Reason – a manifesto for impact investment.

Bust of Chekhov at Badenweiler
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this post an experiment in co-posting – with thanks to Jeremy Heigh

Impact is no reason to invest. Impact is an outcome.
Investment is a choice. A choice for a reason. A choice of reason.

Reason is not static. Reason evolves.
Teach a person to fish, they fish. Pond gets over-fished, they go hungry. Every system is part of other systems. Every action affects others. Nothing stays the same.

Impact is easy. Reason is hard
Impact is a measure. Reason is understanding. As systems collapse and collide, impact becomes erratic and un-predictable. Reason responds, metrics reset, action adapts.

Impact is “what happened”. Reason is “what’s next”.

Beyond metrics to sensing and foresight
Our work creates change, in times of increasing change. Our pace of success depends on our ability to 1) sense the evolution of now, and 2) foresee where the dynamics lead.

Sensing “now” demands a new set of filters and criteria. Today, in a world deluged by data (which change every day), relevancy matters more than volume, frequency and timeliness. Curation counts.

Foresight clarifies “next”. It acknowledges that the future is unknown but leverages fit, character, and ability to absorb new opportunities. It seeks to understand a kind of gravity. These elements attract opportunity. Knowing their gravity and reconciling with emerging demands enables analytical understanding of what might come next.

We live in a fulcrum.
Social issues are surging in the face of a flagging economy. We are global. Our systems have failed. We haven’t yet chosen new ones. A window is open. The world is begging.

Grasping the potential of this moment depends on four key outcomes:

  • Wake the senses: Define, quantify, and validate are just the beginning. Up the ante. Sensing now. Map change. Feed foresight.
  • Create clarity: Honor complexity, obliterate complication. Let things be inter-connected but do not confuse. Invest simply, with reason.
  • Quicken the pace: Change is accelerating. Change is changing. Our ability to sense and respond needs to keep up. Investment needs to adapt.
  • Deliver returns: Without returns, investment is unsustainable. Know your reason, find its returns. Invest. Deliver.

If change comes from within, we must change ourselves to achieve the change we seek.

It is in our nature. It is in our grasp.

We can sense it. We can see it.

We must do it.

“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.”

Anton Chekhov in Uncle Vanya (1897)

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