Storytelling Will Build Evidence, Momentum for Social Finance: Researcher

Storytelling Will Build Evidence, Momentum for Social Finance: Researcher

Sean Geobey says successes and best practices need to be shared

Sharing success stories and positive outcomes from social finance could benefit an emerging field still determining how to measure its impact, says Sean Geobey.

Geobey, a University of Waterloo graduate student and McConnell Fellow with Social Innovation Generation (SiG) Waterloo, says the social finance sector could benefit from storytelling.

While in more established fields, like real estate or mining, it’s easy to find “double-checked, audited financial numbers and strong metrics to provide the evidence that this is a field that is growing and working,” it’s much more difficult with social finance, he says.

That’s because social impact measurements has challenges — such as how do you quantify and systematically measure goodness, or how much effort should be spent getting the best possible social metrics.

“And that is why there is still an incredible amount of value in storytelling,” says Geobey, who says stories can present these benefits in a tangible way. 

“It’s really about accumulation of more stories, of more evidence of success that is going to build the momentum for this movement to really break through.”

Geobey says stories can also provide best practices and inspiration for other people or groups to draw from. For example, he points to the Waterloo region where he currently lives and says several organizations hold the potential to create “an explosive social finance and enterprise environment in that region,” if they were provided with learning and experience from other areas.

He says it would be helpful for social innovators “to be able to look back and take bits and pieces of what they’ve seen that click with them and use those stories as (examples) to push forward and move this thing in a positive direction.”

“Telling the stories of what has worked, what hasn’t worked, where there is seen to be potential in different places,” he adds.

Geobey recently travelled to Vancouver to participate in the Social Innovation and Social Finance study tour, and stayed on to meet and interview stakeholders in Vancouver and Victoria.

Geobey will be writing a case study on what has led to B.C. and Vancouver being at the forefront of social innovation and finance in Canada.

You can read more about Geobey’s observations by visiting socialfinance.ca.

If you have feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail camille(at)axiomnews.ca.

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Writer Bio

Camille Jensen's picture

Camille Jensen is an employee share ownership consultant with ESOP Builders, Canada’s largest provider of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Prior to joining ESOP Builders, Camille was a generative journalist and team member at Axiom News. She credits her time at Axiom as fundamental to her understanding that business is one of the best opportunities to make a difference in the world.

Camille is a B.C. Partner for Social Impact and volunteer with Okanagan Changemakers.