Interactive Workshop (*Up to 40 Participants)
Technical

Strengthen Impact Investing with Systemic FinTech Tools

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“Strengthen Impact Investing with Systemic FinTech Tools”

By:  Systemic Investor

Introduction

The Impact Sector has a dual responsibility: impact and profit. Yet, we have been using financial theories from conventional business which claims only one responsibility: profit. That mistake has led us down the path that we find ourselves on today, where we are unsuccessfully trying to force-fit impact onto conventional business models.

We posit that a first-principles re-thinking is needed in the impact sector. As Einstein said: “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

As we slowly come out of this global pandemic, it is becoming abundantly clear that if we are to emerge into an equitable and sustainable future, commitment and scale will be required, but above all, a new paradigm will be required so that we don’t recreate the problems of the past.

The Impact Sector, especially impact investing, has a central role to play in that future. However, impact investing too must shift into a new paradigm. This session is about the theory and tools of that new paradigm..

 

Systems Science: the Foundational Science

The understanding that the universe exists as a web of interconnections is now widely accepted. Impact is achieved through the effects of actions traveling along those interconnections.

It is our point of view that recognizing social and environmental systems as complex adaptive systems, therefore using Systems Science as a foundational theory, is a critical next step for the Impact Sector.

 

Tools for an Interconnected Universe

The Impact Sector has lived with several critical “known-unknowns” for a long time:

  • Predicting and managing negative side effects;
  • Selecting levers, knowing that each lever affects others;
  • Measuring impact;
  • Navigating high levels of uncertainty;
  • Calculating feedback loops and compounding effects.

Note that all those questions arise because of the interconnectedness of the universe, and they persist because our current theoretical models have not taken that interconnectedness into account.

We propose the following tools:

  • Modeling the business as a network
  • Ensuring that the investment cycle be systemic as well
  • Designing for nonlinear phase change
  • Being aware that impact is an emergent effect
  • Designing with indicators that account for complexity
  • Having management by collaboration and emergence, rather than by control

 

Session Description

In this interactive workshop, investors and investees will tell their stories, sharing questions and any solutions they have found. We will discuss each story, perhaps finding a different point of view, one that resolves more of the known-unknowns.

 

Who are we?

Two fintech startups, Unlocking Potential and Apply Complexity, based in Scotland and New York City respectively, have created Systemic Investor in service to the Impact Sector, as an interdisciplinary forum for discussions that promote the application of Systems Science. The shortcomings of the current paradigm, which is based on reductionism, are well known; Systems Science promises to alleviate those shortcomings. Systemic Investor accelerates the adoption of Systems Science through discussions and co-creation of solutions.

 

Confirmed Panelists

Facilitators and Speakers:

  1. Colin Campbell: founder, Unlocking Potential
  2. Tanuja Prasad: founder, Apply Complexity

Unconfirmed Panelists

Workshop Participants and Speakers:

Entrepreneurs seeking funding, and impact investors

Supporting Materials

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