This is how we make our dent in the universe.
Our approach begins with looking at the social world through the lens of systems – based on sociological theories of structuralism and functionalism and more modern systems theories. From Niklas Luhmann‘s “Social Systems” theoretical basis to Donella H. Meadows “Thinking in Systems” as a more “hands on” approach.
Our aim is to help societies develop – in other words, to create the institutional conditions for societal innovation. This leads to combining the systems thinking with innovation and transitions theories with Frank W. Geels‘s multi-level perspective to Deep Transitions formulated by Johan Schot and Laur Kanger.
Institutions that enable
Based on the conceptualizations of Karl Popper in “Open Society and its enemies” the most fundamental precondition for (piecemeal) societal innovation is an open society – a society with a true separation of powers that enables ideological pluralism in a society. This is what we aim towards.
How do we apply this?
As a small organization we have to focus our efforts in order to have any hope of actually achieving anything of value. So we take this theoretical understanding of the world around us and formulate it into an actionable mission:
Building institutions that enable humanity to flourish.
We have no hope of ever doing this ourselves directly – neither would we want to do it, as it would lead to the opposite of open societies in the world if one organization would have power to do this – so we are finding young people with the biggest potential, teaching them about this systemic approach to developing society and enabling them to become these builders of institutions.
We do it by spreading our DD Academy program around the world. And to make sure that what we teach is not just theory, we also practice what we teach through our strategy consultancy work at DD StratLab and let these experiences shape what we teach in the program in turn.
Measuring our impact
How do we know we’re achieving anything…
In DD Academy we take a look at the number of applicants and participants, the feedback from the participants and in the future feedback from our alumni.
Our full program is with 35 participants. As in 2019 our attention went to opening a new program in Latvia, our numbers in Tartu dwindled.
This was actually the number of participants we were aiming for. As this was our first year in Latvia we wanted to test everything in a pilot group.
We aim to have 2x the amount of applicants to the amount of participants we accept to the program. 2019 in Tartu it didn’t go as well as hoped.
As this was our first year in Riga, the number of applicants was lower than we would like it to be.
We ask and they tell us – DD Academy has a huge impact on the lives of our participants and they rate us highly.
As we had a smaller group in Riga, some of the more impressive parts of the program were a bit lacking.
Throughout the years we’ve helped a lot of young people become what they were meant to be…
When everything works well, we have around two applicants for every spot on the program.
Generally, our participants have really liked what we have offered them at DD Academy.
With DD StratLab we help mission-driven organisations put impact into the center of their strategy and based on that build their entire organisation up. So, the more organisations we successfully help – the bigger our impact on society.
We started out in September 2018 and so far our growth has been fast and speeding up every month.
Many of our projects last up to a year, as we facilitate our clients whole development plan creation processes.
The most sincere form of feedback is recommendations and returning customers – and we have those a lot.
We started off with the idea of providing our services to non-profits, but it turns out we’re quite popular in the public sector instead.
But we still also help a lot of non-profits create their strategies and become more impactful along the way.
We actually did not mean to work with for-profits at all, but some private companies have approached us and we were able to help them nicely.