- Arthur Attwell
Social change is complicated, messy, and complex. More often than not, it is incalculable and out of reach of any individual, idea, or endeavour. This is hugely problematic for funders who want their philanthropic dollar to be impactful. Traditional funders try to solve this conundrum by creating parameters for success but easily measured, quantifiable metrics often get in the way of an idea reaching its potential: box-ticking exercises give you useful information but rarely lead to ground-breaking change.
To us, the term ‘success’ is unuseful. Instead, we seek to make progress. And it is not up to us to define that progress. We want our fellows to unlock access to knowledge and explore openness, innovation, technology, but beyond those broad remits, we ask them to define what they want to do, how they will do it, and, most importantly, how they will measure their impact. Our fellows are experts and potential leaders of their respective fields. Our role is to support them, not impose our ideas on their thinking and approach.
Progress does not require immediate scale or short-term gain. Our approach gives people space and resources to break down systems as much as possible and build new foundations to make it easier for the next person. We don’t judge the success or failure of any project until at least five years after a fellowship ends. Not everything is instantly transformative, and it takes time for the ripples of change to grow to their potential.