Meet Claire. She works at Made Open as a Project Coordinator. She's also been instrumental in helping us become a Certified B-Corp.
Why did you want to certify as a B Corp?
We wanted to solidify our commitment to the communities we serve and to make it clear that our business is intent on making a real difference. We think of the B-Corp community as a group of ethical, passionate and smart business people … a group we wanted to be part of. B-Corp Certification shows both present and future clients that we are committed to our social purpose.
There have been other unexpected benefits too. The process has brought our team closer together, clarified our thoughts and maybe even cleansed our consciences! Everyone at Made Open cares deeply about making a positive impact on the lives of others through our work. The B-Corp process helped us check ourselves at the door before advocating for change in others.
What makes you a B Corp and how are you doing business differently?
Our mission at Made Open is to create positive and sustainable social change using design and technology. Becoming a Certified B-Corp has helped our team to revisit our core values, renew our social and business goals and develop a set of performance measures in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
At Made Open, we licence our networking platform to organisations who wish to activate communities or networks around social goals. Each uniquely branded platform lets people, groups and organisations share information, ideas, skills, resources, projects and opportunities with each other. By enabling community-led or socially-responsible organisations to create better futures for themselves, our platform is helping 'collaborative communities' to take the lead in fixing their own problems and pursuing opportunities.
What challenges did you overcome when using the B Impact Assessment (BIA)?
Achieving Certified B-Corp status has been a long journey for us. The process has helped us to look introspectively at all aspects of our business; what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we measure our performance. We used the BIA tool to better articulate our vision and values at a fundamental level, and also to challenge ourselves on the impact we could be making.
The BIA helped us to think more deeply about our beneficiaries. Our platforms serve all types of communities including those working and living below the national poverty line. A major hurdle we had to overcome was to quantify how many people below the poverty line are supported by our various platforms (this is not a question we would ask people directly).
So we reached out to our clients to help us with this and also approximate based on national indexes. This process has helped us to rethink how we measure and record impact on our platform, and has also opened up a number of great conversations with our clients about gathering more accurate data.
What goal have you set for the year ahead at Made Open?
Other than maintaining and/or improving on our 97.4 B Impact Score?!
On a practical level, we're planning to bring out a series of new features this year including translations for non-English speaking users, encouraging businesses to integrate their corporate volunteer schemes into a 'Volunteer Bank' and improving the way we measure impact at individual / community / system levels.
In terms of B-Corp, it might surprise you to learn that we scored quite poorly on the 'Community' impact area, and that's because capturing evidence takes time. Another development we're hoping to make this year, therefore, is to let members self-define their own outcomes. This will allow members to measure / record their own progress - data they can share with others if they so wish (e.g. a Community Builder or Link Worker). In summary, we expect our score to improve in the next year or so as we build up a better picture of our platform's impact on the wellbeing of its members.