need to succeed.
By creating a system that transcends the boundaries or education, work and community success, Econogy creates radical opportunities for growth. Each finds in the other a key source of the support that they need, and they gain a new, flexible approach to how people work and grow makes it possible to find genuinely new solutions.
ParadigMs of Thought
System change often requires brand new ways of thinking - Econogy is no exception. Our new paradigms for thought influence all of our analytic systems and methodologies; they are inspired by principles of quantum mechanics, systems theory and philosophies of ecology. Each of these studies add color to the notion that optimal solutions, systemic solutions, are found not by simply increasing the quantity of current efforts but by developing new approaches that work at the intersection of economic, educational, and civic spheres of activity.
Econogy creates something profoundly new by bringing business, community and education into direct relationship, enabling the needs of one sector to become much-needed solutions for the others.