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Social Innovation - Micro Tools

Innoweave's nine modules are designed to help organizations implement new approaches that directly enhance their outcomes and advance their mission. Additionally, Innoweave is collecting and curating a selection of micro-tools - quick exercises that can foster social innovation. They can be used as standalone exercises or as part of working through a module and implementing a new approach and may be useful at specific points in the innovation process.  

Understand the Context

These micro-tools help you look at your current situations, and employ different evidence-based approaches to help you make decisions. 

Understanding Issues & Root Causes: use these micro-tools to help you define key issues, explore the context you work in, and learn more about your own activities.
  • Problem Definition: Focus on the issues most critical to your mission

    Use this tool to identify core problems that represent a challenge or obstacle to achieving your mission, so that you can better adapt to the issues you face. There are two versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for basic problem definition. Download here
         2. A version for Social Enterprise opportunity identification. Download here

  • Root Causes Diagram: Break down a complex problem and clarify your priorities

    Use this tool to understand and explore the root causes of problems in a structured and thorough manner, so that you can better plan for means to address these challenges through your activities. Download here

  • User Experience: Get first-hand perspectives on your activities

    Use this tool to facilitate a discussion with a user of your service/activities, so that you can incorporate their first-hand experience into your efforts to enhance your impact. There are three versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for all types of users. Download here
         2. A version for users of an activity undergoing Scaling Impact. Download here
         3. A version for users of an activity undergoing Developmental Evaluation
         Download here

  • Value Mapping: Know your core values

    Use this tool to put forward, analyse and discuss your organization's shared values, so that you can better incorporate these values into your work, and generate new ideas. There are three versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for value mapping. Download here
         2. A version for collaboratives to use for Collective Impact initiatives. Download here
         3. A version for use during Developmental Evaluation. Download here

  • SWOT analysis: Understand where you are and where you might go

    Use this tool to understand the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a particular project or organization, so that you can better understand the path to achieving your goal. There are two versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for SWOT analysis. Download here
         2. A version for Constructive Engagement plans. Download here

Understanding People: use these micro-tools to get the perspectives of your users, stakeholders, and clients; and explore the deeper reasons behind their input and behaviours.
  • Connections Map: Understand how stakeholders relate to each other

    Use this tool to visualize the different types and levels of stakeholders you work with, so that you can better focus efforts in key areas. Download here

  • Empathy Map: Engage with your users' personal perspectives

    Use this tool to help you synthesize your ideas and observations by looking at things from a user perspective, so you can design better solutions to their needs. Access the tool directly from d.School here

  • Experience Map: Understand how stakeholders relate to you

    Use this tool to create an overview of how stakeholders experience their relationship with you, so that you can better plan your outreach and relationship building efforts to serve your mission. There are three versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for stakeholder experience. Download here
         2. A version for Social Enterprise customer experience. Download here
         3. A version for use during Developmental Evaluation. Download here

  • Extreme Users: Understand your most critical users

    Use this tool to guide discussion with your 'extreme' users - those who have the most frequent or intense contact/need for your work - as a means to get an amplified look at your impact, and design a process to reflect these needs. Access the tool directly from d.School here

  • Target Group: Know who you need to reach

    Use this tool to better understand the profile of different groups that you reach through your work, so that you can better align your activities to meet their needs. There are three versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for all types of target groups. Download here
         2. A version for Social Enterprise customer target groups. Download here
         3. A version for groups targeted through Collective Impact initiatives. Download here

  • What/Why/How: Understand your stakeholders'/users' deeper motivation

    Use this tool to help you achieve deeper levels of observation and understanding of your key stakeholders so you can better meet their needs. Access the tool directly from d.School here

  • Why-How Laddering: Identify stakeholders' meaningful and actionable needs

    Use this tool to help you ask questions that get more meaningful answers from users, so that you can craft your actions to address their true needs. Access the tool directly from d.School here

Envision New Approaches

These micro-tools help you utilize the insights you obtained through your 'understanding' exercises and begin to craft the high-level goals which you need to meet in order to achieve your desired outcomes.
Envisioning Results: use these micro-tools to understand the key elements of an accountability framework, and how to capture key results as part of your broader action plans and ongoing activities.
  • Performance Measurement Quadrants: focus on your most important measures of success

    Use this tool to identify which are your most important performance measures, how you should use them going forward and why. Download here

  • Turning the Curve: see the outcomes you would like to achieve in the future 

    Use this tool to understand how to plan for change in your program performance measures in order to reach key objectives for impact. Download here

Develop and Design Solutions

These micro-tools help you explore ways to move towards outcomes (for example, to reach the goals developed during your 'envision' exercises) through creative, logical and expressive work.
Generate Ideas: use these micro-tools to come up with some fresh ideas or new approaches
  • I like - I wish - What if: encourage open feedback and idea generation

    Use this tool to solicit personal feedback from others as you design, so you can incorporate some new ideas into your work. Access the tool directly from d.School here

  • Point-of-View Madlib: reframe a challenge into an actionable statement

    Use this tool to help you reframe issues into statements that can contribute to your design process, rather than stall it. Access the tool directly from d.School here

  • Thinking Hats: Generate new ideas

    Use this tool to help your team generate and discuss new ideas so that you can see challenges from different perspectives and get creative with your responses. Download here

Design Solutions: use these micro-tools to craft specific approaches to address challenges or meet opportunities
  • Promises and Potential Map: Define how your offering is something NEW

    Use this tool to clearly define and articulate the added value of your work – i.e. how what you do that is new, and how it serves an unmet need - so that you can better articulate this value to your stakeholders in support of your mission. Download here

  • Business Model Canvas: Create a plan to advance your goal

    Use this tool to understand the different elements that must go into creating a successful plan to advance your goals, so that you can better align your operating model and activities. There are three versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for basic outlines of business models. Download here
         2. A version for Social Enterprise business models. Download here
         3. A version for Constructive Engagement plans. Download here

Partner: use these micro-tools to look at partnership opportunities and how these could help create impact
  • Partnerships Map: Plan and assess your partnerships

    Use this tool to understand how partnerships form and grow, so that you can better plan your partnerships to serve your mission, and so you can analyse the effectiveness of your partnerships in meeting this goal. There are two versions of this micro-tool:
         1. A generic version for partnership development. Download here
         2. A version for Social Enterprise partnerships. Download here

Theory of Change: use this micro-tools to assemble a logical flow of activities you will rely on to create impact
  • Theory of Change: Align your activities with your desired impact

    Use this tool to examine the activities you undertake and how these relate to your mission goals, so that you can articulate the best means of achieving your intended impacts and align activities to achieve it. Download here

Learn and Improve

These micro-tools help you iterate and continuously move forward with your work, taking in new approaches, perspectives and opportunities as your grow
Visualize: use these micro-tools to look into the future of your work and see how you can continue to improve and achieve your desired outcomes
  • Learning Loop: Plan to achieve your impact by learning as you go

    Use this framework to help identify how your actions are contributing to achieving impact, so that you can better incorporate new learnings into your ongoing activities and plans. Download here

Innoweave has sourced micro-tools from some of leading toolkits in the social innovation space, including: